Executive Director’s Update to Principals #12: COVID Update - 22 February 2022
God of stilled waters,
God of calmed seas,
on a night of a difficult crossing,
as your friends began to lose faith, you awoke and hushed,
the turbulent waves,
with the power of unearthly peace. May we respect the sheer force,
of what we cannot control,
and believe in the strength that sleeps in this storm.
Media release – easing of some COVIDSafe rules
The Victorian Government announced today an easing of some COVIDSafe rules as follows. Pandemic Orders have not been updated to reflect these changes yet. We will provide further details as this information becomes available.
Effective from 11.59pm Friday, 25 February 2022, in education settings face masks will only be required indoors in limited circumstances. This includes;
- students in year three and above at primary school
- workers at early childhood centers and primary schools; and
- for anyone on public transport, in taxis or rideshare services.
Premier Andrews has said that masks are still required for primary school children in grades three to six because the vaccination rate is still too low.
Masks are no longer mandatory in secondary schools or workplace settings such as Catholic Education Ballarat offices from Monday.
Extension for Third dose deadline.
The Minister for Health has also indicated an extension for the booster deadline for education workers:
- The third dose deadline for workers in education facilities who were fully vaccinated on or before October 25 will be extended by a month, provided that workers have a booking within that time – meaning all education workers have until 25 March to be ‘up to date’.
- Fully vaccinated workers who are not yet eligible for a third dose will have a third dose deadline of three months and two weeks from when they had their second dose.
- Workers who are recent international arrivals will have a new third dose deadline of four weeks from the date of their arrival, provided they have evidence of a future vaccine booking.
- Workers whose temporary medical exemption (e.g., because they had COVID-19) has expired will have a new third dose deadline of two weeks following the expiry of the medical exemption.
We will communicate this new timeline with all DOBCEL staff via the Weekly Update tomorrow. Please ensure that all staff in your school receive and review this information.
You can read the media release statement here.
Updated Pandemic Orders - pending
We anticipate changes to Pandemic Orders made by the Victorian Government over the next week following announcements made in the press conference on 17 February and again today.
This will likely mean an updated CECV School Operations Guide. We will communicate any changes as soon as practical.
Support Your School (Permission to Teach) Initiative
Eligible final-year pre-service teachers (PSTs) will soon be able to apply for Permission to Teach to work within Victorian schools to provide short-term, casual support throughout 2022 to cover staff shortages due to COVID-19.
We will work with education providers to encourage final-year PSTs to take up this opportunity by completing an Expression of Interest form through the Department of Education and Training portal. The portal is expected to be available soon.
Final-year PSTs will need to meet Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) requirements for Permission to Teach (COVID-19 PST workforce shortage relief). Upon attaining Permission to Teach for 2022, they will be available to fill short-term vacancies in schools.
When it becomes available, the centralised pool will be coordinated through Catholic Education Ballarat in partnership with principals.
Final-year PSTs with Permission to Teach will require oversight and mentoring by a registered teacher within the school setting. Further details regarding this initiative will be available once the portal is live.
Update on the Positive Start in 2022 Initiative
The Victorian Government’s Positive Start in 2022 initiative will support students at low-fee Catholic schools across the state to access more opportunities to participate in camps, arts, sporting and cultural programs, and additional swimming lessons to boost student physical and emotional health and wellbeing in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic.
The Positive Start initiative will be launched on 1 March 2022 with information on how eligible schools under the initiative can access camps, programs and experiences for 2022.
Eligible schools will be contacted directly with details of the Positive Start website, and how to access and book experiences that will be of most benefit for students.
We encourage all eligible schools to access this initiative to enable students to experience the richness of Victorian life and culture, boost their motivation and help them rebuild connections with friends, teachers and communities.
Next COVID Update
We will continue to monitor the situation and advise principals of any updates. Please liaise with the COVID Support team (see left hand column) or your Education Consultant with any questions or concerns.
Stay safe and continue to look after each other…
Assistant Director: People and Development