Executive Director’s Update to Principals #16: COVID Update - 9 March 2022
God of the fire and God of the wind, God of the silent sound,
when you speak to us,
you do so in ways we may not expect but cannot ignore.
Allow us in this time of frantic noise and eerie stillness
to listen again to the wind
and the earth,
to the gentle whisper of you
calling our name.
And may we hear in your voice
words of love and hope,
the good news of your presence with us still.
Updated School Operations Guide
The School Operations Guide has been updated, effective Wednesday 9 March.
The most significant change is that if a student or staff member tests positive through a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT), but don’t have symptoms or have not been in contact with anyone who has COVID-19 it is recommended that they get a PCR test within 48 hours and stay isolated until they receive their result.
If the PCR test is negative, the student or staff member can return to school.
Rapid Antigen Test Guidance – Overnights and Camps
Guidance has been developed to provide school staff with some advice and information to supervising and conducting rapid antigen tests to students who are away from home where this may be required in the event of a student displaying symptoms or where recommended by the relevant Local Public Health Unit or advised by the Department of Health.
Extension to the Booster Vaccination Deadline
The latest COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination Order has provided more detail about:
- The requirements for the extension to the booster vaccination deadline for education workers.
- Allowable booster exceptions and acceptable evidence.
To be able to attend onsite and perform work at an education facility from the adjusted booster vaccination deadline of 25 March 2022:
If an education worker did not receive their booster dose by 25 February 2022, they must satisfy the following; they became fully vaccinated on or before 25 October 2021, have a booking to receive the booster dose on or before 25 March 2022 and provide evidence of that booking to the workplace that includes the booking date.
If an education worker became fully vaccinated after 25 October 2021, they must receive their booster dose within 3 months and 14 days of the date on which they became fully vaccinated.
Schools should ensure that they locally collect and retain the details of the booster booking including the booking date.
Once the booster has been received, eHR/My HR or PRS will need to be updated for each staff member. Short videos explaining the process for updating vaccination status in eHR/My HR and PRS are available. An easy-to-follow quick reference guide is also available for eHR.
Beyond 25 March 2022, all people performing work at an educational facility must be fully vaccinated (boosted) or have a valid exception. It should be noted that there are a number of acceptable exceptions (some temporary) that are detailed in the operations guide and are related to:
- not eligible for a booster.
- recent international arrivals.
- a 14-day period for persons that are no longer excepted to get their booster.
- persons who were recently in self-quarantine or self-isolation.
- those who were recently in diagnosed persons or probable case.
Please refer to the operations guide for additional information on these exceptions in the first instance. Should you require further assistance, please contact your Education Consultant.
Allowable Booster Exceptions and Acceptable Evidence.
The types of evidence allowable for medical contraindications to the booster vaccination have been broadened. As was previously in place, a worker can provide their evidence:
- in a current COVID-19 digital certificate issued by Services Australia and displayed through the Medicare App, Service Victoria App or equivalent.
- In a printed version of the certificate referenced above.
In addition, if a worker has previously been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (i.e. received two doses of a two dose vaccine), they can also provide evidence of their contraindications through:
- a current Immunisation History Statement displayed through the Medicare App, that states that a fully vaccinated person is unable to receive a booster dose that is available in Australia.
- a printed version of the Immunisation History Statement referenced above.
It should be noted that, to be accepted, the Immunisation History Statement must include contraindications to all booster doses that are available in Australia that are either permanent or have future end dates.
Please remember to record the end date of any temporary exemptions as, beyond that date, a worker will have to provide either updated exemption information or evidence of being fully vaccinated (boosted) to be allowed to attend site.
Should you require further assistance relating to acceptable vaccination or exemption evidence, please contact your Education Consultant.
Next COVID Update
We would like to acknowledge the outstanding effort you have made as leaders within your schools over the past four weeks to ensure that our schools have remained open for face-to-face learning and teaching. Many thanks for all you are doing to keep our schools safe.
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