Executive Director's Update to Principals #27: COVID Update - 17 Jun 2021
God of mercy and consolation,
comfort us in our struggles
that we in turn might comfort those who are in need
with the same compassion that we have received.
In Christ’s name we pray. Amen
QR code requirements in schools
The use of Service Victoria QR codes for electronic record keeping is mandatory for all schools to enable the effective contact tracing of any COVID-19 cases.
The public health intent of including schools in the QR code check in system for workplaces is to capture those visitors accessing school buildings or indoor facilities, but not those entering the school grounds for reasons such as school pick up.
QR codes will be required to be used by:
- all visitors, including contractors, DOBCEL and other external staff and building and maintenance staff
- all parents who enter buildings when on the school site
QR code check ins will not be required for staff or students, or parents who come onto school grounds for drop off or pick up, but do not enter buildings.
Schools can permit parents to enter buildings on-site for student pick up and drop off providing sufficient QR code locations can be identified and utilised to ensure parents are able to check in. Locations should include:
- Site entry and exit points
- Building entrances
Where this is not possible, parents should not be permitted to enter buildings for pick up and drop off.
Schools will already have in place existing sign in and out processes. These should continue to be used to record visitor attendance, in particular the purpose of visits, for legal and regulatory obligations.
For those school who do not yet have a QR code set up, the process for setting up QR codes is very simple and straightforward.
The following are the key steps:
- Register your school
- Confirm your email address by clicking on the link in the email
- Set up a password
- Log into the QR code service portal
- Fill in the school’s details and click ‘Register’
- Your account is now set up
Kiosk check-in service
For visitors and parents who are not able to check in with a smartphone phone or tablet, services should make reasonable efforts to ensure parents/carers and visitors have an alternative way to electronically check into the Victorian Government QR Code Service. This is best achieved via setting up a ‘Kiosk check-in service’.
Kiosk check-in is a simple form to help staff record a visitor’s first name, family name and contact phone number electronically on the venue’s device. The form can be set up on any device with a modern web browser, such as a desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile phone – whatever is most suitable to your school. To setup a Kiosk check-in service, please follow the instructions on the coronavirus.vic.gov.au website. Please ensure hand hygiene process are followed post use of the device.
All schools are required to have QR codes in place as soon as possible, with full operational use and compliance required by 24 June 2021. This will continue into Term 3 until further notice.
Further information about QR code set-up can be found at Register to use the Victorian Government QR Code Service.
- Camps and overnight stays can take place across Victoria with no travel restrictions. Multiple schools can attend camps providing school groups remain separated and do not share common facilities at the same time.
- School trips planned from metropolitan Melbourne must adhere to additional requirements if attending the Victorian ski fields. For any DOBCEL school planning a trip to the Victorian ski fields, contact the venue regarding these requirement (see page 8 of the Schools Operations Guide).
- Incursions are permitted at this time. Record keeping obligations must be adhered to by any visitors attending the school for the purpose of an incursion.
- Interschool activities are permitted at this time. Record keeping obligations must by adhered to by staff and students visiting from other schools.
Interschool sport: Indoor and outdoor interschool sport permitted but is limited to the minimum number of people required to participate in and facilitate the activity and is subject to venue capacity limits.
- School tours for prospective students and their families can recommence. Groups should not exceed current public gathering limits. Density limits must be applied to any spaces accessed and record keeping obligations must be adhered to by any visitors attending the school for the purpose of a school tour.
- Staggered start and finish times can be implemented in schools if deemed appropriate at the principal’s discretion.
(See page 8 of the School Operations Guide)
Excursions are permitted throughout Victoria. There are no restrictions on travel between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria, however extreme caution should be exercised with trips to Greater Melbourne until further notice, due to the instability of the COVID situation. For DOBCEL schools, any such planned trips should be approved through your Education Consultant.
There is no group size limit (but students should be in their class group) and excursions must be conducted in line with any specific capacity limits on venues that are being used.
In most cases, density limits can be removed when a venue is being accessed by staff and students from a single school only. However, schools should check with venues to confirm any additional obligations under the Restricted Activity Directions.
Schools should contact venues prior to the excursion to discuss record keeping arrangements, particularly to clarify responsibility of entering student details into the digital system.
Parent Consent forms must be updated to advise parents/carers/guardians that when required, schools will be providing excursion venues with student contact details for contact-tracing purposes.
(See pages 8-9 of the School Operations Guide)
Visitors to schools
Schools should continue, where possible, to limit non-essential visitors to school premises.
Visitors to school grounds must comply with record keeping obligations, physical distancing and face mask requirements set, and practise good hand hygiene.
The density limit of 1 person per 4 square metres should be applied to any spaces and activities being attended by parent/carers and other visitors. The density limit applies to all persons in the space, including students.
(See page 21 of the School Operations Guide)
Please see the Department of Health website at www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au for the latest face mask requirements as advice may change at short notice.
- School staff and secondary school students aged 12 or older must carry a face mask at all times and wear a face mask indoors when at school, including when attending an Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) program, unless a lawful exception applies. Face masks are recommended to be worn outdoors where physical distancing of 1.5m cannot be maintained.
- Children under 12 years of age and students at primary school are not required to wear face masks when at school, or when attending an OSHC program.
- Face masks are mandatory for all school staff and school students aged 12 or older on public transport and when in taxis or ride share vehicles. This includes travelling to and from school on public transport or in a vehicle with others not from your household.
- For the purpose of communication, teachers and education support staff are not required to wear face masks while teaching, but those who wish to do so, can.
- Visitors and parents must also observe face mask requirements.
(See page 17 of the School Operations Guide)
Assemblies and large gatherings
Year level or whole school assemblies are permitted when attended only by staff and students from a single school, however schools may choose to defer these at this time.
(See page 22 of the School Operations Guide)
Professional development and staff meetings
Should be conducted online or deferred (unless essential face-to-face training for first aid, anaphylaxis, or infection control. In these instances, density limits of 1 person per 4 square metres apply).
(See page 22 of the School Operations Guide)
New guidance on the use of personal protective equipment and for the management of unwell students.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, MACS has worked closely with infection control experts at the Department of Health to review and update advice to schools on managing students with COVID-19 symptoms and the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Based on the latest infection control advice, and following consultation, two new documents are now available, replacing previous PPE guidance and advice in the School Operations Guide:
- Management of students displaying COVID-19 symptoms in education settings
- Personal protective equipment guide for education settings
Queensland border entry requirements
Ahead of the school holidays, the Queensland government has requested that schools are aware of the requirements for entering the state.
Queensland has declared all 36 Local Government Areas comprising Greater Melbourne as COVID-19 hotspots; no other areas in Victoria are declared hotspots. Any person wishing to enter Queensland who has been in a COVID-19 hotspot in the 14 days prior to their arrival in the state must meet the requirements of the Queensland government, which are available at the qld.gov.au website. Further information on Queensland’s health directions and hotspots is available at health.qld.gov.au.
Updated School Operations Guide
An updated version of the Term 2 School Operations Guide is now available. Highlights are summarised above with more detail available in the guide.
Religious Gatherings Provisions
The Victorian Government has announced an easing of COVID restrictions to take effect from midnight on Thursday 17 June.
The following provisions will apply in regional Victoria:
- Religious gatherings and ceremonies will be permitted for up to 300 people per venue, with a density quotient of 1 person per 4 square metres.
- Funerals will be permitted with up to 100 people attending, plus those necessary to conduct the funeral.
- Weddings will be permitted with up to 50 people (including the two persons being married, the celebrant and two witnesses).
- Face coverings must still be carried at all times. Face coverings must be worn inside the church.
Pandemic Enquiry Resource
Shaping our Post-Pandemic World: An Enquiry for Secondary Students is a resource now available to utilise courtesy of our Diocesan office.
Next COVID-19 Update
We will continue to send out COVID-19 updates on an as needs basis. Please liaise with your Education Consultant with any questions or concerns.
Stay safe and continue to look after each other…