Executive Director's Update to Principals #40: COVID Update - 28 Jul 2021
‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit’. Romans 15: 13
Updated School Operations Guide
An updated Term 3 School Operations Guide is now available to download from CEVN. A summary of pertinent changes is below.
- School camps and overnight stays can take place across Victoria with no travel restrictions. Bookings must be limited to single schools. Multiple schools can attend camps providing school groups remain separated and do not share common facilities at the same time. Mixing of staff and students between different schools is not permitted. Testing requirements are now in place for the Victorian ski fields (see ‘Intrastate and interstate travel’ section of the School Operations Guide).
- Excursions should take place with students from single schools only.
- Outdoor education including excursions and overnight stays, for the purpose of outdoor education are permitted. Programs should only operate for staff and students from single schools. Testing requirements are now in place for the Victorian ski fields (see ‘Intrastate and interstate travel’).
- Playgrounds remain open for school use and can be made available for community use out of school hours.
- Non-essential visitors should be excluded from school sites for this period.
- Essential visitors include for example:
- Preservice teacher placements
- Health and wellbeing staff
- Community groups are not permitted to use school facilities during school hours (indoor or outdoor). When used outside of school hours, a density limit of 1 person per 4 square meters must be applied to the spaces used. Some school facilities may be subject to additional requirements under the Restricted Activity Directions when open for community use, e.g. swimming pools and gyms.
- School tours should not be conducted on-site for prospective students and their families at this time.
- Incursions are not permitted at this time.
- Excursions are permitted with students from a single school only (see guidance Page 10)
- Non-essential meetings, and all school events, gatherings and assemblies should be deferred or held remotely.
- Kinder to prep and Year 6 to Year 7 transition programs are not permitted at this time.
- Staggered start and finish times – Schools should introduce staggered start and finish times to reduce congestion at the school gate during drop-off and pick-up times.
There has been no change to the face mask advice, which will continue to apply to all school settings (including any OSHC programs) as per previous requirements.
Face masks during school sport – where required, students can remove face masks when engaged in any strenuous exercise. Schools are strongly encouraged to maximise the use of outdoor environments for school sport and physical activity, particularly during periods of community transmission.
Gatherings and Liturgies
Large school gatherings (ceremonies, assemblies, school formals etc.) are not permitted at this time.
Liturgies cannot be held at schools at this time, consistent with guidance on assemblies.
Physical education, intraschool sport and interschool sport
Outdoor and indoor contact and non-contact physical activity is permitted.
Where using an external sporting facility, density limits do not apply where there is exclusive use of the venue by single schools, however schools should continue to apply COVIDSafe principles to decision making, including avoiding interactions in closed spaces and physical distancing where practicable.
Interschool sport is not permitted at this time.
Singing and playing wind and brass instruments can occur if Department of Health recommendations to reduce transmission risk are followed. Recommendations include moving outdoors, increasing ventilation, physical distancing of 2 metres between performers and 5 metres between performers and the audience, reducing the number of people, or reducing the length of time an activity is conducted. Further advice on ways to reduce risk can be found in DH guidance: COVID-19 transmission from air-circulating, wind-blowing devices and activities.
Staff working across multiple sites
Staff working across multiple schools should be minimised wherever possible.
Quick reference of permitted school activities
Download a 1-page version of the Quick reference of permitted school activities.
As part of priority support for those living with disability, the Victorian government has made some provision for school sector employees working with highly vulnerable students with disability to access a COVID-19 vaccine at a state-run vaccination centre.
Staff who are 40 years or older, or meet Phase 1b eligibility criteria, can access a COVID-19 vaccine at a state-run vaccination centre.
Staff who wish to access a vaccine as part of Phase 1b must supply a letter from their school stating that they are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at state-run vaccination centres because work directly with students or children living with a specified underlying medical condition or significant disability, as defined in the School Operations Guide.
The following COVID-19 information and templates for Phase 1b school and early childhood care and education employees is available (previously published in COVID Update #28):
- Victorian Department of Health official invitation
- Schools vaccination template letter (Word file)
- School eligibility vaccination letter templates (Word file)
Upcoming vaccination webinar series
The Victorian Department of Health will hold a webinar series for school staff. Presented by medical practitioners, it will offer an in-depth discussion about the COVID-19 immunisation program and support their decision-making process about vaccination.
Places are limited and registration is required via Eventbrite, using the links below.
Please support your staff to access vaccination appointments by providing maximum flexibility in staffing arrangements to enable staff to access available vaccination appointments.
Next COVID Update
We will continue to monitor the situation and advise principals of any updates. Please liaise with your Education Consultant with any questions or concerns.
Stay safe and continue to look after each other…
Deputy Director of Catholic Education