Welcome all to our first day. Obviously we are still labouring under some COVID restrictions and I will refer to them in more detail in the body of this update. Substantial work has occurred over the holiday period to complete delivery of new classes, and refurbishments of current buildings. Some of these are incomplete, however, there will be enough classrooms for all students, again with some restrictions around usage and potential short disruptions while last minute works are completed.

Our Preps begin on Thursday 3rd February with two half days, 4 full days as of next week with Wednesdays off for the month of February. (Preps will have individual appointments arranged to attend for one to one meetings with their teacher where assessments of literacy and numeracy will be conducted. These assessments are used to identify the next level of learning for each student).

 

COVID:

RATs

We still have a substantial shortfall of delivered RATs, though I have been assured by DET the shortfall is in a truck and on its way. At the time of writing, the plan is to distribute RATs this afternoon to all primary students and staff, all Supported students and staff, and VCE/VCAL students and staff. This leaves the years 7-10 without RATs for the short term. If they arrive today before 1.30pm, they will be distributed this afternoon.

Parents are expected to organise RAT testing twice a week, (daily for Supported students and staff), and monitor results. If a positive is detected, parents are expected to report to Department of Health and inform their child’s Class Teacher or Home Group teacher. The school is no longer conducting contact tracing, but when I am informed of a positive case, I will let the classmates of a positive case know of the positive. (names will not be provided).

I have received questions about administering RATs to students who have recently recovered from COVID. It is my understanding that a recovered student will continue to record positive for a period of time even though they have recovered. Please check with your medical practitioner, but if you are in this situation, I see no point in administering RATs until a ‘real’ result will be obtained.

 

Positive Cases

If a positive is recorded, the student, or staff member will need to isolate at home for 7 days. Housemates and family members living in the house of a positive case also need to isolate for 7 days. Students or staff who tested positive return to school after the seven days if they are asymptomatic.

Classmates of a positive case are no longer required to isolate but they or parents need to monitor their health and RAT results. Asymptomatic classmates and staff continue attending school.

Any student or staff member with symptoms is not to attend the school.

If a student develops symptoms while at school, they will be placed away from staff and students and parents contacted to pick them up urgently.

 

Scenario Required actions for the staff member or student/family Required actions for the school
A student or staff member tests positive to COVID-19, either through RA test or PCR test

 

Isolate at home or in private accommodation for 7 days (inclusive of weekends) and do not attend school during this period.

Inform the school, that they have tested positive to COVID-19. Add an attendance not through Compass.

A negative test is not required to return to school following completion of 7 days of isolation.

 

Follow the Checklist for COVID cases.

The school must notify DET of positive student cases via the Vic Ed COVID Tool.

Staff members must report a positive test result and submit a leave request via eduPay on the first day of leave See COVID-19 Leave Management Guidance for details.

 

The school should notify the school community that there has been a case at the school using the communication templates available.

A student or staff member is a household contact or house-like contact*.

 

You have spent more than four hours with someone who has COVID-19 inside a house, accommodation, or care facility.

 

Contact at school is not included in this definition, unless contact has occurred in a school-based residential setting, e.g. school camp or boarding school.

 

Notify the school that they are a household or household-like contact.  Add an attendance note through Compass.

Follow the Checklist for COVID contacts.

Students must quarantine for 7 days (inclusive of weekends) and must not attend school during this period.

Staff members must quarantine for 7 days (inclusive of weekends) and must not attend school during this period unless a critical work exemption has been agreed (see Page 9, Exemptions for staff who are household contacts).

No further action.

 

A student or staff member has been in contact with a case of COVID-19, including at school or at work.

 

If asymptomatic, students and staff should continue to attend school and monitor for symptoms.

If symptomatic, all students/staff must stay/return home, take a rapid antigen test, or get a PCR test if a rapid antigen testing kit unavailable.

On receipt of a negative test result, the student/staff member can return to school.

If staff/students are too unwell to attend school, usual leave/absence policies apply.

Follow the Checklist for COVID contacts.

No further action.

 

The school is not required to seek rapid antigen test results from the students or staff unless a positive test is returned.

Staff/student has contracted COVID-19, completed their 7-day isolation period and is asymptomatic. Staff/ students can safely return to school. They do not need to be tested for 30 days. No further action.
Staff member/student has completed their quarantine period as a household contact and has returned a negative test result.

However, during the quarantine period an additional member of the household has returned a positive result.

 

Student/staff household contacts should quarantine for 7 days from the date of the first positive test of the household index case.

Household contacts are not subject to rolling quarantine periods. If the index case remains in the household, or if subsequent cases are identified within the household, the quarantine end date for the close contact is unchanged.

Staff/ students can safely return to school and do not require negative test documentation.

Please note, if the staff or student becomes symptomatic, they should get tested and not attend school.

 

No further action

 

Face Masks

  • School staff will be required to always wear masks indoors when not actively teaching or communicating with students. Masks are not compulsory for teachers and staff outdoors.
  • Students in Grade 3 and above must wear a face mask indoors at school, (including specialist schools), and Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) programs, unless a lawful exception applies. Students must wear face masks even if vaccinated. Students are not required to wear masks outside.
  • When attending outdoor school camps and excursions, face masks are not mandatory, unless physical distancing cannot be maintained. Face masks must continue to be worn when indoors on camps and excursions.
  • Everyone over 8 years old must wear a face mask when travelling to and from school on public transport, taxis or ride share vehicles.
  • Visitors to schools aged 8 and above must wear a face mask in all indoor spaces, unless a lawful exception applies.
  • Students in Prep to Grade 2 are strongly recommended to wear a face mask indoors at school or an OSHC program.

A face mask must cover the nose and mouth. Face shields, scarves or bandanas do not meet these requirements.

There are lawful reasons for not wearing a face mask, including for staff and students who are unable to wear a face mask due to the nature of their disability, medical or a mental health condition. Parent/carers of a student/s who meet the criteria for an exception should provide their approval in writing for their child/ren to not wear a mask to the school.

There is no requirement for a letter for a medical exception for not wearing a face mask from a medical practitioner.

Outside of lawful exceptions, schools should treat any deliberate and persistent non-compliance with the face masks direction as a serious matter. Usual school procedures for dealing with non-compliance with school rules should be followed, in the same way that school uniform enforcement is dealt with.

 

Vaccinations

As part of the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out, all school staff and all students aged 5 and over are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Students are not required to be vaccinated to attend school.

Information about vaccines and eligibility can be found on the coronavirus.vic.gov.au website.

I will be getting my booster today.

I continue to receive communications from parents who are concerned schools will vaccinate students against the will of parents – this has not, and will not happen.

 

Camps/Excursions

On hold for now, but plans are in place for them to recommence in term 2 and beyond subject to the COVID impact to that time.

 

Parents/Visitors on site

  • Minimise your time on site
  • Do not enter buildings unless you have QR coded and are expected
  • Parents of preps starting on Thursday have been set up with three minute class visits in groups of five. This is in recognition of the symbolic significance of the first day of school.
  • Parents/ Visitors on site must be wearing masks and be double vaccinated

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Infrastructure

New Portables

Functional but still require work such as handrails, landscaping, blinds, internal dividing walls etc. These will be done over the next few weeks and will cause the need for classes to be moved for short term periods. The recent rain disrupted a number of last minute tasks, and the program is built on a ‘just in time’ basis, but possibly forgets about the impact of weather. There have also been supply issues which are a problem across the community.

 

Additional Kitchen in Amadeus

Almost complete. Exhaust fans haven’t arrived and work will be completed when they are installed.

 

Network Upgrade

I hoped this would be up and ready, but unfortunately has been delayed by supply issues and delays on expected delivery of hardware. There are improvements being made daily but this still leaves dead-spots and frustrations for staff and students. Hopefully within the next few weeks I can report a completion and/or functional network.

 

I am looking forward to a successful 2022.

 

Steve Warner

College Principal

X