The current advice from the Victorian Chief Health Officer is that schools remain open. This advice is constantly under review and we will update you if it changes.
In response to COVID-19, our first priority continues to be the safety of children, families and staff. Our College website will continue to be our main source of information although we will, at times, send text messages or use email to communicate with our community. Any updates on social media will be abbreviated information snippets.
We will also communicate our Remote Learning Plan with the community should this become necessary. In the meantime, please be assured we are working very hard to put various strategies in place to support our students’ learning.
Self-Isolation – Who Decides?
The existing advice remains that students, staff and visitors are to be excluded from schools, if the following applies:
the person is a confirmed case of novel coronavirus
the person is a close contact with a confirmed case of novel coronavirus in the past 14 days
the person has arrived into Australia from overseas from midnight, Sunday 15 March
A close contact is someone who has been identified by health authorities as having at least 15 minutes face-to-face contact or sharing a closed space for more than two hours with a confirmed case.
There is no need to self-isolate unless an individual has been identified by health authorities as a close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.
Unwell students and staff (other than confirmed cases or contact with confirmed cases)
In accordance with the DET’s standard Infectious Diseases Policy, the school is required to send unwell students or staff home. Unwell students and staff should remain at home until symptoms resolve and seek medical assistance as required.
The following advice is from the Catholic education Council of Victoria and provides some excellent resources:
Supporting school communities
We are all aware that some people in our school communities have heightened levels of concern and anxiety regarding the many impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
These thoughts and feelings are normal and understandable.
Most adults and children will be able to manage these feelings through being resilient and practising positive coping skills.
However, some may feel overwhelmed and unable to adequately express their concerns. This may result in escalated levels of distress or worry.
Conversations with children and young people
Families and caregivers of children and young people should discuss news of the virus with those in their care in an open and honest way.
Try to relate the facts without causing alarm, and in a way that is appropriate for their age and temperament.
It is important to listen to any questions they may have, and to let them know that they are safe and that it’s normal to feel concerned.
If the media or the news is getting to be too much for them, encourage them to limit their exposure.
A range of key resources, including videos and tips for young people, have been collated for you to share with your staff, students and families to help promote ongoing wellbeing and good health across your school community:
- SPECIAL REPORT: Coronavirus – Dr Michael Carr-Gregg developed this video for parents and school staff. Catholic Education Melbourne acknowledges the generosity of SchoolTV in making the report accessible to parents and staff in Catholic school communities
- How to talk to your children about coronavirus – ABC News article
- Worried about your child getting coronavirus? Here’s what you need to know – The Conversation article
- Talking to children about natural disasters, traumatic events, or worries about the future – This Emerging Minds video introduces ways for parents and carers to manage media coverage of traumatic events, and talk to their children about their worries and fears
- Traumatic events, the media and your child – This Emerging Minds fact sheet provides guidance on how to support and reassure children during ongoing media coverage of COVID-19.
Try to maintain a practical and calm approach
Familiarity, predictability and stability in the school environment enhance children’s sense of safety and capacity to manage emotional responses. Refer to:
- the Australian Psychological Society’s advice for maintaining positive mental health during the coronavirus outbreak
- Beyond Blue’s information about mental health in relation to the coronavirus, facts about anxiety, and other practical advice and resources at www.beyondblue.org.au
- the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) Melbourne’s keeping healthy and staying safe video with Infectious Diseases Physician Dr Andrew Daley
- headspace’s information for young people and Tips to maintain a healthy headspace.