COVID-19 Update #2
Further to my update on March 13, 2020 regarding COVID-19, the National Cabinet met yesterday and the Prime Minister confirmed:
- Schools and Early Learning Centres will remain open and respond to local issues as required and on the advice of health authorities.
- All international travel arrivals will be required to self-quarantine on arrival back in Australia for a period of 14 days (effective midnight Sunday, 15/03/2020).
- Mass gatherings of 500+ people are not to proceed.
- For other non-essential gatherings, consider the need to proceed and the issues of health and hygiene/social distancing as further mitigations to the spread of the virus.
The College is implementing the following important additional measures due to these new requirements.
Although the Government ban, relating to crowds of over 500 does not apply to schools, we believe it is prudent not to hold our weekly Primary and Secondary assemblies and chapels until the ban is lifted. These are now cancelled for the remainder of the term
Our College Executive will hold a further strategic assessment meeting tomorrow morning (March 17, 2020) to evaluate the risk relating to a number of scheduled College events for the remainder of Term 1. College Photos this week Wednesday (Primary) and Thursday (Secondary) are planned to go ahead unless otherwise notified. This will be decided by attendance numbers.
The following events have been cancelled or postponed. These include (but are not limited to):
- TPSS Swimming Carnival
- Year 8 Activity Day
- Year 9 Activity Day
- Easter Chapel
- Primary Parent Teacher Interviews
- Year 3 – 12 Cross Country
- Secondary Block Sport
- ELC Specialist Sessions at the College
- Prep Humpty Dumpty Party
- Race Around Australia (Primary)
- ELC Pablo Paramedic Incursion
- Year 3 - 6 Swimming Lessons (inclusive of 16/03/2020)
Where possible we will endeavour to mitigate the risk to students, staff and parents by ensuring such events are rescaled (where feasible) to avoid inordinate numbers of participants. Understandably, some further events will need to be cancelled or postponed. We will also communicate any changes/cancellations via our weekly Primary and Secondary Date Claimers.
We will be contacting parents of our most vulnerable children to work through strategies to ensure extra precautions are taken to keep them safe. Vulnerable children include those who have moderate to severe respiratory illness, auto-immune deficiencies and other illnesses which would expose them to greater risk due to the virus. Please ensure that any significant updates regarding your child’s/children’s health (especially in relation to these areas) are communicated to our First Aid staff.
Together with the usual hygiene practices, a number of additional social distancing measures will be implemented across the College from March 16, 2020:
- Avoiding physical contact including handshakes, fist bumping, high-fives and hugging.
- The usual practice of having students in our younger grades holding hands as they transit from the classroom to another venue within the school will be suspended.
I am conscious that these additional measures may have an emotional effect on some of our young children as they may feel a sense of rejection if someone doesn’t hold their hand or give them a hug, please talk to your child/children about this to ensure they understand this is to protect everyone.
Usual hygiene practices to remind your children:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick or have symptoms.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then dispose of the tissue in the bin.
If your child is unwell with flu like symptoms, please keep them at home and consult your relevant health care professionals. If you or your children have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 or are being tested for the virus, please ensure you communicate this with the College.
Please note, as a College we continue to ramp up our preparation for an online delivery of our P-12 curriculum should we face a forced closure due to COVID-19. We will communicate more information on this development in the coming days.
As we have already seen across the world, this situation is likely to continue for some time and is evolving and as such, our preparations for the short, medium and long term will adjust accordingly.
Please continue to pray for those around the world who have been affected and continue to pray for protection over our College community especially the most vulnerable.
Steve Downes College Principal