Term 4 – Return to School – 16.09.2020


Dear Parents, Guardians and Families,

I hope you are taking care and have remained safe and well during what have been incredibly challenging and unique times. We are very excited and are looking forward to your children returning to school on Monday 12th October, (Week 2, Term 4). Our students and staff are the heart of Sunshine SDS and having everyone return will make our school feel whole again.

The end of Term 3 is this Friday 16th September, all staff will be available on Seesaw until 1pm.

I would like to again thank you for your support over a remarkable and challenging Term 2 and 3. Our community has continued to show great strength, positivity and resilience in the face of change and uncertainty. We have been so grateful for the support of our parents/guardians and families in taking steps to promote and prioritise the health and safety of our community. Thank you for your phone calls, emails and Seesaw messages of thought and support, it has been greatly appreciated. As we prepare to resume Term 4, your support will be just as crucial.

I apologise for the length of this letter however this is important information.

The Department of Eduation and Training have provided School Operations Guidance. Along with comprehensive health and safety guidance (outlined in protocols at the end of this letter), the DET highlight the following as Term 4 Priorities;

Priority 1 – Wellbeing and Equity

The wellbeing, and particularly the mental health, of every student and member of staff is the highest priority.

This means encouraging and sustaining motivation for learning, re-engaging students and families where needed, and supporting the social and emotional learning of children and young people alongside curriculum-based learning.

Priority 2 – Learning and Excellence

Some students have been better able to progress in their learning in the remote and flexible learning environment, others have maintained their rate of progress, and some have, despite their best efforts and those of their families and teachers, not progressed in their learning.

It will be important to meet all students at their point of need – both to support those who have not progressed in their learning to catch up and those who have progressed to continue to extend and stretch their learning.

Literacy and numeracy across the curriculum remain a focus, with schools also adapting their teaching and learning program in Term 4 to be responsive to student needs.

Priority 3 – Transitions

Term 4 is a critical period, particularly for the children moving from kindergarten into Prep, from Year 6 into Year 7, from Year 11 to Year 12, and those in Year 12 moving into employment or further education and training.

Students in other year levels will also prepare for a change of teachers and new classmates.

A key focus of Term 4 will be to make every effort to ensure each of these end-of-year and beginning-of-year transitions occurs as successfully as possible.

This includes finding contextually appropriate ways to conduct orientations and end-of-year celebrations and ensuring transition information captures additional details as necessary.

We await further guidance about this from DET.

As students and staff return to school, we will focus on these priorities and continue to implement thorough practices and protocols consistent with last term. These are based on guidance from the Chief Health Officer and the DET and ensure we comply with medical and health advice and implement COVID-19 restrictions, we cannot be complacent.

As families, there are some key points we ask you to fully follow and implement as we try to support the safest return to school and maintain health and safety. These protocols and practices are in line with the most current guidance on social/physical distancing for adults, COVID-19 Management Plans and Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) advice.

There are guidelines included below that we ask you to follow and support us with to ensure we implement these protocols diligently. Please read all information below thoroughly and ensure you understand the expectations and requirements to support a safe and smooth return to school.

Actions: What do you need to do now?

Read all information contained in this letter and consider the changes or preparations you may need to make.

Ensure you have a labelled water bottle and appropriate packaging/containers and eating utensils (fork/spoon) for your child/ren’s drinks and food.

If your child has medical complexities that could present additional risk, please seek advice from the student’s medical practitioner to support decision-making about whether on-site education is suitable.

Please contact the school if you have any questions, concerns, if any of your circumstances have changed or information requires updating on 9311 4804 or by emailing the school at [email protected].

We understand that these changes to school operations may cause inconvenience and are not ideal. We greatly appreciate your support in implementing these guidelines as our priority is to re establish learning routines and expectations and maintain the health and safety of our community.

As further information and guidance is provided by the DET, I will continue to update you through School Stream and again I thank you for your ongoing support.

We are hopeful that we will have a time soon when restrictions ease that we can be together again, celebrating the safety and learning or our community.

Kind regards,

Nicole Edwardes – Principal

Return to School Guidelines


It is recommended that parents/guardians of students with complex medical needs, seek advice from the student’s medical practitioner to support decision-making about whether on-site education is suitable.

Students Remaining at Home

Any parent/guardian of a child enrolled in a specialist school who wishes to keep their child at home can do so. Conatct should be made with the school to notify us of this.

Where possible, the school can make the learning materials developed for and provided in the on-site program available for use at home where this does not require additional work, preparation or production by teachers.

Management of Sick Students

If your child is unwell (even a slight runny nose) they must remain at home, you should seek medical advice which may include a COVID test and your child should remain at home until they are well enough to return to school and all symptoms are gone.

Due to the nature of the current pandemic, sick students or staff will not be permitted to remain onsite. Any child or staff member who presents with any cold or flu like symptoms or a temperature, will be sent home.

Parents/guardians are to ensure there is someone available to pick the child up within one hour.

Staff will wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE – gloves, suits, masks) when managing sick children.

If you or anyone in your household has cold or flu like symptoms (even mild) please follow health advice and keep your child at home.

Student Hygiene Practices

Please attend to your child’s thorough hand washing and sanitising practices prior to arriving at school or getting on the bus school as well as when at home.

 Face Coverings

Parents/guardians and carers will be required to wear face coverings whenever they leave the house, including for school drop off and pick up. If they are travelling in a car alone, or only with members of their household, they do not need to wear a mask. They must wear a face covering when entering the school grounds.

Specialist school students are exempt from wearing a face covering, however where families request their child wear a face covering or where a student would be deemed suitable to wear a face covering, the school will support this through modelling, teaching and learning, however it is not mandatory.

Temperature Checking

Your child’s temperature will be taken daily upon entry to school.

If a students has a temperature of 37.5 degrees Celsius or above, schools will be required to contact parents/guardians or carers to arrange for students to return home. Families will then be encouraged to seek testing for COVID-19 or the advise of their healthcare professional who can advise on next steps.

 Physical Distancing

In accordance with health guidance, we will be maintaining where practical, physical distancing and minimising the use of shared equipment. Outside spaces will be open and accessed by students however access to shared equipment in and out of the classroom will be limited.

Learning at school will look different for us all as we work within the guidance ensuing safety, health and wellbeing. The school day will not be as it was prior to COVID-19, we are working together to provide an educational program with a focus on health and safety.

Meal Considerations

Please send your child in with their own food, crockery, cutlery and equipment. This includes:

  • All food stored in packaging and containers that can be used to heat and eat from
  • Forks and spoons
  • Morning snack
  • Lunch
  • Water bottle – clearly labelled

All food containers and cutlery will be sent home unwashed.There will be no shared food. This includes birthday cakes.Visitor Free Zones (including Parents/Guardians)Unless an appointment is made and the visit is the provision of an essential service, visitors (including contractors, service providers, parents/guardians and families) are not to access the school site (grounds or buildings). The front entrance will be locked, and a sign displayed with the phone numbers to contact the school.  **Please note the Parent/Guardian drop off time will remain at 9:30am at this stage whilst we implement the temperature checking process.The school grounds will be available for parents/guardians to drop their child/ren off from 9:30am – 9:40am and pick them up from school between 2:30pm – 2:40pm.If you are here earlier or later than these designated pick up times you will be required to wait outside the school gates for further instruction from staff.

Parent/Guardian Drop off/Pick up times

Again, we will be enforcing this diligently therefore it is important that you ensure your child has everything they require when attending school.

The school gates and front door will be locked. There will be no visitors or entry to the school unless an appointment is made. Please do not arrive at school without an appointment.

 Parents/Guardians and families are asked to adhere to physical distancing guidance and then leave immediately and not to congregate on the school grounds.

Student Early pick up due to an appointment

If you need to pick your child up earlier than the school finishing time or designated pick up time due to an appointment, phone the school on 9311 4804 and someone will bring your child/ren to the front car park.

School Bus

The Students with Disabilities Transport Program (SDTP) will continue to operate state-wide for students with a disability. Enhanced cleaning and physical distancing for adults (driver and other attendants) will continue where practical. Usual timetables will apply.

The bus arrival and departure process will be changed to ensure we are implementing physical distancing requirements between staff/students, staff/parents, staff/staff.


There will be no swimming, excursions or incursions.