Dear Parents, Guardians and Families,
I hope you are taking care and have remained safe and well over the two-week school holiday period.
I would like to again thank you for your support over a remarkable and challenging Term 2. Our community showed great strength and resilience in the face of change and uncertainty and 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. As we prepare to resume Term 3, your support will be just as crucial.
I apologise for the length of this letter however this is important information.
Unfortunately, as you would be aware through the media, the COVID-19 circumstances have changed over the break with increasing confirmed numbers daily particularly in the western and northern suburbs of Melbourne, you may in fact reside in a postcode that has already been in lockdown. This rise in transmissions has included outbreaks in Primary, Secondary and Special school communities which is of great concern.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced a stage three lock down for metropolitan Melbourne commencing today Thursday 9th July, please understand that schools receive this information at the same time as the general public and that we are awaiting DET guidance on things that may impact our school operations.
As an outcome of this announcement, all Special School students and staff will be returning to school on Monday 13th July.
Whilst students are returning to school, the pandemic is far from over, in fact there are more confirmed cases and community transmissions than during the previous lockdown period. The health and safety of everyone in our community remains our primary priority and thus we will again follow the advice from the Victorian Government and the DET.
Whilst we have been fortunate to have had no cases within the school to date, particularly given the rate of confirmed cases in our local area, we know that now is not the time for complacency.
The school will implement thorough practices and protocols consistent with last term, however we must all play our part and take responsibility to ensure we comply with the medical and health advice and implement COVID-19 restrictions. As we have seen in the media, no person, family, venue or school, including our school is safe from COVID-19, we cannot be complacent.
At any one time there could be up to 280 staff and students in our school, we must all ensure we follow the guidance and protocols below.
We have been informed today of the requirement for every student to be temperature checked on arrival at school. As you can imagine this process will require significant planning which we will be trying to problem solve over the coming days, in preparation for Monday. I will inform you of the process at Monday mornings connect session. Please see James Merlino’s announcement below.
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, Covid19 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 consider seeking medical advice.
Please contact the school if you have any questions, concerns, if any of your circumstances have changed or information requires updating on 9311 4804 (from Monday) or by emailing the school at [email protected]
We understand that these changes to school operations may cause inconvenience and are not ideal and we greatly appreciate your support in implementing these guidelines as our priority is to 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 look forward to a time when restrictions can ease, and we can return to a sense of normality.
Return to School Guidelines
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.
Medically Complex Students
If your child has specific medical needs that may present an additional risk if they were to contract COVID-19, we encourage you to seek medical advice about their suitability to return to school. For those students with a medical certificate required to remain at home, Learning at Home will be provided.
Your child’s temperature will be taken daily upon entry to school. The Ministers media release states…
‘Operational guidance on temperature checks will be delivered to schools. If a students has a temperature of 37.5 degrees Celsius or above, schools will be required to contact parents or carers to arrange for students to return home Families will then be encouraged to seek testing for coronavirus or the advise of their healthcare professional who can advise on next steps.’
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.
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
- Water bottle – clearly labelled
All food containers and cutlery will be sent home unwashed.
There will be no shared food. This includes birthday cakes.
Students Remaining at Home
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 just arrive at school unannounced. Again, we will be enforcing this diligently therefore it is important that you ensure your child has everything they require when attending school.Parent/Guardian Drop off/Pick up times 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.
Visitor Free Zones (including Parents/Guardians)
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 just arrive at school unannounced.
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.
Again, we will be enforcing this diligently therefore it is important that you ensure your child has everything they require when attending school.
Parent/Guardian Drop off/Pick up times
**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.
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.
We believe that the DET bus service will run as usual with previous pick up/drop off times remaining the same unless your address or details have changed.
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.