COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information Centre

News | COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information Centre

Posted 27 August 2021 by Catholic Education in News

Welcome to the Catholic Education Diocese of Wollongong (CEDoW) COVID-19 Information Centre

Last updated 27 August 2021

Latest News

Return to school roadmap

The NSW Premier has revealed the state’s return to school roadmap, which outlines when students will be able to safely return to school for face-to-face learning in a COVID-safe way.

The most important details of the roadmap are:

  • All schools in NSW will follow the same roadmap. 

  • The return to face-to-face learning will be staggered, with different years returning at different times from 25 October 2021 (see timeline below). The start of the staggered return to face-to-face learning depends upon at least 70% of the state’s eligible adult population being fully vaccinated.

  • If stay-at-home orders are lifted in an LGA or region before 25 October 2021, all students living or learning in that area will return to face-to-face learning at that time with a level of COVID-safe restrictions in place. 

 

Present

All schools in NSW at Level 4 restrictions (remote learning).

Year 12 students are already able to return in a limited way and this will continue until the start of the staggered return to face-to-face learning.
Early September 2021 Revised timetable and guidelines for a COVID-safe HSC to be released by NESA, with HSC exams delayed until 9 November.
25 October 2021

Year 12 will have full-time access to their school campus and teachers.

Kindergarten and Year 1 will return to face-to-face learning with Level 3 COVID restrictions on school sites.
1 November 2021 Years 2, 6 and 11 will return to face-to-face learning with Level 3 COVID restrictions on school sites.
8 November 2021 Years 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 and 10 will return to face-to-face learning with Level 3 COVID restrictions on school sites.
9 November 2021 HSC exams begin according to the revised timetable.
Vaccination eligibility for students

Vaccination against COVID-19 is recommended for everyone 12 years and older. Students aged 16 and up will be eligible for the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine from 30 August 2021. More information about when students aged 12-15 will be eligible to make a booking will be provided when it is available. For more information about booking a vaccine please visit the COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Checker.

Information for HSC students

All students who are sitting the HSC this year will receive priority vaccination if they are eligible. Notifications for priority booking will be issued by NESA (the NSW Education Standards Authority) next week. All students eligible to book a vaccine are strongly encouraged to book an appointment.

HSC exams will be delayed until 9 November 2021 with a revised timetable and guidelines for a COVID-safe HSC to be released by NESA in early September 2021. 

The NSW Government has consulted with the university sector and confirmed that while marking will happen later than usual, NSW students will not be disadvantaged and will have the same opportunity to be offered a place at university as in previous years.

 

Remote learning and restrictions at NSW schools

Depending on the latest health advice, a different level of restrictions may apply at your school. Please see below for more information about the levels of restrictions. Your school will inform you what level of restrictions it is currently required to adhere to.

Our priority will always be the safety and wellbeing of students, staff and our school community, and ensuring we provide the best possible faith and learning experience under the circumstances.

If you have any questions, please contact your school or the Catholic Education Office on (02) 4253 0800.

  

Level 1 directives for CEDoW schools

When schools are categorised into a higher level of COVID-19 risk, additional restrictions will be applied over and above the standard directives listed below. The measures described below continue to apply at all times except where a restriction at a higher level supersedes it.

Please note that directives at your school may vary depending on your local needs and context. If you have any questions or concerns about the COVID-19 directives, please contact your school or the Catholic Education Office on (02) 4253 0800. 

Responding to a positive case of COVID-19 in a student or staff member
  • When a school is informed that a student or staff member (or anyone who has been onsite) has tested positive for COVID-19 the principal or assistant principal is to enact the COVID-19 Incident Response Plan.
  • The principal or assistant principal will then immediately contact CEDoW's 'Confirmed COVID-19 Case Response Coordinator'.
  • The school should simultaneously enact their local COVID-19 response plan.
  • If a parent, sibling or close contact of a staff member or student receives a positive COVID-19 test result, the Public Health Unit will manage contact tracing and contact the staff member or student if they are required to self-isolate.

When a student or staff member is unwell with flu-like symptoms
  • Students or staff showing signs of being unwell must be sent home ASAP.
  • Schools must maintain an isolation room for persons showing symptoms of COVID-19 while they await collection.
  • When the reason for their absence was illness with flu-like symptoms (as outlined by NSW Health) students and staff are required to be free of symptoms AND present a negative COVID-19 test, which must be sighted by the school, before returning to school. 
  • Students who do not undertake a COVID-19 test will not be permitted to return to school for a 10-day period. Additionally, they must be symptom-free for at least 3 days prior to returning to school.
  • In circumstances where students have other medical reasons for recurrent symptoms, a letter from the GP is sufficient to negate the requirement for a negative test.
  • Students and staff are encouraged to get tested as soon as possible if they display flu-like symptoms.
Requirements for returning to school after self-isolating or undergoing testing
  • Students and staff who have been directed to self-isolate and have undergone testing can return to school when their 14-day isolation period is complete AND they have received a negative test result AND they are not displaying symptoms of illness.
  • Students and staff who have undergone testing but HAVE NOT been directed to self-isolate can return to school when they have received a negative test result AND are not displaying symptoms of illness.
  • Schools must sight the student or staff member’s negative COVID-19 test result and make a file notation of the date and the staff member who sighted the negative test result.
Hygiene, social distancing and preventative measures
  • While at school, masks or face coverings are recommended for all staff in primary and secondary settings; and all secondary students.
  • Masks or face coverings are not required to be worn by a staff member or student who has a physical or mental health illness or condition, or disability, that makes wearing a mask unsuitable. For example, if they have a skin condition, an intellectual disability, autism or trauma, they are not required to wear a mask.
  • Parents/carers and students are encouraged to regularly review the latest COVID-19 case locations in NSW and interstate.
  • Capacity for gatherings of adults (including parents/carers, external providers and members of the community) is limited by the current square metre rule.
  • Staff and students must not attend school if they are unwell, even with very mild symptoms. 
  • Good hygiene must be practised and enforced throughout the school, including washing hands regularly and thoroughly; sanitising upon entry to school, entry/exit of classroom, and after using shared resources); and sneezing into your elbow or tissue (disposing of the tissue straight away and then washing your hands).
  • Enhanced daily COVID-19 cleaning arrangements (with a focus on high-touch surfaces) will remain in place until further notice.
  • Schools will display posters to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Schools must encourage increased physical space between students where possible.
  • It is recommended that adults maintain 1.5m from others.
  • Bubblers may now be turned on, however students should continue to use their own water bottles.
  • Staff are encouraged to refer to and follow infection control guidelines relevant to their work.
Gatherings of students 
  • Students are not required to physically distance.
  • Whole-school assemblies and liturgies may be held.
  • Students and staff may attend Mass alongside parishioners during school hours, however interaction with members of the public should be avoided and DOW parish directives must be followed.
Student learning and extracurricular activities
  • All students should be learning at school unless they are unwell or have a medical certificate to support their absence (or have already discussed and agreed a plan with the school).
  • Students who are residing with a family member who is identified as being at higher risk should attend school unless a medical practitioner advises otherwise.
  • If students cannot attend school (due to a requirement to self-isolate OR a long-term illness or underlying health condition), schools continue to be responsible for supporting learning in the same way they would for other short- or long-term absences (e.g. recovery from minor surgery OR long-term illness).
  • Inter-school activities are permitted.
  • School-based apprenticeships, traineeships, work experience and VET work placements can proceed subject to the availability of placement and appropriate risk assessments. Employers must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan. For any that can't proceed, please see the NESA website where relevant.
  • Face-to-face TAFE attendance by students in line with TAFE schedule is permitted.
  • There are no limits for singing groups or in-class educational activities such as group repetition, chanting or recitation.
  • School photos are permitted.
excursions, FIELD TRIPS and camps
  • Excursions, offsite activities and camps (including overnight camps) are permitted, as long as strict COVID-safe measures are followed.
  • Students may only attend external venues that have a COVID-safe plan.
  • Interstate excursions and camps are permitted and can continue where border requirements permit these activities.
  • International excursions and travel (including to New Zealand) remain suspended.
Incursions, external visitors and use of school sites by community groups

INCURSIONS AND EXTERNAL VISITORS

  • All visitors are required to sign in and out, using the CEDoW Quick Sign In app or a QR code generated by the school.
  • Incursions/external providers supporting delivery of the curriculum are permitted (this includes health/vaccinations programs, practicum teachers and providers of White Card training).
  • External providers during school hours are required to complete an external visitor declaration form.

USE OF SCHOOL SITES BY COMMUNITY GROUPS

  • Community use of school facilities (by external operators) is by exception only, requiring written approval by the principal and written acknowledgement by the operator.
  • Any external users of the site outside school hours must have their own COVID Safety Plan and also complete a community use acknowledgement form

PARENTS AND CARERS

  • Parents/carers are welcome in our schools and at activities off site subject to following the COVID-19 requirements for visitors—including signing in and out (using the ServiceNSW app in addition to standard sign-in), practising good hygiene and maintaining physical distancing.
  • Parents and carers who are dropping off or picking up students outside the school gates do not need to sign in or use the Service NSW QR code.
Sport and Physical Activity 
  • Weekly sport and recreational activities, gala days, selection trials for representative sport and activities, whole of school carnivals, zone and school carnivals and inter-school events are permitted.
  • The number of participants involved in sport and physical activities at a venue/facility must comply with external venue restrictions. 
  • Parents/spectators may attend school or external venue events in accordance with the event’s COVID-19 Safety Plan. Please note that some venues, such as major recreational facilities, may have additional safety requirements.
  • School sporting activity requirements, whether indoors or outdoors, should align with those in place for other community sporting competitions and training activities in NSW unless held at a venue with additional capacity allowance such as a major recreational facility.
  • External coaches and other providers are permitted.
  • Use of local external sporting grounds, swimming pools (including hydrotherapy pools), recreational facilities and community facilities is permitted.
  • Records of those participating in external events and activities must be maintained for a period of 28 days in accordance with contact tracing requirements. Schools do not need to provide a list of attendees to the venue. Details of a contact person from the school who holds the attendance records is all that is required.

Ensuring our schools continue to be “COVID-safe”

Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, our mission has not changed. We are still focused on the integral formation and growth of each of our students—and the safety and wellbeing of our students, staff and school community remains our first priority.

Catholic Education Diocese of Wollongong has always been committed to making decisions in accordance with the advice of health authorities. Our rigorous hygiene, cleaning and social distancing measures will remain in place, to ensure our schools continue to be “COVID-safe” in line with health directives from the Commonwealth and State Governments. 

Please see the section 'What you need to know' below for more detail about the hygiene and other safety protocols in place at CEDoW schools.

If your child is unwell, please do not send them to school. Students or staff showing signs of being unwell will be sent home.

PREPARING FOR THE POSSIBILITY OF A TEMPORARY SCHOOL CLOSURE

While every reasonable step has been taken to ensure our schools are safe, we are prepared for the possibility that one of our schools may need to close temporarily as a result of a confirmed case of COVID-19. You will receive timely updates if this occurs. If we are required to close during school hours, supervision will be available for students unable to return home, with reduced interaction between students.

As a Catholic community we can find hope even in the most challenging circumstances. Our faith has allowed us to respond effectively and with love so far, and it is this same faith that will continue to guide us, as together we light the way through COVID-19.

 

Key Information

About This Page

This page contains a regularly updated overview of the systemic response by Catholic Education Diocese of Wollongong (CEDoW) to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, including:

  • Measures being taken by CEDoW schools to keep our school communities safe and to minimise disruption to learning

  • Advice for parents and carers to help you stay safe and prepared

  • Advice regarding cancelled or postponed excursions and events across CEDoW schools

  • A range of COVID-19 resources, provided in multiple languages

Information and updates specific to each school community will continue to be provided directly to parents and carers by school principals. 
 

What You Need To Know

MEASURES TO SUPPORT FAMILIES THROUGH COVID-19

Catholic Education Diocese of Wollongong is conscious of the significant financial impact many of our families may be experiencing as a result of COVID-19. We have put a number of measures in place to support our Catholic school communities at this time. Read more

LATEST PUBLIC HEALTH ALERTS

All CEDoW parents and carers are encouraged to regularly review the latest public health alerts and case locations, and follow the direction of NSW Health. The latest public health alerts are available here.

Keeping students and staff safe

We continue to receive advice from the Commonwealth and NSW Governments to ensure our processes and plans are in line with best practice and the latest expert advice.

A range of measures are in place to support the safety of our students, staff and school communities, including:

  • Continuing to follow our established Incident Response Plan to keep students and staff safe in the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19, in line with NSW Public Health Unit direction

HYGIENE AND SOCIAL DISTANCING PROTOCOLS
  • Increasing cleaning to meet enhanced NSW Health standards

  • Requiring all students and staff to practise personal hygiene, including regular and thorough washing of hands with soap and water or hand sanitiser (with appropriate support provided to students to ensure they are practising good personal hygiene)

  • Adhering to physical distancing requirements for teachers and school staff, in line with Government health advice

Advice to families when a student is unwell at school

The first symptoms of COVID-19 and flu are similar, in that they both can cause fever, cough, sore/scratchy throat and shortness of breath.

Throughout this period, students are not to attend school if they are unwell. In the event your child presents unwell during the school day, the normal processes apply: Your child will be cared for at school in the sick bay by a qualified first aid officer, while they await collection from an appropriate parent/guardian/carer.  

Schools have Personal Protective Equipment in order to support students and staff:

  • The student will be provided with a medical mask to reduce the risk of transmitting droplets or respiratory fluids.
  • The first aid officer who is assisting the student will also be wearing a medical mask and gloves.
  • The student’s temperature will be taken using a non-contact thermometer to assess severity of presenting symptoms (note that regardless of the child’s temperature, all students who present unwell will be sent home). 

When the parent/guardian/carer of the student collects their child from school, a letter will be provided to them, which outlines the steps required for the student to be able to return to school. These steps may include gaining a negative COVID-19 test result and only returning to school once the student has fully recovered.  

CEDoW is advising parents and carers of these measures in advance so that they may discuss them with their children so they are prepared in the event this situation arises. 

What You Can Do

Protecting yourself, your child and your school community

If you have COVID-19 symptoms

If you or a member of your family experiences COVID-19 symptoms, stay home and get tested as soon as possible. 

If you have reason to believe your child is vulnerable to COVID-19 because of a pre-existing medical condition, please contact your school to discuss your circumstances.

Preventing the spread of COVID-19

The most effective thing you can do to protect yourself and your family is to follow the advice of government and health officials. Keep up to date with the latest information from government

Preparing for school closure or self-isolation

The most important thing to remember is this is not cause for panic. We are taking every reasonable step to protect the health of students and staff in our schools, and to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community. 

It is a good idea to be prepared for the possibility that your school may be required to close temporarily. If this applies to you, you may wish to consider the following:

  • Who will pick your child up from school in the event of a sudden closure?

  • Is someone available to provide supervision while your child is away from school?

  • Can you share responsibility for supervising your child with a relative, neighbour or friend?

  • If your child is required to stay home (because of a school closure or direction to self-isolate), how will you limit their exposure to public places?
     

Cancelled and Postponed Excursions & Events

CEDoW SCHOOL Excursions and EVENTS 

For a full list of excursions and events that have been cancelled or postponed, please contact your school

Further details about payments/refunds and other impacts will be discussed between schools and parents/carers.

CSNSW Sports Suspended

For the latest information on suspended Catholic Schools NSW Sports events, please visit the CSNSW website.

Multilingual Resources 

Please find below, COVID-19 information and resources in a variety of different languages. 
 

Australian Government COVID-19 Resources
https://www.health.gov.au/resources/translated?f%5B0%5D=field_related_conditions_disease%3A9669
Including in: Arabic, Chin Hakka, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Greek, Hazaragi, Italian, Korean, Kurdish, Persian, Spanish, Vietnamese
  

NSW Health COVID-19 Resources
https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/covid-19-resources.aspx
Including in: Arabic, Assyrian, Bahasa/Indonesian, Bangla, Burmese, Chinese, Dari, Farsi, Filipino/Tagalog, French, Greek, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Mandarin, Macedonian, Mongolian, Nepali, Portuguese, Punjabi, Spanish, Swahili, Tamil, Thai, Tibetan, Urdu, Vietnamese
Also includes: Aboriginal health resources ("COVID-19: Keep our communities healthy" flyers)
 

SBS COVID-19 factsheets and news items in 63 languages
https://www.sbs.com.au/language/coronavirus
Including in: Arabic, Assyrian, Bangla, Burmese, Chin Hakka, Dari, Filipino, French, Greek, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Karen, Khmer, Korean, Mandarin, Macedonian, Malayalam, Nepali, Portuguese, Punjabi, Spanish, Swahili, Tamil, Thai, Tibetan, Tigrinya, Urdu, Vietnamese
 

SBS videos explaining coronavirus in your language
https://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/coronavirus-explained-in-your-language
Including in: Arabic, Cantonese, Filipino, Greek, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Korean, Mandarin, Pashto, Persian, Punjabi, Spanish, Tamil, Vietnamese
   

Ethnolink COVID-19 resources translated in 50 languages
https://www.ethnolink.com.au/covid-19-coronavirus-translated-resources/
Including in: Arabic, Assyrian, Bangla, Burmese, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Chin Hakka, Dari, Filipino, French, Greek, Hazaraghi, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Karen, Khmer, Korean, Macedonian, Nepali, Oromo, Portuguese, Punjabi, Spanish, Swahili, Tamil, Thai, Tibetan, Tigrinya, Urdu, Vietnamese
  

Red Cross posters on reducing the risks of COVID-19
https://www.redcross.org.au/coronavirus
Including in: Arabic, Amharic, Dari, Farsi, French, Kurdish (Kurmanji), Malay, Nepali, Spanish, Swahili, Tamil, Tibetan. Also in Hazaraghi, Karen, Lingala, Tigrinya, Oromo, Chin Hakka 
 

Mental health resources in a variety of languages
https://embracementalhealth.org.au/community/multilingual-information
Including in: Amharic, Arabic, Assyrian, Chinese, Croatian, Dari, Dinka, Farsi, Greek, Italian, Khmer, Korean, Krio, Macedonian, Polish, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Swahili, Turkish, Vietnamese

Questions or Concerns

Thank you for your understanding and patience during this time. This is a community issue and we are taking a community response, ensuring that all CEDoW schools are supported to keep their communities safe and minimise disruption to learning. 

We know that many of you may be feeling concerned for the safety of yourself and your family. By continuing to remain calm and following the advice of health officials and government, we will get through this together. 

If you would like more information about COVID-19, please visit the NSW Health website.

If you have any questions not answered on this page, please contact your school 


  


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