COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information Centre

News | COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information Centre

Posted 26 June 2020 by Catholic Education in News

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

Last updated 15 June 2020

Latest News

Changes to permissible school activities following easing of restrictions by NSW Government

In response to the latest easing of restrictions for schools announced by the NSW Government, please see below a number of upcoming changes relevant to CEDoW schools. School communities will receive updates from their school when required as the activities below are reintroduced.

The following activities may progressively be reintroduced in schools from Monday 15 June 2020:
  • School assemblies and liturgies (not Eucharistic celebrations), limited to 15 minute. Unfortunately at this stage we are not able to host external visitors, including parents, at assemblies.

  • School photos (students only, there will be no group staff photos).

  • Choirs and performing arts. This will be within the school only at this point, with no inter-school activities.

  • Day field trips to outdoor locations with no physical distancing requirements (e.g. sport facilities, trips to local river/creek etc. to collect water samples).

  • Students attending other schools for essential curriculum related reasons or placements (e.g. auditions or placement tests).

  • Incursions/external adult providers at the school to support delivery of curriculum (e.g. music tutors, sport skills development programs, science demonstrations, drama tutors, Healthy Harold). All external visitors to the school must maintain physical distancing and hygiene requirements and complete a declaration form, which will be provided by the school.

  • Use of school facilities by community groups outside of school hours. Any external users of the site will be required to maintain physical distancing and hygiene requirements and complete an acknowledgement form, which will be provided by the school.

  • Face-to-face TAFE attendance in line with TAFE schedule.

The following activities will be allowed from beginning of Term 3 (subject to possible change based on government advice between now and then):
  • Masses and liturgies (subject to alignment with directives from the Bishop of Wollongong)

  • All school sport and activities including competitions, aligned with current health advice (including those activities run by external organisations).

  • Inter-school student events and competitions (choirs, sport, debating, public speaking, performing arts, etc.).

  • Incursions not already permitted involving external adult providers maintaining physical distancing and hygiene aligned with the health advice of the day (eg school banking talks, sport promotions etc – not directly curriculum related).

  • P&F meetings – strong preference for online where possible.

  • Parent/teacher meetings – schools may continue to use Zoom video-conferencing where appropriate, while maintaining an emphasis on the relational aspect of parent/teacher meetings.

  • Parent/carer school pick up and drop off – arrangements should continue at the school’s discretion taking into consideration adult physical distancing requirements. Parents/carers should not be on school grounds or at school events without principal’s permission.

  • Staff meetings can be held taking into account physical distancing and maximum numbers in a space according to health guidelines at that point in time (Zoom video-conferencing should be used where it is not possible to meet requirements).

  • Professional learning for teachers can recommence with preference for delivery of learning via Zoom video-conferencing. Professional development at external venues can continue in line with the venue’s requirements to abide by current guidelines. Professional development can occur at CEDoW schools and sites as long as physical distancing is maintained.

  • Practicum for tertiary education students continues to be permitted

  • Work experience for students in line with health guidelines at that point in time.

  • VET work placements can proceed subject to appropriate risk assessments. For any that cannot proceed, please see the NESA website.

  • School-based apprenticeships and traineeships can recommence.

  • Use of school facilities by community groups involving general adult attendance (such as community markets) at which the organiser remains responsible for compliance with distancing and hygiene requirements aligned with the health advice at that point in time.

The following events will continue to be reviewed and considered. For now these events must remain on hold:
  • School camps

  • Excursions (other than field trips explained above)

  • Parent attendance at assemblies and other school events (e.g. graduation ceremonies or student speech events)

  • Group photos for staff

  • Parent volunteers – e.g. parent reading helpers (note: canteen and uniform shop volunteers are already permitted)

  • Interstate excursions

Activities that remain cancelled, delayed or not yet permitted:
  • School-based activities that involve large gatherings of adults are not permitted at this time. These include parent/community gatherings such as parent functions, working bees, fundraisers, school BBQs, large parent information evenings, and large on-site cultural events. These large gatherings and the following activities will continue to be reviewed and assessed based on AHPPC and NSW Health advice and may be permitted at a later date.

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

  • International excursions are cancelled until further notice.

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.

There is still some way to go before we reach the other side of this pandemic. But 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

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, including:

    • Introducing an onsite cleaner to wipe down bathrooms and high touch surfaces during the day in addition to the current cleaning practices

    • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently used high-touch surfaces such as benchtops, desks, doorknobs, iPad sign-in, taps, and handrails at regular intervals throughout the day 

    • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently used objects such as computers, photocopiers and sports equipment 

    • Cleaning and disinfecting play equipment at the end of each recess and the end of the day

    • Cleaning staff and student toilets after each recess and at the end of the day

    • Providing bins in every classroom for used tissues, and emptying them regularly throughout the day

    • Cleaning and disinfecting First Aid/Sick Bay rooms, common rooms, dedicated counselling rooms and meeting rooms at regular intervals throughout the day

  • 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 social distancing requirements for teachers and school staff, in line with Government health advice

  • Encouraging increased physical space between students (e.g by arranging furniture to leave as much space as possible between students, maintaining smaller class sizes)

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 include gaining a medical clearance certificate 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 child/ren so they are prepared in the event this situation arises. 

ENROLMENT INTERVIEWS

All enrolment interviews may proceed, as long as COVID-19 hygiene measures and current social distancing guidelines are being implemented or they can be conducted by phone or video.

REMOTE LEARNING ARRANGEMENTS

Remote learning will no longer be provided. If your child needs to remain at home for medical reasons, please contact your school so they can discuss with you options to support your child’s wellbeing and continued growth in faith and learning during this time. Please note that any unexplained absences will be followed up as per standard procedures. 

NAPLAN CANCELLED FOR 2020

NAPLAN exams will be cancelled this year.

HSC INFORMATION AND UPDATES

HSC 2020 UPDATE FROM NESA (15 MAY 2020)

NESA has announced further changes related to the timetable for the 2020 HSC:

  • Written exams will start five days later commencing 20 October 2020.
  • HSC results will be released on 18 December.
  • Language oral exams will now commence on 15 August 2020.
  • There will be no changes to dates for HSC practical and performance exams.

All 2020 HSC students can access their personalised exam timetables via their Students Online account. The 2020 HSC written exam timetable is also available on the NESA website.

For the latest HSC information, please visit the Catholic Schools NSW HSC hub.

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 seek medical care as soon as possible. Symptoms include:

  • fever
  • flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat and fatigue
  • shortness of breath

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

For any cancelled excursions, school activities or events, CEDoW will apply any payment(s) received as an adjustment to school fee accounts.

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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