COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information Centre

News | COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information Centre

Posted 10 March 2021 by Catholic Education in News

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

Last updated 5 March 2021

Latest News

TERM 1, 2021 directives for CEDoW schools

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 Term 1 directives, please contact your school or the Catholic Education Office on (02) 4253 0800.

Major changes as of Monday 8 March 2021
  • 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, practising good hygiene and maintaining physical distance.
  • Parents/carers can enter school grounds to pick up and drop off their children without needing to sign in. However, we ask that you limit your time on school grounds to the minimum duration necessary to drop off and pick up your child.
  • Parents and spectators may attend school or external venue sporting events in accordance with the event’s COVID-19 Safety Plan. Please note that some venues may have capacity limits and additional safety requirements.
  • Students may attend Mass during school hours, however interaction with members of the public will be minimised and the diocese’s parish directives will be followed.

 

Full CEDoW COVID-19 Directives

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
  • Staff and students are not required to wear masks at school, but may choose to wear one. When not at school (including travelling to and from school on public transport or by chartered transport services, and during external activities), staff and students over the age of 12 must comply with current Public Health Order(s) related to mask wearing.
  • Parents/carers and students are encouraged to regularly review the latest COVID-19 case locations in NSW and interstate.
  • Schools must adhere to 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 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.
  • Adults onsite must maintain 1.5m from others where practicable.
  • 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. Where possible they should be limited to one hour.
  • 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 is no limit on the number of performers singing in a group, however performers must maintain 5m from the audience where practicable. 
  • School photos are permitted (staff photos are permitted subject to maintaining 1.5m distance).
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.
  • Schools can conduct field trips, excursions and overnight activities within NSW, Vic, QLD and the ACT.
  • International excursions and travel 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

  • Afterhours use of school sites by community groups is permitted, with up to 50 people outdoors for schools within Greater Sydney and Wollongong or 100 people outdoors for schools in other locations.
  • 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, practising good hygiene and maintaining physical distancing.
  • Parents/carers can enter school grounds to pick up and drop off their children without needing to sign in. However, we ask that you limit your time on school grounds to the minimum duration necessary to drop off and pick up your child.
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.

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

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, 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 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 child/ren so they are prepared in the event this situation arises. 

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. 

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

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 


  


View all stories in News. View All News and Events.