COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information Centre

News | COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information Centre

Posted 17 September 2020 by Catholic Education in News

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

Last updated 1 September 2020

Latest News

Updated directives for CEDoW schools as at 18 August 2020

On 17 August 2020, NSW Health provided updated COVID-19 guidelines to schools. The revised Term 3 directives for CEDoW schools are outlined below.

If you have any questions or concerns, 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 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 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 the end of Term 3, 2020, or until such time as changes in the health advice permit.
  • 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 other adults and students.
  • Musical instruments, learning and sporting equipment should be cleaned between uses.
  • Students should use their own water bottles.
  • Staff members and students who wish to wear a mask should be accommodated by the school, however AHPPC guidelines do not currently require anyone in schools to wear masks.
  • Staff are encouraged to refer to and follow infection control guidelines relevant to their work
Gatherings of students and staff

GATHERINGS OF STUDENTS

  • Students must stay within their relevant cohort group (i.e. class, year group, or stage) for all learning activities within their school.
  • Schools can gather students for 15 minute assemblies and liturgies, but they must be limited to stage groups in primary schools and year groups in secondary schools.
  • Parents and carers are not to attend school gatherings at this stage.

GATHERINGS OF STAFF

  • Schools should limit the number of staff gathering in common places and avoid sharing items between staff members.
  • Schools must carefully consider face-to-face gatherings of staff and, if proceeding, ensure COVID safety through social distancing and limiting numbers, as well as consider holding meetings outdoors and/or limiting meeting times to less than one hour.
  • Staff gatherings should be minimised and, where they must occur, limited to the minimum amount of people required to achieve educational outcomes.
  • Professional development (PD) for staff cannot be face to face unless it is absolutely necessary (i.e. essential compliance training that involves a mandatory face-to-face demonstration for certification). If it cannot be held online, PD must be cancelled or postponed.
  • Mixing of staff from different schools is not permitted. When staff from different schools need to be on the same site (e.g. at an inter-school event) they must maintain strict social distancing from other adults and students.
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).
  • 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).
  • School photos are permitted (no group staff photos).
  • Schools must not travel outside their Local Government Area.
  • 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.
  • Debating, public speaking, and performing arts are permitted. This includes inter-school events (see below for more detail).
  • For the remainder of Term 3, all group singing (choirs) and/or chanting activities, as well as the use of wind instruments in group settings, are not permitted.
  • Stage 6 students can continue to sing solo or as a duet with a minimum distance of 3 metres from other performers and all other persons in the room (e.g. teacher, conductor, audience).
  • Dance activities require risk assessment and development of a COVID-19 Safety Plan.
  • School formals, dances, graduation or other social events are not permitted and schools should not promote or sanction social activities organised by others.
  • Schools may hold a Year 12 assembly to recognise the completion of school. 
excursions, FIELD TRIPS, camps and Transport
  • Student activities at any offsite location (except for inter-school events in the school's Local Government Area and day field trips that meet the specific criteria described below) are strictly suspended until further notice.
  • Day field trips to outdoor locations within walking distance of the school—where there is no risk of interaction with members of the public, and which are essential to the delivery of the curriculum—are permitted.
  • Excursions (other than field trips described above) remain suspended.
  • All camps and retreats—including single day visits to camp facilities or other venues—are strictly suspended until further notice.
  • Students may only attend external venues that have a COVID-safe plan.
  • All interstate and international excursions and travel remain suspended.
  • School principals are encouraged to work with local transport operators to address any related transport concerns.
Incursions, external visitors and use of school sites by community groups

INCURSIONS AND EXTERNAL VISITORS

  • Visitors for non-essential purposes are not permitted on school grounds, this includes parents and carers unless specifically approved by the principal.
  • Incursions/external providers essential to the delivery of the curriculum are permitted.
  • Use of external providers not essential to delivery of the curriculum is not permitted.
  • Schools may engage an external provider to deliver the White Card training at school sites where essential.
  • Practicum teaching students may continue to attend school sites.
  • External providers are required to demonstrate compliance with health and safety requirements.
  • External visitors during school hours are required to complete an external visitor declaration form.

USE OF SCHOOL SITES BY COMMUNITY GROUPS

  • Use of school facilities by community groups outside of school hours is permitted. 
  • However, all use of school sites that involve large gatherings of adults remain suspended, including community markets.
  • 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

  • School or community run playgroups are to cease until further notice—this includes Transition to School Through Play.
  • Year 7 orientation must be delayed until Term 4.
  • Kindergarten orientation remains on hold.
  • Schools must conduct parent/teacher meetings, using Zoom video-conferencing, except where face-to-face meetings are essential (e.g. to discuss disciplinary or other welfare matters).
  • P&F meetings can only be conducted using video conferencing (e.g. Zoom).
  • P&F social events or functions are not permitted.
  • Parent/carer school pick up and drop off should continue at the school’s discretion, and must support social distancing for adults.
  • Parents/carers should not be on school grounds or at school events without principal’s permission, and are not to attend school gatherings at this stage.

CEO STAFF VISITING SCHOOLS 

  • CEO staff delivering essential services and support can attend school only when the services cannot be delivered remotely. 
  • CEO staff must comply with school directives, infection control, personal hygiene and physical distancing requirements at all times.
Sport and Physical Activity 
  • Contact sports remain suspended.
  • Inter-school sports are now permitted, however all inter-school sport and physical activities must remain within the school’s Local Government Area.
  • The number of participants in attendance at inter-school sport and physical activities must be limited to 100 people per venue including staff.
  • The mixing of students from different schools when not participating is not permitted.
  • Students must remain within their relevant cohort (class, year group or stage) where possible to limit the mixing of students between cohort groups.
  • External providers essential to the delivery of the sport or physical activity are permitted.
  • The use of local external venues and facilities (including external sporting grounds, pools, recreational facilities and community facilities) where the school has exclusive use are permitted in line with venue protocols and COVID safety plans.
  • Bus travel to venues in the school’s Local Government Area is permitted with COVID and hygiene protocols.
Inter-school Events
  • Inter-school student events and competitions are permitted, however all inter-school activities must remain within the school’s Local Government Area.
  • Year 11 & 12 students only may continue to attend classes/activities relating to subjects only available on other campuses where arrangements are in place to ensure they go directly to their class and do not mix with other groups of students at the school. All other students are not to attend other campuses for the remainder of Term 3.
  • When holding inter-school events involving students and staff from schools within the same Local Government Area, schools must ensure compliance with a COVID Safety Plan based on the template for community sports activities.
  • Schools must ensure that an accurate record is kept of every student who attends another school (including another CEDoW school). This record must include which students attended, where they went, and on what date(s).
  • If students from another school attend a CEDoW school, the supervising adult from the visiting school must complete a single external visitor declaration form AND attach a list of every student who attended.

 

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. 

NAPLAN CANCELLED FOR 2020

NAPLAN exams will be cancelled this year.

HSC INFORMATION AND UPDATES

This year’s HSC is different due to COVID-19. Information is available on the NESA website to clearly answer parents’ questions about the HSC exams.

The health and wellbeing of HSC students is more important than any exam, which is why we are encouraging students to:

  • Stay connected
  • Take time out for rest or exercise
  • Ask for help.

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 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.