COVID-19 Return to School Term 2, 2020

Elwood College will be managing risk relating to Coronavirus (COVID-19) during key interactions between students, parents and staff during the return to school in Term 2, 2020. 

Elwood College is committed to providing a safe learning and working environment for our students and staff. We ask for the whole school community to follow these guidelines to enable us to provide the safest possible environment during this time. We all have a role to play in stopping the spread of COVID-19 in Victoria.

Elwood College is following the advice from the Department of Education and Training including, Health and safety advice for return to on site learning in the context of COVID-19  which can be found on the Department’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) website​        .​

 

REQUIREMENTS

 

Attendance on-site

The Department of Education and Training (DET) advises that:

Perhaps the most important action school communities can take to reduce the risk of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19), is to ensure that any unwell staff, children and young people remain at home. 

While the risk of transmission of the virus is very low, staff or students most at risk of severe illness should individually assess appropriateness for onsite attendance at this time with support from their medical practitioner.

As the main risk of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the school environment is between adults, it is important that visitors to school grounds are limited to those delivering or supporting essential school services and operations.

This means that at our school:

  • All unwell staff and students must​ stay home.​       
  • Parents/carers of students with complex medical needs (including those with compromised immune systems), should seek advice from the student’s medical practitioner to support decision-making about whether on-site education is suitable, noting that this advice may change depending on the status of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Victoria. This is in line with the DET Health Care Needs ​ policy.
  • Visitors to school grounds will be limited to those delivering or supporting essential school services and operations (e.g. student health and wellbeing services, specialist curriculum programs, maintenance workers).
  • Additional staff, including parent volunteers, are discouraged from attending school at this time.
  • We ask that parents/carers wishing to discuss any matters with a staff member to first use the options of either a phone call, video call or email. 
  • If a face-to face meeting is needed, it must meet the physical distancing requirements of 1.5m between adults.
  • All inter school activities that involve onsite attendance by students from other schools will either take place virtually or will be cancelled. (This does not include Year 11 and 12 students who must attend other schools for VCE and VET subjects.)
  • School assemblies, excursions, camps and other non-essential large gatherings will be postponed. 
  • Until the 9th of June 2020, Year 9 and 10 students studying a VCE subject should attend their classes on site at Elwood College, but return home after their class. Students will need to check in and out at the attendance office. If a Unit 1 subject is in period 2 or 3, students may use the private study area to participate in their remote learning during their Unit 1 class in the alternate period. The private study area will not be available to Year 10 students during periods 1 or 4. If the student is unable to attend the class until this date they will not be penalised in terms of attendance requirements but will be expected to complete all set coursework.

 

School arrival and departure

DET advises that:

As the main risk of introducing coronavirus (COVID-19) to the school environment is from adults, close proximity between adult members of the school community should be avoided, particularly during school drop-off and pick-up.

This means that at our school:

  • We ask staff and parents/carers to observe physical distancing measures by not congregating in areas inside or around the school.
  • To minimise interaction of students and adults within the school and at entry points we:

 

  • For pick-ups and drop-offs parents/guardians are requested to remain in their cars
  • Request that parents only enter the school grounds when essential to do so and to contact the school by phone or email where appropriate instead
  • Encourage non-contact greetings
  • Face-to-face meetings with parents may not always be an option

 

Hygiene

DET advises that:

Everyone can protect themselves and prevent the spread of coronavirus by continuing effective hand hygiene. 

At our school:

  • All staff and students will undertake regular hand hygiene, particularly on arrival to school, before and after eating, after blowing their nose, coughing, sneezing or using the toilet. This will be directed or supervised by staff where required.
  • Where soap and water are not readily available, hand sanitiser will be made available. 
  • Students must bring their own water bottles to school for use (and refilling). It is recommended that students do not drink directly from drinking fountains at this time. 
  • Staff and students are reminded to clean their mobile phones regularly. The Elwood College Mobile Phone Policy remains in place so students will not be handling their mobile phones during the school day.
  • Sharing of food is not permitted.
  • Chewing gum is prohibited and is a significant hygiene risk

 

Specific arrangements for teaching and learning environments and break times

DET advises that:

Maintaining a physical distance of 1.5 metres will not always be practical in education settings. Physical distancing is most important between adults.

Reducing mixing between different cohorts (either classes or year levels) is recommended as a precautionary measure to minimise risk of spread of transmission and aid containment in the rare event of a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) on site.

At our school we will be:

  • Separating different classes or year levels when outdoors
  • Keeping windows and doors open to promote fresh air flow indoors
  • Maximising use of outdoor learning areas or environments with enhanced ventilation where possible and as practical depending on weather conditions
  • Students and staff will largely remain in the same learning areas where possible 
  • Organising student traffic in corridors and locker bays (e.g. through directional signs)
  • Staff will maintain physical distancing as much as practical when working in a classroom together

 

School offices and staff facilities

DET advises that:

As the greatest risk of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the school environment is between adults, close proximity between staff will be avoided where possible and especially in offices and staff rooms.

At our school we will: 

  • Spread staff workstations out as much as possible and limit the number of staff in offices, relocating staff to other spaces 
  • In line with other workplaces across Victoria, we will remind staff to maintain physical distancing from each other as much as possible in the reception, staff room and offices.
  • Not move furniture in staff common rooms and staff rooms
  • Will limit phone use to key personnel. e.g. Sub School Directors

 

Cleaning and facilities management

DET advises that:

Environmental cleaning, coupled with regular hand hygiene, remains important to reduce the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission.

At our school we will:

  • Continue extension of routine environmental cleaning, including progressive cleaning throughout the day to ensure that risks of transmission are reduced for high-touch services. See ​ Department information about ​ Access to cleaning supplies and services.
  • Carefully consider the necessity of using shared items or equipment e.g.: shared computers, class sets of teaching and learning materials, musical instruments etc at this time. 
  • We will be practising hand hygiene immediately before and after use of shared equipment 

 

Sport and Recreation

DET advises that:

In line with community advice, reasonable precautions are still advised to reduce the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission in the context of sport and recreation.

  • Playground equipment can be used. However, students will be directed to practise hand hygiene before and after use. 
  • Wherever possible, outdoor facilities will be used for physical education and recreational play. Where indoor facilities are used, we will limit the number of students.
  • Swimming and aquatic facilities will not be used.
  • We will encourage non-contact sports at this time. Hand hygiene will be practised before and after use of any sporting equipment.

 

Provision of routine care and first aid

DET advises that:

Physical distancing is not practical when providing direct care. In this situation standard precautions, including hand hygiene, are important for infection control.

At our school:

  • Standard precautions as per DET Infectious Diseases polic​y ​ and Elwood College First Aid and Treatment of Ill Students Policy will be followed when providing first aid. 
  • Hand hygiene will be practised before and after performing routine care or first aid.
  • Additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), for example face masks, is not required to provide routine care or first aid for students who are well, unless such precautions are usually adopted in the routine care of an individual student.

 

Management of an unwell student or staff member

DET advises that:

It is important that any staff member or student who becomes unwell while at school returns home. While it is unlikely that a staff member or student who is unwell with flu-like symptoms will have coronavirus (COVID-19) there are some sensible steps schools can take while a student awaits collection by a parent or carer as a precaution.

This means that at our school:

  • Staff and students experiencing compatible symptoms with coronavirus (COVID-19), such as fever, cough or sore throat, will be isolated in an appropriate space with suitable supervision and collected by a parent/carer as soon as possible. Urgent medical attention will be sought where needed.  Unwell students will not be permitted to travel home unsupervised.
  • Where staff or students are experiencing compatible symptoms with coronavirus, we will ensure hand hygiene, physical distancing and (where possible) use of a face mask. See DET guidance for the use of Personal Protective Equipment in education.​
  • Health care plans, where relevant, should be updated to provide additional advice on monitoring and identification of the unwell child in the context of coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • If a staff member is unsure whether a student is unwell in the first instance we will contact the parent/carer to discuss any concerns about the health status of the student, and we will take a precautionary approach, requesting the parent/carer to collect their child if concerns remain. A trained staff member may take the temperature of the student, where appropriate, to support decision-making. Gloves will be worn for the purpose of taking a temperature.
  • Staff or students experiencing compatible symptoms with coronavirus (COVID-19) should be encouraged to seek the advice of their healthcare professional who can advise on next steps. A medical certificate is not required to return to school after a period of illness, however staff and students should not return until symptoms resolve.  
  • If a student spreads droplets (for example by sneezing, coughing or vomiting), surfaces will be immediately cleaned with disinfectant wipes (and using gloves).

 

Managing a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19

DET has comprehensive procedures in place with the Department of Health and Human Services to manage suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in schools.

  • We will contact the Department of Health and Human Services on 1300 651 160 to discuss what to do next if a student or staff member:
    • is a confirmed case
    • has been in close contact with a confirmed case
  • We will inform the Department by making an IRIS incident alert

DHHS defines ‘close contact’ as someone who has either:

  • had at least 15 minutes of face-to-face contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • shared a closed space for more than two hours with someone who is a confirmed case.

 

Further information and resources

 

  

Review 

This policy was last updated on the 18th of May 2020 and will​ be reviewed weekly until the end of Term 2