HOW WE ARE WORKING TO KEEP SAFE
This timing of the return to school is fully endorsed by Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton. He says that remote schooling and working from home has helped to flatten the curve of the pandemic and that available evidence largely indicates that transmission between children in the school environment is low. Low levels of community transmission in Victoria, and high rates of testing, mean, “the risk to staff and students returning to on-site schooling at this time is very low”.
It’s clear that the health authorities regard adult to adult transmission as more likely than child to child transmission or child to adult transmission. Most of the measures below relate to maintaining everyone’s personal hygiene. Many are designed to minimise adult to adult contact; while some are designed to prevent the mixing of large groups of students.
What follows are lists of things we are doing and asking in order to keep everyone safe.
- College Environment
- College Practices
- Requests of Families and Carers
- Requests of Students
The College Environment
- Keeping hygiene supplies available. Hand sanitiser will be provided in every classroom, in fact every occupied room in the school. We are also making sure soap and paper towels are well-stocked in bathrooms.
- Installing 15 touchless hand sanitiser dispensers per campus at appropriate places
- Making disinfectant wipes available at high touch points. Such as computer labs and photocopy rooms.
- Touchpoint cleaning will be carried out throughout the day. Extra cleaners have been employed to clean doorknobs and other surfaces that are frequently touched, including outdoor furniture.
- Installing social distancing markers at the canteen, library and school offices.
- Installing sneeze guards at counters.
- Active monitoring of crowding. We have asked Team Leaders to look out for areas where students congregate closely together so we can figure out strategies to mitigate this eg libraries.
- Opening more doors. In some places, there are external doors that are not frequently open. We plan to unlock these and possibly chock them open to encourage more free flow of traffic and air.
- Increasing ventilation. When weather permits, we will open windows as good ventilation reduces the chance of airborne transmission of the virus.
- Installing of paper towel dispensers. We are installing and stocking paper towel dispensers in bathrooms that did not previously have them.
- Checking of soap dispensers. We are checking that soap dispensers work and replacing any broken ones in bathrooms.
- Handwash signage. We are increasing existing handwashing signage in bathrooms and around the school.
- Entrance signage. Signs will be posted at every entrance to the school asking those with cold/respiratory symptoms not to enter – you may have seen similar signs at Doctors and Pharmacies.
- Signage in the toilets asking users to let us know when we are short on supplies.
- Locking away communal crockery and cutlery
- Removing or spacing out furniture in social staffrooms. To facilitate social distancing.
- Providing non-contact thermometers for sickbays. To assess fever in children who present at sickbay – DHHS has advises that broad scale temperature screening is not helpful.
- Making facemasks available for sickbays. For students with cold and respiratory symptoms.
- Setting up break out spaces for staff no avoid overcrowded offices.
- Distancing crosses at various places. Like you have seen in the supermarket, at reception, common staffrooms, the canteen, library.
- Purchasing extra microwaves and using urns. To reduce crowding queuing in staffrooms. Hand sanitiser will be in every staff room, please use it on entry.
- Shutting down drinking fountains. Keeping taps operational to allow refilling of bottles.
- Ensuring cleaning materials and extra kettles are available in Delahey student kitchen.
- Providing cleaning materials for staff.
- Conducting our business remotely. Meetings with parents will now occur by phone or outside where possible. Meetings between school staff will also happen with an online option. This minimises contact between adults who are the most likely to transmit the virus.
- If staff members are ill, with flu like symptoms, they are to stay home –
- Continuing to cancel excursions and interschool sport. Excursions and interschool sports will remain cancelled for the moment. This is according to advice from the Government as they want to avoid mixing between groups from different school communities so that if there is an outbreak it remains as contained as possible.
- Avoiding large gatherings and assemblies. We will not be conducting large gatherings and assemblies during the school day. Students will only be in close contact with the small group of students with whom they share classes.
- Asking any sick students to go to sickbay. Any student who appears ill during the day, with a cough, runny nose, sore throat or fever will be asked to attend sickbay where they will be asked to wear a mask and remain isolated until they are picked up by their family.
- Social distancing where practical. We will place social distancing markers in areas such as the canteen, library and front office to remind students and adults visiting the school to keep 1.5 metres apart.
- Separating students from different year groups. In order to make contact tracing simpler in the unlikely event of an outbreak, students will be asked to stay in their year group’s designated areas of the yard – as far as is practical.
- Highly vulnerable staff are working from home. DET has indicated that some staff will continue to teach online from home.
- Cleaners checking sanitation supplies throughout the day.
- Reviewing Evacuation Plans. To ensure they do not involve crowding people together.
- Teaching ares will develop plans for reducing contamination where there are shared tools/equipment such as Music, Art etc.
- Preparing a wet weather plan for yard duty to allow students indoor space without overcrowding.
Families and Carers
We would like to ask families and carers to:
- Not send your child to school if they have any cold or flu-like symptoms. Any students with cold/respiratory symptoms will be isolated, asked to wear a mask and families contacted to pick them up. Please ensure your contact details and those of your emergency contacts are up to date.
- Expect your child wash their hands before and after school. Students should wash their hands on leaving home to come to school and when they return home from school.
- Avoid coming onto school campus yourselves. Normally families and carers are very welcome to come into school for a range of reasons. However, adults are more likely to transmit coronavirus than children. Therefore, we are asking families and carers to avoid coming into the school office as you usually would. Please call the front office if you need to come in and remain socially distant when you arrive. Conferences with teachers or Team Leaders will now largely occur by phone or outdoors.
- Stay in your cars when picking up and dropping off your children.
- Respect the “Stay in your car please” notices posted on roadside signs.
- Reinforce hygiene messages (see below) with your children
- Check students are bringing their own laptop to and from school (prevents use of communal computers, gives teachers and students better access to digital resources and applications in class)
- Support the school’s mobile phone policy. Students with the COVIDSafe App should activate it on the way to and from school but the mobile phone ban is still in place during the school day.
- Make sure your children have all the classroom requisites like pens, headphones, calculators etc as we can no longer loan them out. If that presents a problem, please contact your child’s Campus.
- Call the Coronavirus hotline if you are unsure whether you or your children should be tested.
- Follow up on rumoured connections to clusters and ensure students who should be quarantined, are not attending school.
The College has developed a hygiene behaviour matrix. This will be introduced to all students via in class instruction and includes many of the expectations listed below.
Students are asked to:
- Do everything you can to protect yourself and others and respecting others’ wishes to keep their distance.
- Bring your own water bottle.
- Bring your own food from home or preorder from the canteen to reduce queues
- Pay by card at the canteen.
- Wash hands thoroughly and regularly.
- Use hand sanitiser on entry to every room.
- Respect social distancing where practicable, particularly distancing from adults.
- Sanitise shared equipment (e.g. tools) after use according to teachers’ instructions.
- Let us know if sanitation supplies are low or have run out.
- Keep things neat in the toilets that is, use paper towel without making a mess. Paper towel is considered more sanitary than electric hand dryers.
- Respect the inbounds area for your year group as much as possible.
- Respect the distancing markers in common areas.
- Use external doors to classrooms when applicable.
- Bring all the equipment you need to classes as we can no longer be providing pens etc on loan. Bring your headphones as well.
- Bring your charged laptop to every class. Teachers will continue to use many of the online applications they have been using during remote learning.
- Uphold the mobile phone ban by putting phones in lockers for the duration of the school day.
- Be honest with your families and teachers if you are feeling unwell with flu like symptoms.