Dear parents and carers,
I thought it might be useful to use today’s update as a response to some of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) we have been receiving recently. Much of this information is in my previous update as well, which was sent last Wednesday. I have also attached to tonight’s email our updated School Wide Positive Behaviour Support matrix,which includes the expected behaviour we have of students during the COVID-19 situation. Teachers use this matrix in class and it is also displayed prominently across the college. I encourage you to have conversations with your child or children regularly about how they are meeting these expected behaviours.
Why is the return to school being staggered?
It is important that the Victorian Chief Health Officer has time to monitor and evaluate the effects that the return to school by other year levels has on the increased movement of people and
transmission within the community. The staged return to on-site schooling is consistent with the recommendations of the Victorian Chief Health Officer, for schools to put in place arrangements that enable physical distancing between adults in school and immediately outside the school, including in teaching and learning environments and staff facilities, as well as at times such as school drop-offs and pick-ups.
Will on-site supervision for children who need it continue?
Children who cannot learn from home in years 7-10 can continue to attend school on-site as needed during this period. The usual notification process applies for the next fortnight
I am not comfortable with sending my child back to school at this time. Can I choose to keep my
child at home?
Yes – this is your choice, however, once each year level returns to on-site schooling, schools will no longer offer a remote learning program for those students. If parents choose to keep their child at home, they will be responsible for maintaining student learning. An absence – “parent choice” will be recorded. This does not apply to children who need to be absent for health or medical reasons, such as children with a compromised immune system. For those families, we will establish a plan to meet their circumstances.
What will happen if staff or students begin to show coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms once they
return to school?
If a member of staff or a student begins experiencing symptoms compatible with coronavirus (COVID-19) (e.g. fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath) or any other illness, they will be
asked to return home and seek medical advice. Children will be isolated in an appropriate space with suitable supervision and collected by a parent/carer as soon as possible.
What happens if a staff, student or family member is diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19)?
The Department has comprehensive procedures in place with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to manage suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in schools.
What will happen to our school if impacted by COVID-19?
If Echuca College is directly impacted by a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19), the Department will work with DHHS to confirm necessary actions for the school. This may include a
temporary closure of the college while an investigation and contact tracing takes place. DHHS may recommend a deep clean of the school. All surfaces, furniture and equipment will be disinfected
with hospital-grade disinfectant as part of the deep clean. The college will be made operational as soon as possible.
Will my student be safe travelling on the school bus service?
School buses and public transport are essential services and are available for students who need to travel. There will be increased cleaning and sanitisation of buses to reduce the risks of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).
I have loaned a device from the school. When does this have to be returned?
As students return to learning on-site, loaned devices should be brought to school. Students will continue to use that device at school. It is important families understand that devices remain the
school’s property and that devices support the school’s learning and teaching program. Will my child still go on camp or attend other excursions? Activities such as camps, excursions and incursions will not be conducted until further advice is provided by the Department.
Who can visit the school?
Visitors to school grounds are limited to those delivering or supporting essential school services and operations, such as school staff, student health and wellbeing service providers, pre-service teachers undertaking placements, external support services, Department staff cleaners and essential facilities and maintenance staff. Contractors undertaking capital and other maintenance related works will also continue to attend. Additional visitors, including parents, are discouraged from coming on-site at this time unless invited or the visit is absolutely necessary. School visits will resume to normal when restrictions within Victoria are lifted.
Hopefully the information above provides further clarity for you at this difficult time. There is a lot of information to take in, I encourage you to contact the college if you have any questions.
My next update will be on Wednesday 27 May unless there is something urgent I need to communicate prior to that.
As always, stay safe and take care of yourselves and each other.
Acting Principal – Echuca College