Return to School Plan Parent and student information

The Echuca College Return to School Plan supports all members of our college community to make an effective transition back to on-site schooling. The core elements of this approach for parents and students are:

  • staged return for students commencing Tuesday 26 May 2020

  • enhanced hygiene practice and cleaning on school sites

  • physical distancing, in particular for adults

  • return of all students for on-site schooling at government schools from Tuesday 9 June 2020

Staged return for students

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) has advised that a ‘venue density rule’ of no more than one person per four square metres is not appropriate or practical in classrooms or corridors, nor maintaining 1.5 metres between students during classroom activities. Therefore, the previously established ratio of 10 students per class is no longer required in schools.

The staged return for Echuca College will be as follows:

  • VCE and VCAL Year 11 and 12 students (and Year 10 students undertaking VCE studies for VCE classes where practicable) on-site from Tuesday 26 May 2020

  • Students in Year 7 to Year 10 continue remote and flexible learning program until 5 June 2020

  • Students in Year 7 to Year 10 being supervised on-site will continue their remote and flexible learning program (students not able to be supervised at home and for whom no other arrangements can be made)

1. Year 10 ‘Fast Tracker’ students will attend their double VCE classes only and will be given Study Leave for their singles. In the case where they must remain at the college for the day before or after their VCE class (eg – bus traveller) they will attend their regular timetabled Year 10 classes so they can be supervised by their classroom teacher. Allowances will be made by teaching staff for students who are late to their class due to travelling to and from the college during the day, while there is a mix of on-site and remote delivery taking place. No new content will be introduced during single VCE classes so Year 10 ‘Fast Trackers’ are not disadvantaged.

2. Students in Years 7-10 who cannot work from home will follow their regular on-site timetable and be supervised by their classroom teachers while they undertake remote and flexible learning for the period from Tuesday 26 May – Friday 5 June as needed.

Please note – any parents wishing to send students who are in Years 7-9 will need to follow the normal notification process until Monday 9 June. It is very important we get an accurate picture of who is on-site each day. It will be assumed Year 10 students are attending their double lessons unless otherwise notified.

All students in the year levels returning to on-site schooling are expected to attend school.

We will not be in a position to provide remote learning where parents elect to keep students at home who are otherwise expected at school, except where this is based on medical advice.

Friday 22 May will be a report writing day. Students will be provided work to complete but will teachers will not be available on Microsoft Teams as they usually would be.

Monday 25 May 2020 will be a pupil-free day. All classes on Monday 25 May will be cancelled and no work will be set by teachers for students to complete.

Additional On-Site Visitors

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). School assemblies, excursions, camps and other non-essential large gatherings will be postponed or adapted considering use of technology until further notice.

Start and End of Day Arrangements

The main risk of introducing coronavirus (COVID-19) to the school environment is from adults. Close proximity between adult members of the school community will be avoided, particularly at the start and end of the day.

 Parents are requested to observe physical distancing measures by not congregating in areas inside or around the school.

 Parents will not be able to enter the school grounds unless it is essential to do so. Contacting the school by phone or email is encouraged as an alternative.

 If parents do attend on-site, we will be using non-contact greetings.

Echuca College will not be conducting wide-scale temperature checking of students as there is limited evidence to demonstrate the value of such checks.

While Echuca College will not be staggering the start and end of day arrangements, we will be putting in place other measures to ensure the safety of the college community, including:

 opening as many entry and exit points to the school as is safe,

 Allocating additional staff to ensure students are safely supervised and students and parents feel confident with the arrival/departure from school

 displaying signage to remind staff, students and families of the need for changed behaviours.

The decision not to stagger the start and end of the day will be reviewed prior to June 9.

Food and Drink

The college canteen will not be open for the first fortnight of on-site learning. Once the canteen does open on June 9 it will initially only be open at recess. Lunch orders can be submitted prior to school and at recess. The kitchen in the Senior Learning Area will also be closed. Students will need to bring their own food and need to know refrigeration or heating is unavailable. Appropriate

physical distancing measures will be put in place for queues once the canteen is open again.

Breakfast Club will be postponed until further notice.

All bubble taps at the college will remain turned off. Students will need to bring their own water bottle for use at school. There are facilities in each House to refill water bottles throughout the day.

Mobile Phone Policy

Echuca College’s Mobile Device Policy remains in place. Students who have the COVID SAFE app may activate this immediately before and after school. Echuca College is a managed environment which include records of student, staff and visitor attendance, which can support contact tracing if necessary

The Teaching and Learning Environment

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

Our approach is to reduce mixing between different cohorts (either classes or year levels) as a precautionary measure.

Staff will be dismissing students in groups of 5 at the end of each lesson to minimise the close contact of students at this time. Support from students to implement this measure will be important.

To reduce the mixing between students there will be clearly marked entry and exit point for each building.

Practical Classes

Classes in practical spaces, such as PE, Technology, Science and Foods subjects, can continue with enhanced cleaning and hand hygiene practices. Students will be reminded to wash hands regularly,including at the beginning and end of each class.

Equipment can be loaned from the Gymnasium in line with normal practices at lunchtime however enhanced cleaning of equipment and hand hygiene must take place. Students will be asked to sanitise their hands before and after use and equipment will need be wiped down after use.

Cleaning Arrangements

Extended and increased cleaning arrangements have been introduced and will continue. An increase in the frequency of the regular cleaning beyond what is normally required, using detergent/disinfectant to wipe high touch areas such as doors (door handles, handrails and guardrails) Extended cleaning involves progressive cleaning throughout the day, with a focus on high-touch surfaces,

Student Access to Devices

For students who are continuing to learn from home and do not have access to digital technologies, Echuca College will continue to loan existing devices and support internet access to students where possible.

As students return to learning on-site, they will need to bring their device each day. Students will continue to be allowed to take loaned devices home each day to support out of school learning. The devices will remain the property of Echuca College. These arrangements will apply until further notice.

School Transport

The Student Transport Program, will continue operation with enhanced cleaning and physical distancing from adults (driver and other attendants) where practical. Usual timetables will apply.

Students will be instructed to practise hand hygiene before and after catching school transport (i.e. prior to leaving home and at the end of the school day). At the Echuca College bus interchange, students will be expected to practise appropriate physical distancing as they line up for buses at the end of the day.

Hygiene – General Advice

Everyone at Echuca College can protect themselves and prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID19) by continuing effective hand hygiene.

All students should undertake regular hand hygiene, particularly on arrival to school, before and after eating, after blowing their nose, coughing, sneezing or using the toilet.

Where soap and water are not readily available, hand sanitiser will be provided in every occupied


Provision of First Aid

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

Additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), for example face masks, is not required to provide first aid for students who are well.

Management of an Unwell Student

Under current circumstances, a student who becomes unwell while at school, will be sent home.

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 aparent/carer as soon as possible. It is not suitable for an unwell student to travel home unsupervised.

Where students are experiencing compatible symptoms with coronavirus (COVID-19), staff who are responsible for their care will follow appropriate measures including hand hygiene, physical distance and putting on an appropriate face shield or mask.

Parents are asked to consider any of their children who have a current health care plan and how these might need to be altered in the context of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Families of students experiencing compatible symptoms with coronavirus (COVID-19) are encouraged to seek the advice of their healthcare professional who can advise on next steps. A medical certificate, clearing the student of illness, is not required to return to an education setting after a period of illness, however students should not return until symptoms resolve.

Managing a Suspected or Confirmed Case of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The college has an appropriate plan in place for the management of a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case, which is in line with DET policy.