With a number of schools in our Network impacted directly by positive COVID cases recently, I thought it worthwhile to help our community prepare for the possibility that we too, may be affected.
In conversation with many of my colleagues to help leverage their wisdom from recent experiences, I have tried here to detail the steps involved for our school if a positive case attends school.
I am assured that there is a very clear and detailed process that will take place and that ALL COMMUNICATIONS REGARDING SCHOOL CLOSURE, CONTACT TRACING, CLEANING AND RE-OPENING ARE PREPARED BY the Department of Health (DH) and Department of Education and Training (DET) AND FORWARDED TO THE PRINCIPAL
We will continue to use COMPASS as our main method of communication and respectfully ask that, all families regularly check the COMPASS App and be on lookout for COVID updates from us. We’ll email and send an SMS as well. DET communications can come at anytime and we will be wanting to get communications to you as soon as we can thereafter to help keep our community safe.
If we have a positive COVID case onsite at our school (or a close contact case) our first job is to make our DET Emergency Management team aware. They will require from me as much information as possible, including:
Name and Date of birth of confirmed case/s
- Name of school setting, other services onsite (Out of school care, Contractor, Technician)
- Date of symptom onset
- COVID Test date
- Date of confirmed positive result.
- Date last on school site (or OSHC program)
- Relationship to positive COVID contact
- Other family members/close contacts tested (or not), test date and date of positive or negative result
- Transport to and from School? Does the person travel on the school bus network to attend school or walk/driven?
It may then be the case that our school is directed to close for a 24-hour period as a precautionary measure while waiting for further advice from DH. If the school is to be closed to all students, staff and members of the community a directive to do so will come from DET to me. Once the email is received directing me to close the school , approved communications to staff and our school community will be sent through via COMPASS
The school will be closed to all students, staff and members of the community for 24 hours.
If DH confirms there is a positive case, subsequent closure may be required.
If DH confirms there is a positive case and instructs DET to close the school for contact tracing and cleaning, I will be contacted and if required, forward information to DH who may request ‘close contact’ details.
DH then contacts identified close contacts to discuss the appropriate next steps, including testing
DH complete contact tracing and notify senior DET representatives.
DET will then arrange for cleaning and a final inspection and handover (additional cleaning may be required at time of inspection) before we can confirm the school can be reopened
I will then forward communication to all staff and school community informing them of results of case investigation and school re-opening details.
I am sure that if we are impacted, it may cause stress and anxiety among our community. It may be that there are delays in communications going up and down the line, and that we will have periods of waiting without ‘knowing’ fully what the situation may be.
I know also that schools that have been shut recently have been supported by DET and DH and that they have survived.
Take care and stay safe