Information on the coronavirus outbreak


Dear Edithvale Families

Following advice from the Victorian Government on Tuesday 7 April, Edithvale Primary School will be moving to remote and flexible learning from the first Day of Term 2, Wednesday April 15

This is a step all Victorian government schools are taking to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). This means that all students who can learn at home must learn from home. This is a very clear directive from the Victorian Government based on the advice of the Chief Health Officer.

We will continue to offer limited on-site learning for those students who need to access this, including for students on days when they are not able to be supervised at home and no other arrangements can be made. We will provide further information about this shortly.

The Department’s latest advice on coronavirus can be found at

It is important that we work together and support each other during this challenging time. We will be in touch with staff and parents and carers shortly with further details of what remote and flexible learning will look like at our school.

In the meantime, you might find it useful to look at the Department’s Learning from Home website. It provides resources and guidance for teachers and parents and carers.

James Whitla



Dear Edithvale Families

I hope that this finds you safe and healthy and that the developments over the last few weeks have not impacted upon you too greatly. As Term 2 approaches I am hoping that the following information can assist in preparing for any remote learning that we may have to undertake in the coming weeks.
I wish to also acknowledge that the social isolation we are all experiencing has delivered unwanted anxiousness and created different contexts that we are all experiencing right now. Now, more than ever, our parents are essential partners in the learning and experiences we aim to provide our children.

For many, the next few weeks and months could be the toughest thing you may ever have to do- work from home AND support your child’s learning. Some of us will feel pessimistic and distressed. Some, maybe hopeful and positive. I am very confident that our Edithvale community spirit and character will get us through the darkest times. All of our journeys will be different and all of us will have challenges to overcome.

As we enter unchartered waters together, we want to assure you that we are doing all that we can to prepare ourselves to ensure the remote learning addresses these 4 important focus areas.

Connection   Communication  Care  Curriculum Content

Our hope is that all members of our Edithvale primary school community can continue to feel connected with each other throughout the remote learning period. Hence a large focus of our ‘school day’ will be on keeping students and teachers connected. When schools, and life, gets back to ‘normal’ the most connected students, families and teachers will be the ones most ready to continue their learning back at school without missing a beat.

A key to this connection will be the various methods of communication to our students and families that we will employ. These may take the form of email, phone calls, conferencing, SEESAW messages to name a few. We’ll be seeking feedback from every family so that we can understand your individual situation and support you and your child in the remote learning space. Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” —John C. Maxwell. Our staff care deeply for each of our students and will have a strong focus on their health and wellbeing.

The curriculum content included in the remote learning will evolve. It will look and feel different to traditional learning. It will take longer to complete online than in a classroom. The learning will be flexible and offer choice for students. Our school may not look the same as other schools in our neighbouring suburbs as we explore the options that remote learning offers but it will provide engaging and relevant learning opportunities.

The attached document details some of the remote learning tips and expectations we have and outlines a number of key aspects of this new frontier.

I will continue to provide further updates and details as we approach the start of Term 2- Wednesday April 15- and as information is provided to me through the Department of Education. Please stay safe and healthy

James Whitla

VolunteerLetter2019  Online Learning Handbook Student Edition (218 KB) – 07-Apr-2020


Dear Edithvale Families

We are part of a strong and special community. We are here to support you and your family to navigate through these unchartered waters.

Yesterday I am very proud to say that we had every single staff member volunteer their time to attend school so that we can take greater steps in our quest to deliver flexible and remote learning options for our students. We are striving to give all of our students’ opportunities to become more skilful and knowledgeable, albeit through a very different methodology.

We are expecting to be working remotely for an extended period of time after the school holidays and we are trying to prepare our community for this reality.

Our plan continues to evolve and is agile enough to adapt to the ever changing educational landscape that we find ourselves in. The key to plan is connectedness and the more our students connect with the learning and the digital platform, the greater the success we are all more likely to have. The more that our families can connect with us and connect with students’ learning, the greater educational continuity we can achieve together.

Our stage one plan has already been released and Learning Grids at each Year Level remain accessible on our school’s website-

To help transition to the inevitable flexible and remote learning environment, we will be using SEESAW as our digital platform. Our Leadership team arrived at this decision through discussions and visits to other Network schools and we have taken into consideration the feedback and data that we collected through last week’s ‘Family Digital Survey’. We believe that SEESAW is the most accessible platform, as the minimum requirement is having a Smart phone with Internet Capabilities.

Without a 1:1 iPad or BYOD program in place at school, students will need to access SEESAW through devices available at home and with parental assistance and guidance in many cases. We understand that these will not always be available and our staff have the ability to work with flexibility to try and adapt to the schedules of our families.

The complexities of education ensure that this will not necessarily be perfect, and our students and staff will be relying on parent support and help to embed this learning style. SEESAW is the most intuitive and simplest platform that we feel ALL of our students from Foundation to Year 6 can access and stay connected with our staff. It is the platform we believe gets us as close as possible to providing educational equity and consistency as possible.

Please check for an email from COMPASS later today and an attachment contained within that email that has ALL passwords and log in details for the ‘online’ learning we will be providing in the coming weeks and months.

We will continue to invest time, effort and energy into building our capacity to deliver engaging learning opportunities for our students over the next few days. Please consider the information provided in the attachment to help prepare for the start of Term 2 and the remote learning that will be required. There are NO learning tasks available at the moment.

As students and families log in to SEESAW next term they will start to see how the learning looks and who knows, there may even be a welcome message posted by their teachers already J

We will provide the information and support necessary to help our families and students access this new learning and we will be sure to provide further information about our Stage 2 roll out when the time comes.

Please contact our school if you are unable to connect to SEESAW and we can make other arrangements to provide learning opportunities for your child – noting the DET expectations and Government advice around movement and contact.

The wellbeing of our students, families and staff remains of paramount importance and we urge you to contact the school email- if you have any wellbeing concerns for your child.

“People do not decide to become extraordinary. They decide to accomplish extraordinary things.” — Edmund Hillary

James Whitla

VolunteerLetter2019  Information about EPS Home Learning with SEESAW (121 KB) – 25-Mar-2020


Dear Families

We have just received some clarity and answers to a number of questions involving all schools and as a matter of urgency we are forwarding this to you now. Your patience and support for our students and each other through this challenging time has been greatly appreciated. Sincere Thanks.

Yesterday the Victorian Government, with the support of the Chief Health Officer, announced the bringing forward of school holidays in Victoria, commencing from Tuesday 24 March.

Care and supervision

During this week, we will continue to provide care and supervision programs for all students who are the children (or under the care) of essential services workers and those in Out of Home Care (OOHC). Examples of essential services include health, police, corrections and emergency services workers.
There will be a skeleton staff, including support staff, at school who will be in attendance throughout the rest of this week to supervise and support these identified students, during normal school hours.

If you are a parent or carer of a student that will require holiday program places for their children over the Term 1 holidays due to the State of Emergency, please make contact with us at school. The Department will then work with us and OSHC providers to determine the level of provision of holiday programs that can be provided over these coming holidays.

There is no obligation for students who are children of essential workers or OOHC students to attend school this week.

For all other students, TeamKids will be offering Full Day Care to our families for the remainder of the week and, at this stage, their regular Holiday Care programs. More information will be provided by TeamKids through their communication channels.

Start Term 2

Students return: Wednesday 15 April

The Victorian Chief Health Officer (CHO) will advise on whether the transition to flexible and remote learning and support should commence on the first student day of Term 2 (Wednesday 15 April) closer to that date. Whatever the outcome of this decision is, we will be ready!

Information about how we are preparing for remote learning will be distributed in the next day or two, and with your help, we can ensure that our students have access to continuous and suitably challenging learning opportunities at home.

I wish all of our families and our students all the very best of health and hope and trust that we will see you all again soon.

Kind Regards,
James Whitla


Dear Families

I appreciate these messages and updates that we continue to send may be time consuming and I apologise if there are too many. I can assure you that they are written with the best of intentions and I hope they keep you informed and help somewhat to manage any anxieties associated with this insidious virus.

At the time of writing it is apparent that schools throughout the State will be closed from Tuesday March 24 and school holidays for students will begin tomorrow at 3:30pm. What this means for our school and staff is uncertain. School will be open as normal on Monday and as more details come to light, I will get these to you- possibly even later this evening.

For those of our families who are already practising social isolation and as part of our commitment to providing remote learning opportunities, our Home Learning GRIDS are now available.

Please head to our School’s website and look in the Home Learning section for some remote learning tasks that your child might attempt.

These GRIDS have varying degrees of complexity and we encourage students to attempt as many of the tasks as possible. Students will be able to access tasks from ALL Year levels- with the hope that they can find their ideal ‘learning zone. Completing these tasks is optional.

The learning will not necessarily be assessed ,nor have feedback provided, rather it is designed to ensure both educational equity and learning continuity can be maintained at the start of this week. The tasks aim to offer some student choice as well as offering suitable challenge.

As well as the learning created by our teaching staff, there are other opportunities to explore the curriculum at the Department of education and Training FUSE website.

As remote learning becomes increasingly inevitable, the DET have offered some advice, tips and resources to help parents and carers support their child’s continuity of learning from home that is contained in the link below

The remote learning we are able to provide right now will no doubt evolve over time- as will the way that this is taught. It will be imperfect and there will be many successes and a few misses along the way.

The wellbeing of our students remains paramount and we are trying to ensure that we have the balance between academic learning and mental health just right. These are certainly uncertain times and we are keen to support our students and families in any way that we can. Please contact the school if we can be of assistance.

Best wishes for the immediate future holds for you and your families. Please keep healthy and stay strong. Together we will see this through.

As the Japanese proverb says “Fall down seven times. Get up Eight”

Kind Regards,
James Whitla


Good evening one and all

I apologise for the lateness of this message but I wanted our community to be among the first in the State to know about a few decisions made today by the Department of Education that will impact on our school in the next few weeks and months.

Additional Pupil Free Days

The Minister for Education today approved an additional two pupil-free days. The first will be on the last day of this term – Friday next week (March 27)– and the second will be on the first day of Term 2 (Tuesday April 14) after the coming school holidays.

We have been working hard to prepare for the possibility that we will need to move at some stage to more flexible learning arrangements, including remote learning. These days will help to provide an important opportunity for us to consolidate our preparations for remote learning- keeping in mind the necessity to ensure educational equity. While our school and teachers are well prepared to commence remote learning, it won’t always be perfect, and we will continue to learn as we go.


On the recommendation of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), the National Cabinet also determined that early childhood settings, schools and higher education institutions remain exempt from the social distancing requirements. Based on this advice, schools will continue to be open next week.

We will continue to encourage our staff and students to practise the new social-distancing measures- where these are practical in our setting.

We will continue to follow the recommendations of the Victorian Chief Health Officer, and if the advice changes, we will be sure to let you know as soon as possible.


From the DET email this evening “If parents choose to keep their children at home, the onus will be on parents in the first instance to support the learning of their children. However, where teachers have capacity, they can support these children.”

Edithvale Primary staff often go above and beyond in their daily work and we are committed to providing some home learning tasks for our students, although these will be limited. The FUSE website which contains useful resources for students and parents, is available to use at home to help complement the learning set by our staff.


And finally…. Education Ministers met this morning to discuss the evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and the implications for schools. They have today decided that NAPLAN testing will not proceed for 2020.

I want to thank you again for your understanding of the situation we find ourselves in and continue to appreciate and value your support of our school and all of our members in very challenging circumstances.

Enjoy your weekend

Kind Regards,
James Whitla


Dear Edithvale Primary School Community
Victorian schools remain open, in line with the latest advice from Australia’s Chief Medical Officer and Victoria’s Chief Health Officer. Further information regarding school assemblies and events can be found on the Department’s website.

The decision for schools to remain open is based on the best medical and health advice.

As you would know, additional measures to respond to coronavirus (COVID-19) were announced yesterday morning, including further restrictions on public gatherings. Consequently we will NOT be holding our regular Friday assemblies until further notice.

Learning from Home website
The Department is in the process of developing a new Learning from Home website, which will be provided to all schools to assist in transitioning to Remote Learning

It also provides information about the range of online platforms and applications that are available to schools and G-Suite is most likely the platform that Edithvale Primary will opt for. This is NOT locked in stone and we understand that there could be a myriad of issues in changing the way we teach and learn that may cause disruption. We will work through these issues as they arise.

Attached is some important information on how our initial response to remote learning might look. Once again I’d like to thank you for your understanding and ogoing supoort at this time and I hope that you and your families stay healthy in the coming days, weeks and months.

VolunteerLetter2019  Letter explaining student work from home (376 KB) – 19-Mar-2020

James Whitla


Dear Edithvale Primary School families

I write to provide a further update on the coronavirus disease

The advice of the Chief Health Officer remains at present that our schools should stay open, except in the case of a confirmed case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). As you may have heard, Toorak Primary School will be closed for 24 hours from today as a staff member there has tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Until we hear otherwise our school will remain open.

In an effort to provide support and guidance for our students and parents, we have sought advice from our CASEA support staff who are working closely with our school this semester. The team have provided us with a short video from Emerging Minds to talk with children about natural disasters, traumatic events, or worries about the future. This video introduces ways for parents and carers to manage media coverage of traumatic events, and talk to their children about their worries and fears.

The declaration by the Victorian Government of a State of Emergency means that the state now has the power to do the following, among other measures: enforce a mandatory self-quarantine period for returning travellers enforce a ban on non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people. we will therefore NOT be holding any whole school assemblies while this ban is in effect

The mandatory self-quarantine period of 14 days for travellers returning from overseas does have implications for students. In brief, students who travel overseas will not be able to attend school for 14 days when they return.

Visitors are still very welcome to come into schools, unless they are speaking to an audience of over 500 people, in which case the guidelines for mass gatherings should be followed.

If you make the decision to keep their children at home, we will be recording these on COMPASS as ‘Parent Choice- School Approved’ and include the word ‘COVID-19’ in the absence comments.

Again, the advice of the Chief Health Officer remains at present that our schools should stay open, except in the case of a confirmed case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

James Whitla


This morning our Premier declared a state of emergency for Victoria.

What this means for our school is unclear at this stage. The attached statement from the Victorian Chief Health Officer regarding the importance of our schools remaining open for now, provides some information and insight into current thinking.

VolunteerLetter2019  DHHS – the importance of our schools remaining open (118 KB) – 16-Mar-2020

We will continue to support our students and families during these uncertain times. On Friday we installed hand washing stations in every classroom, displayed posters on ‘how to reduce the risk of coronavirus’ and ‘how to stay germ free’ tips in each classroom. Today we have rostered support staff on to monitor/support/guide our students on the appropriate and safe use of soap and paper towels after toileting.

We continue to educate our students in safe hygiene behaviours on a daily basis as well.

As further details and advice comes to light, we will be sure to pass these on and keep our community informed and connected.

James Whitla


Dear Edithvale Primary School Families,

I understand that there is considerable anxiety and concern surrounding the increase in the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus across the world and I wish to assure you that we continue to follow the daily updates and advice being given to us from the Department of Education and Training.

Unless we are informed otherwise, our school will be operating classes as normal on Monday- except to add that some staff will be given time throughout the day to develop lesson plans that can be undertaken in the home environment- should the seemingly inevitable closure of schools eventuate. Closures will only be made on the recommendation Victoria’s Chief Health Officer. Once this occurs, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will inform the Department of Education and Training, and they will then work with us to implement the closure.

The most recent updates from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) can be found at and the attached poster provides some tips and advice on how to reduce our risk of contracting COVID-19.

James Whitla


Dear Edithvale Primary School Families,

I write to keep you informed of the potential impact that novel coronavirus (COVID-19) may have on our school in the coming weeks and months and to assure you that we are working tirelessly to ensure we are prepared for what might come next. We are a great community. We are a strong community- and together we will overcome any challenges that lie ahead of us.

As you may be aware, recently, the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic reflecting widespread increasing transmission of the virus globally.

We wish to assure all members of our community that we continue to follow the advice of the Department of Education and Training (DET)- who continue to work closely with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)- to plan for and respond to any impact COVID-19 may have on our school.

You may be aware of some schools closing for a week in response to confirmed COVID-19 cases. These actions are taken on the recommendation of DHHS to allow time for contact tracing and with the health and safety of all students and staff in the school community front of mind.

If we are told to close our school for a period of time, DHHS will work with us and the DET, and our staff and students will be advised to stay home and self-isolate for 24 hours. This closure will support our school leaders and health officials to work through a contact and containment strategy, including decisions about extending the closure period.

If a school closure is imminent, there will be an immediate response from us that helps inform our community on next steps in a variety of ways- COMPASS, email, purple pockets etc- and ensure that all necessary and relevant information is circulated broadly, and in a timely manner.

If the closure of our school occurs, it will be essential that learning continuity is maintained for our students.

Our staff are working tirelessly through a range of options to support learning continuity for our students by providing suitable learning opportunities that can be completed away from the school setting. These include but are not limited to:

  • MangaHigh and Sunshine Online which our school subscribes to,
  • A soon to be released DET online website, Learning from Home, that will be available in the event of a government school closure.
  • Pre-prepared worksheets or workbooks that can be provided to students in hardcopy.

For the latest advice and information, including FAQs, please follow the links included here

As further COVID-19 updates and details become available to us, we will be certain to circulate these and keep everyone connected with our school informed

James Whitla

Update to travel restrictions to manage coronavirus:

This week we received communication from the Department of Educatoin and Training which reads as follows:

The Commonwealth Government has updated travel restrictions this week.

The extension to existing travel restrictions now applies to visitors from Republic of Korea, Iran and mainland China. Visitors who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents, or their dependants, will not be allowed entry into Australia.

The Commonwealth Government has also advised that visitors from Italy will also be subject to enhanced health screening and temperature testing arrangements. Some of our students and families may be affected by the travel advice, and we encourage you to support each other.

Everyone can protect against infections by practising good hand and respiratory hygiene.

Here are some tips that we all can follow:

    1. Cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing with a tissue, or cough into your elbow.
  1. Dispose of the tissue into a bin and then wash your hands afterwards.
  2. Wash your hands regularly using soap and water, including after using the toilet, and before eating.

Pleae refer to the Department’s coronavirus web page for the latest advice and information.
If you have any concerns or require further information, please contact the Department of Health and Human Services directly on the DHHS hotline 1300 651 160.