Return of Face to Face Teaching

07-Oct-2020

Dear Families

I would like to sincerely thank the entire School Community for your ongoing support throughout this period of remote and flexible learning. Thank you once again for your outstanding work. Your commitment to enhancing our students’ wellbeing and educational outcomes has been incredible and helped ensure that although this year has been disrupted- it has not been a lost year.

The events of 2020 have had a significant impact on our students, families, staff and broader community and Term 4 will be a critical time for us all as we transition back to a more familiar setting and routines.

We are ready for the challenges that a staggered return to face to face teaching brings and are ready for the potential of further disruptions. We are excited about seeing our students back on-site and working with them to make the remainder of the school year successful.

A key to being successful will be getting the timing and balance right between rushing to make up for lost time and moving too slowly. SCUBA divers returning to the surface after a deep ocean dive progress slowly and steadily and regularly monitor their breathing and the surrounding conditions. To avoid suffering from the long term effects of ascending too quickly divers stop and equalise just below the surface for some time. By doing this they are able to
stay in control of their final ascent to the surface and remain safe.<

Similarly we must ensure our students are given the time they need to return to ‘normal’ school. We will slowly and steadily build students’ stamina to learn, help them to reconnect with their peers and monitor their mental and physical health and wellbeing.

Our school will look and feel similar to what it was like in the second half of Term 2 and with the main risk of introducing coronavirus (COVID-19) to the school environment coming from adults, close proximity between adult members of the school community must be avoided. Parents are respectfully requested to again NOT ENTER our school grounds. This will assist us to create the conditions for a safe return to school.

The strategies we will put in place are designed to support physical distancing and good hygiene practices to reduce the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission within the practical limitations of a school environment. They will not necessarily suit every individual in our community and they may create some short term pain- but the end result will be worth it.

The following DET priorities for students and staff will guide school operations in Term 4.

Priority 1 – Mental health and wellbeing

Our highest priority is the mental health, safety and wellbeing of every student and member of staff and all available resources will be effectively mobilised to ensure support is directed where it is needed most.

This means encouraging and sustaining motivation for learning and supporting the development of personal and social capabilities of students as part of the curriculum.

Priority 2 – Learning

Some students have been able to more quickly progress in their learning in the remote and flexible learning environment, others have maintained their rate of progress, and some have, despite their best efforts and those of their families and teachers, fallen behind.

Our priority will be to ensure those who have fallen behind can catch up and those who have progressed significantly can continue to be extended and stretched in their learning.

Literacy and numeracy across the curriculum remains a focus, and we will continue to adapt our teaching and learning programs in Term 4 to be responsive to the needs of our students.

Priority 3 – Transitions

Term 4 is a critical period, particularly for the children moving from kindergarten into Foundation, from Grade 6 into Year 7, and those moving between Year levels within our school.

In week 10 of this term we will be expanding our Transition sessions and run these over the whole week to help prepare students for 2021. Students will be supported to adapt to a change of teachers and new classmates. A key focus of Term 4 will be to make every effort to ensure each of these end-of-year and beginning-of-year transitions occurs as successfully as possible.

Managing safe school arrival and departure including multiple entries and staggered starts 

To ensure consistency with physical distancing measures, students and families will not be permitted to congregate at the school gate before or after school and will be required to maintain 1.5 metres between each other as far as is practicable at the start and end of the school day.

Entrance to school grounds

We request that students of the following Year Levels enter through their designated gate: By opening as many entry and exit points to the school as is safe, and allocating staff to ensure students are safely supervised, we are hoping that students and parents feel safe and confident with their arrival/departure from school – and at the same time helping with physical distancing measures.

  • Years 3, 5/6 students please enter and depart through the gates located on French Avenue.
  • Foundation students please enter and depart through the gate located on Edithvale Road closest to French
    Avenue.
  • Year 1 students please enter and depart through the gate located at Haig Avenue.
  • Year 2 and 4 students please enter and depart through the gates located at on Edithvale Road nearest the Hall and closest to Munro Avenue.
  • In order to reduce adult to adult contact, all parents are respectfully requested to NOT ENTER the school grounds
  • Parents can only enter the school grounds in exceptional circumstances and after contacting the school by phone or email as required to organise. An example might be an early pick up for a doctor’s appointment
  • Families will need to plan for and adapt to altered arrangements to arrive and depart at times specified.*Note – Siblings should arrive and leave together at the same time. If students need to wait for their sibling they will be safely supervised while on our school site Teachers will help and support children to settle into their classrooms and routines each day
Staggered start and finish times:
  •  We will have a staggered start and end to each day – organised by year levels (F-2 and 3-6), while also enabling siblings to arrive/leave together at the same time and be safely supervised while on the school site (noting there may be some impact on total instructional time)
  • For families with more than one child attending school at different staggered start and finish times, we encourage siblings to arrive together as close to 8:45am as possible and leave together as close to 3:30pm as practical
  • Lunch and Recess times will be staggered to reduce mixing of grade levels where possible and reducing possible congestion in our staff rooms
  • Years 3 – 6 will commence and finish 15 minutes earlier, starting at 8:45am and finishing at 3:15pm. This will come in to effect from 12 October. Recess will run from 11:15 am-12:00 pm and lunch from 1:40-2:40 pm.
    Year 3-6 students will be dismissed at 3:10pm
  • Foundation to Year 2 times will stay as normal, starting at 9:00am and there are staggered finish times (see below). Recess will remain between 10:40 am-11:10 am with Lunch between 12:50pm- 1:50pm.
  • Foundation students will finish at 3:20 pm
  • Year 1A and C students will finish at 3:20 pm
  • Year 1 B and D students will finish at 3:30 pm
  • Year 2 students will finish at 3:30 pm
Attendance on-site
  • All unwell students must stay home.
  • Visitors to school grounds will be limited to those delivering or supporting essential school services and operations.
  • Additional staff, including parent volunteers, can NOT attend school at this time. Activities dependent on and involving parents (e.g. 1:1 reading) have been cancelled.
  • Activities that involve on-site attendance by students from different educational institutions (e.g. interschool sport) will not take place
  • School assemblies, excursions, camps and other non-essential large gatherings have been postponed
  • Students should bring their own water bottle for use at school as students should not drink directly from drinking fountains at this time. Taps may be used to refill water bottles.
  • Students are not to engage in contact activities or activities where contact is likely.
  • Staff are on official duty 15 minutes prior to the commencement of teaching instruction. Students should not be on the grounds prior to this time.
  • TeamKids are available to support families who need Before and after School Services

To help prepare your child for a return to school, we have included a few tips that we hope will assist in getting our students back up to speed as quickly as possible so that they can successfully transition back to school.

  • Morning Routine: Get back into a routine of being ready to start each day early (when school starts, you will have to build in travel time).
  • Food: Start preparing snacks and lunches for the day and stick to those (start reducing unscheduled trips to the pantry)
  • Drinking: The drinking taps will not be available at school as they have been identified as a possible means of transference. Students must bring their own drink bottle filled with water at the start of each day.
  • Toilets: School is very different to home, start trying to take scheduled toilet breaks at the times your child will be having their recess and lunch breaks. This will build the body’s ability to lengthen the period between toilet stops.
  • Talk: Talk with your child about what they might expect when school resumes (there are no right or wrong answers as none of us really knows what to expect). Ask what they are looking forward to and reflect on the successes they have had during remote learning. The more confidence and belief they have, the greater the chances of a successful return to school.
Communication with Staff

Although ALL staff will be on-site from 12 October, the restriction on parents entering school grounds means that communication channels will remain as they have for the last 8 weeks – with a few minor changes.

If you need to communicate with your child’s teacher, please email, via the School email: edithvale.ps@edumail.vic.gov.au or phone the School on 9772 1393.

Hygiene

Everyone can protect themselves and prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) by continuing effective hand hygiene. Enhanced hygiene measures should continue during the return to on-site teaching and learning.

  • All students will be asked to undertake regular hand hygiene, particularly on arrival to school, before and after eating, after blowing their nose, coughing, sneezing or using the toilet.
  • Strong personal hygiene standards across the school must be maintained including washing of hands after using playground and sporting equipment
  • All students will be using hand sanitiser upon entry to their classrooms in the morning and will be regularly washing their hands throughout the day.
  • Drinking taps, ’Bubblers’ or drinking fountains will not be used at school, meaning children will need to bring along their own drink bottles (and refill these at school)
  • All students will be guided in regular hand-washing – not just after toilet breaks but before and after recess and lunch breaks, too.
  • Hand sanitiser will be available in all classrooms and at the front desk and in the staff room. Supplementary cleaning of taps, door handles and communally used surfaces will be carried out during school days. – This will be undertaken by SPOTLESS Cleaning Services and is additional to the normal cleaning.
  • Play equipment is included in the cleaning schedule.
  • All staff will be leaving the school grounds at 3:45pm to support the reduction of adult to adult contact
Face masks in schools

All school-based staff must wear face masks at school, and when travelling to and from school. Schools must ensure that staff wear face masks when required.

Teachers and education support staff are not required to wear face masks while teaching, but those who wish to do so, can. Teachers must wear face masks in other areas of the school when not teaching (for example, in the staffroom, on yard duty and when providing first aid or taking temperatures), and when travelling to and from school.

Students are not required to wear a face mask. Students who are aged 12 or over by Year 6 who are attending primary school are not required to wear face masks at school.

Management of unwell students
  • It is important that any student who becomes unwell while at school returns home immediately.
  • Any student experiencing compatible symptoms with coronavirus (COVID-19), such as fever, cough or sore throat, should be isolated in an appropriate space with suitable supervision and collected by a parent/carer as soon as possible. Urgent medical attention should be sought where indicated. It is not suitable for an unwell student to travel home unsupervised.
  • Health care plans, where relevant, should be updated to provide additional advice on monitoring and identification of the unwell child in the context of coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • If a staff member is unsure whether a student is unwell they will contact the parent/carer to discuss any concerns about the health status of the student, and taking a precautionary approach, request the parent/carer to collect their child if concerns remain.
  • 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 is not required to return to an education setting after a period of illness, however students should not return until symptoms resolve.
Hats
  • A reminder that hats are compulsory here at Edithvale Primary School in Terms 1 and 4. We are a Sunsmart School and although the weather may be cool, the UV levels are still high so please remember to use sun protection each day during the sun protection times – not just on hot or sunny days. Children not wearing hats will need to stay in the eating areas during play times. They will also need to sit in a shaded area when their class is participating in sport activities if they do not have a broad brimmed hat.
Sport and recreation

In line with community advice, reasonable precautions are still advised to reduce the risk of coronavirus (COVID19) transmission in the context of sport and recreation.

  • Playground equipment can be used. However, students should practise hand hygiene before and after use. Playgrounds will be wiped down as part of the enhanced cleaning program
  • Non-contact sports will be encouraged. Hand hygiene must be practised before and after use of any sporting equipment.
Canteen
  • Our Canteen will re-open on Monday 12 October with a limited menu
  • The revised menu be available through Qkr
  • There will be NO window sales
  • There can be no parent volunteers to assist Di in the canteen
Reports

We will be providing a simplified written report for the parent/carer of each student for Semester 2, 2020 focusing on what progress has been made and what has been achieved by each child. This will reflect the learning and teaching undertaken through both face to face teaching and remote learning. The reports will build upon previous Progress reports and include:

  • a description of the areas of the Victorian Curriculum taught;
  • a comment on student participation and engagement in the learning programs offered;
  • for English and Mathematics:
    • student achievement information;
    • progress shown from the last time these curriculum areas were reported on;
    • a five-point scale.
  • for all other curriculum areas taught:
    • student achievement information represented on a continuum of learning and/or a five-point
      scale;
    • a short comment on progress and achievement across the Semester Mental health and wellbeing

Term 3 Progress reports for all students were posted to COMPASS at the end of August and reflected the remote learning and teaching undertaken throughout the first 7 weeks of the Term Semester 2 are adjusted in recognition of the disruptions caused by the transition to remote and flexible learning during Semester 2.

The Reports will be made available via Compass on, or before December 11.

An update from the Acting Victorian Deputy Chief Health Officer

As Victoria’s Acting Deputy Chief Health Officer, and as a member of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee, the health, wellbeing and safety of students and staff remains front of mind.

As you know, most Victorian school students returned to a remote learning model during Term 3 to help reduce movement of people across Victoria and slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). With falling case numbers and reduced community transmission, I am pleased to advise that schools can commence a gradual return to onsite learning from the start of Term 4.

Throughout the pandemic, colleagues and I have closely followed emerging Victorian, Australian and international evidence on transmission of the virus and the efficacy of public health measures in reducing transmission. We have observed in Victoria, informed by research undertaken by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) examining COVID-19 cases linked to Victorian schools and early childhood settings, that COVID-19 transmission in schools is uncommon when community transmission is low.

Cases in schools have been well contained through rapid site closures, cleaning and contact tracing. With specific measures in place, I am confident in our ability to identify and respond to cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) impacting schools. Reassuringly, evidence continues to show that children are less impacted by the virus, they may be less infectious, they tend to have milder symptoms and are less likely to develop severe illness.

The available evidence, including the MCRI findings, suggests that the risk to staff and students in both mainstream and specialist settings remains low, when recommended health and safety strategies are followed and that schools do not pose a greater risk of infection than other locations.

Once again, I thank teachers, staff, students and families for their incredible efforts during these challenging times. With your ongoing support I am confident schools can make a gradual, successful return to on-site learning in Term 4.