Coronavirus / COVID-19 Updates.

Wednesday, April 15th, 2020. 10.5 p.m.

This email was sent to me at 10 o’clock this evening. Contrary to what our Prime Minister is saying, Victoria’s Chief Health Officer reiterates the need for social distancing.

“Thank you for the outstanding work today.

Dear colleagues,

Thank you for the outstanding work today, as we launched our first day of remote and flexible learning across the state.

The overwhelming feedback is that today went as well as could possibly be expected.

The vast majority of our students were engaged in remote and flexible learning when just three weeks ago they were all on-site in classrooms. It’s an extraordinary achievement that was only possible because of all the work that’s gone on over the past few weeks.

While things went well overall, I know not everything was perfect, and that there were IT platform issues experienced by some schools. We expect these to be resolved.

Thank you particularly for your work in communicating with parents about the Victorian Government’s directive that all students who can learn from home must learn from home.

The reason for this was reiterated today by Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Brett Sutton, who stated:

“My advice to the Victorian Government was and continues to be that to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), schools should undertake remote learning for term two.

This is because having around a million children and their parents in closer contact with teachers and other support staff has the potential to increase cases of coronavirus not just in schools but across the community.

By having remote learning, it can contribute to physical distancing and therefore supports efforts to drive transmission down.”

The transition into Term 2 has not been easy work for anyone, but we should be reassured – there is a very good reason to be taking this significant step.

Thank you for the huge role you have played in making this happen.

David Howes

Deputy Secretary

Schools and Regional Services”

 

Thursday, April 9th, 2020. 2.45 p.m.

I am sure that everyone is now aware that the Minister for Education has announced that all Victorian government schools will transition to remote and flexible learning arrangements for Term 2 which begins for students next Wednesday the 15th. (Staff members will commence on Tuesday April 14th).

This means that from the start of Term 2 all students who can learn from home must learn at home. It also means that all staff who can work from home must work from home.

Families, please note the following two points:

-          Staff hours-of-work at home will be consistent with the attendance times already in place at our school, hence staff members will be on duty remotely throughout the school day.

-          Our aim as a school staff is to support our students with their learning, health and wellbeing. The responsibility for student safety during this period of remote and flexible learning is held by the parent or guardian.

Class teachers are not available nor required to respond to emails or telephone calls out of school hours or on weekends; the safety of students during remote learning is the responsibility of parents. In an emergency, please contact Mick via the usual channels.

I will communicate more information as we firm up arrangements. Please remember that this is new to us all; we won’t get everything right, certainly not in the beginning. I ask that you bear with us and be kind as we investigate and improve our practices. 

Enjoy the rest of the break.

Mick.

 

Tuesday, April 7th, 2020. 9.25 a.m.

This morning schools were given direction as to how they will operate from the beginning of Term 2 which starts on Wednesday, April 15th. As always, if you have any queries or concerns please contact me via email or text message.
A summary of the lengthy documentation (as to how it applies to Chum Creek Primary School) is as follows:

 

TRANSITION TO FLEXIBLE AND REMOTE LEARNING

To increase physical distancing across the population and slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), children in Victorian government schools should move to remote and flexible learning and care at the commencement of Term 2.

This means that from the start of term two all students who can learn from home must learn at home.

The following operating model will apply.

 

1.         ALL STUDENTS WILL BE LEARNING FROM HOME, EXCEPT FOR:

Children on days when they are not able to be supervised at home and no other arrangements can be made. This will be available for children of parents who cannot work from home, and vulnerable children, including:

·         children in out-of-home care

·         children deemed by Child Protection and/or Family Services to be at risk of harm

·         children identified by the school as vulnerable (including via referral from a family violence agency, homelessness or youth justice service or mental health or other health service and children with a disability).

 

2.         ON-SITE PROVISION.

·         On-site provision will be available at all government schools, but only for students in the above category, for the purpose of providing continuity of teaching, learning and support.

·         When on-site learning is provided, hand sanitiser will be available at the entry points to classrooms and education will be provided on hand hygiene. Physical distancing will be implemented in classrooms to the extent feasible and unwell students will be excluded from attending.

·         The learning program delivered on-site will be the same as the learning program delivered to students undertaking remote learning. Students learning on-site will be supervised by an on-site teacher but follow the teaching and learning program provided by their classroom teacher.

·         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 persons as far as is practicable on entering and leaving the school grounds.

 

3.  HOME PROVISION.

·         The parent or carer is responsible for students’ general safety at home or elsewhere.

·         Staff hours-of-work at home will be consistent with the attendance arrangements already in place at each school and determined in accordance with the school’s local arrangements.

·         Schools will communicate these hours of work to parents/carers and indicate that teachers and support staff are not required and will not be available to students or families/carers outside these hours.

·         Students and parents/families will be given clear information about how and when they will receive learning materials and feedback.

·         Schools will create and communicate a schedule or calendar that shows what is expected of students in relation to the completion of learning tasks.

 

4.         HOME AND ON-SITE LEARNING PROGRAMS.

The learning program delivered on-site will be the same as the learning program delivered to students undertaking remote learning.

 

5.         ACCESS TO TEACHING AND LEARNING RESOURCES FOR STUDENTS AT HOME.

·         For students who do not have access to digital technologies at home, schools will loan existing devices.

·         The Department is examining ways to provide network access for students who may not be able to connect at home.

·         Schools will also be able to provide hard copies of learning resources in the event of an internet outage or in cases where it is not possible for students to have any digital access.

·         Schools will follow e-safety policies and procedures.

 

6.         SCHOOL BUSES FOR ON-SITE STUDENTS.

·         In rural and regional Victoria, the School Bus Program will continue to operate for students attending school on-site.

·         Physical distancing guidelines will be followed on school buses, at bus interchange locations, and other shared transport services to and from school.

·         Bus Operators will ensure that high touch surfaces are regularly disinfected (handrails and seating areas).

 

Saturday, March 28th, 2020. 1.15 p.m.

I thought I should write something so that people don’t think I’ve forgotten about updating this page for our school community’s information.
School-wise nothing much has changed since last Monday. Obviously our students are now ‘officially’ on term break and I am very keen for them to have their between-term rest. I would ask that as much as possible during the break families try to keep normal routines with regard to bedtimes, recreation, holiday activities, etc. I know this will not be easy but it is important to maintain a sense of normalcy as we work through these difficulties as a community.

Staff have spent the past four days working on developing resources to serve whatever scenario we are presented with when Term Two begins. We have been focusing on creating and re-packaging resources so they are available to families from the internet. We have also been educating ourselves with the use of various video platforms such as Zoom and Webex. Please feel free to research these for yourselves. We are also developing Google Classrooms for our students and their families to possibly use from the beginning of Term Two. Please do not concern yourselves with downloading or even buying access to these yet – we are working on cost-effective ways of using these and will notify families of relevant details, passwords etc. at the beginning of next term when we have finalised details.

Families that haven’t got reliable internet access have not been forgotten. We are preparing packs for use at home and are working out details of how these can be distributed should they be needed next term.

I have asked all of our staff to maximise their downtime over the next two weeks – they have been working very hard behind the scenes over the past week and will need to rest and recharge their batteries because they will be very busy again when next term begins!

As always, please email me if you have any questions or concerns and I will do my best to resolve them for you.

Please wash your hands, keep well, rest and look after your people. Term Two will be busy enough soon enough.

Regards, Mick.

 

Monday, March 23rd, 2020. 3.00 p.m.

Yesterday the Victorian Government announced the bringing forward of school holidays in Victoria, commencing from Tuesday 24 March. This is obviously an unprecedented step in response to unprecedented circumstances.

Below sets out the arrangements for the rest of this week and looks ahead to the first week of Term 2.

Tuesday 24 - Friday 27 March: Principals and school leadership teams are asked to be in attendance on site at school this week, where appropriate, observing common-sense social distancing measures and providing care and supervision programs for primary school students who are the children of essential services workers where those families choose to send their children to school. (Examples of essential services may include health, police, corrections and emergency services workers.)

We also have a responsibility to ensure there is a program of care and support for vulnerable children.

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

Start Term 2: Staff return on Tuesday 14 April (pupil free day), Students return: Wednesday 15 April.

Closer to 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 that date, the first student day of Term 2.

 

Monday, March 23rd, 2020. 10.00 a.m.

Yesterday the Victorian Government announced additional steps to combat the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), including bringing forward the school holidays in Victoria to commence from Tuesday March 24.
 
All staff will use the period Tuesday March 24- Friday March 27 in planning and preparing for the likely transition to flexible and remote learning.

Today it has also been restated by the Department of Education that the second term will commence with a pupil-free day on Tuesday April 14; therefore the first day of term two for students will be Wednesday April 15.

Clearly at this point, there is no way of forecasting whether students will be at school on that day or commencing flexible and remote learning.

As information becomes available I will provide it to you.

I apologize for the frequency of communication in recent times, my intent is to attempt to ensure everyone is kept as informed as possible throughout these ever-changing times.
I wish families a very enjoyable, safe and healthy holiday, even if the holiday may be quite different from any you have had previously. Be assured, teachers will be well prepared to support your continued learning from the start of term two, whether that learning is on-site  or occurring in a more flexible and remote manner.

Best wishes to all during these incredibly challenging times.

 

Sunday, March 22nd, 2020. 10.20 p.m.

At 10.15 this evening I received an email with formal notification from the Area Executive Director of North Eastern Victoria Region that school holidays will be brought forward in Victoria, starting on Tuesday 24 March. He referred to the Premier’s announcement today: https://www.premier.vic.gov.au/statement-from-the-premier-32/

There is no other confirmed information at this stage. Further communication will come directly from Department this evening with more detailed advice in the morning; I will forward information as it comes to hand.

Apologies for the short notice and any inconvenience, but these matters are clearly out of our hands.

 

Sunday, March 22nd, 2020. 5.00 p.m.

Unconfirmed news reports this afternoon indicate that the State Government is planning to close schools from Monday afternoon. There is no information about how long the closure will be for. If this closure occurs this will obviously supercede the previous information about additional pupil-free days this term. I will also wait to hear what will happen after the scheduled term break and will pass this information on as soon as I know.
Today’s media reports appear to be accurate but schools have not been formally notified as yet. I will update this information as it comes to hand.

 

Saturday, March 21st, 2020. 7.50 a.m.

Last night some significant decisions were made today in relation to the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on schools.

·         The National Cabinet announced new social-distancing measures, among a range of other measures to support our communities as we continue to deal with the challenges of the coronavirus (COVID-19).The National Cabinet also determined that early childhood settings, schools and higher education institutions remain exempt from these requirements. We will continue to follow the recommendations of the Victorian Chief Health Officer, and if the advice changes, we will move to implement that advice as quickly as possible.

 

·         Schools will continue to be open next week. Victorian Government schools will remain open and will continue to provide the full range of classroom teaching, learning and social activities that are so important for our students.

 

·         While our schools and teachers are well prepared to commence remote learning, it won’t always be perfect, and we will learn as we go.

 

·         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. The Learning from Home website is also available for students and parents to use at home, and resources are available on the FUSE website.

 

·         Given the challenge posed by coronavirus (COVID-19), it is obviously very important that our schools are safe workplaces. That’s why we’ve increased school cleaning, increased supply of school cleaning products and provided advice to schools around commonsense social-distancing measures.

 

Additional Pupil-Free Days.
The Minister for Education has acknowledged the additional work teachers and support staff are completing, and will need to complete, to prepare for the possibility that schools may need at some stage to move to more flexible learning arrangements, including remote learning. In order to support that work the Minister has approved an additional two pupil-free days.
The first will be on the last day of this term, Friday March 27, and the second will be on what was to be the first day of next term, Tuesday April 14.
Thus, term one will conclude for students on this coming Thursday, March 26 at 3.30pm and term two will commence for students on Wednesday April 15 at 9.00am.

 

NAPLAN.
NAPLAN testing will not proceed for 2020.This decision was made in recognition of the disruption caused to schools by coronavirus (COVID-19). This has created additional work as teachers prepare for the possibility that schools will need to move to more flexible learning programs, including remote learning.

 

Friday, March 20th, 2020. 7.00 p.m.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of our school community for their patience and support as the Coronavirus crisis continues to evolve.

 

School Still Open.
At this stage our school will still operate as normally as possible on Monday the 23rd next. Despite reduced attendance our school continues to operate effectively with a strong focus upon the best learning outcomes for our students, whilst also focusing heavily upon the health and safety of students and staff AND on preparing for a potential transition to remote learning. Our teachers and support staff are doing a wonderful job in maintaining sensible routines, supporting all students and managing the increased demands of the current situation and I wish to thank them for their work and their passion for student learning and student safety.

The current medical advice, followed by the Department of Education, is that schools should continue to operate.

 

Preparations for Remote Learning.
Ongoing preparations for students learning from home are continuing and are well advanced. Our school web page is constantly being updated with a variety of resources and learning tasks being posted. A reminder that should remote learning become a reality additional communication will be via the parent email addresses we have on file.

 

Social Distancing.
The most recent directive from the DET places significant emphasis upon social distancing during the current situation. We will do all we can to implement the steps as advised.                                             

 

Unwell Students.
As always, but especially during the current situation it is not advisable for students to attend school if they are exhibiting signs of respiratory illness. Please check with your health professional if you have any concerns.

 

Hygiene.
We are acutely aware of the importance of maintaining safe and healthy practices at this time. The Department yesterday ordered, and provided funding for extended and additional cleaning to commence in all schools through to the end of term. This additional cleaning will focus on the cleaning of high touch points throughout the school, undertaken throughout the day to ensure that the risks of transmission are reduced.

The emphasis will be on increased disinfectant and detailed cleaning of the common touch points, including washbasins, all entry and exit points and shared surfaces including chairs and desks. We are currently determining the combination of additional hours from existing cleaning contractors as well as the employment of additional cleaning staff to enable this to occur at Chum Creek Primary School.

The staff of Chum Creek Primary School appreciates your understanding, flexibility, patience and support for each other and our school at this time.

 

 

Wednesday, March 18th, 2020. 7.45 p.m.

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).
We do, however, intend to be as fully prepared as possible should this advice change.

 

Earlier this week we saw the first widespread circulation of a hoax message related to schools and COVID-19 which falsely reported to be a statement from the Federal and State Health Ministers that schools would close on Tuesday. This is unlikely to be the only fake statement to be circulated during the pandemic
Please be assured that any information about school closures will be provided directly to our school by the Department and this information will then be communicated immediately to all parents, guardians and staff.

 

 

Monday, March 16th, 2020. 12.00 p.m.

The Premier has this morning declared a state of emergency for Victoria. I will provide more information to you about what that means for education in my daily update later today.

 In the meantime, please find below an important statement from the Victorian Chief Health Officer regarding the importance of our schools remaining open for now. I have highlighted relevant points in purple:

 

______________________________________________________________________________________

STATEMENT ON SCHOOL CLOSURES IN VICTORIA

Dr Brett Sutton MBBS MPHTM FAFPHM FRSPH FACTM MFTM|
Victorian Chief Health Officer
Victorian Chief Human Biosecurity Officer

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) met recently to consider the issue of school closures in relation to the community transmission of COVID-19.

The Committee’s advice is that pre-emptive school closures are not likely to be proportionate or effective as a public health intervention to prevent community transmission of COVID-19 at this time.

As Victoria’s Chief Health Officer and as a member of the AHPPC, I fully endorse this advice in relation to schools in Victoria.

There is currently limited information on the contribution of children to transmission of COVID-19. The WHO-China Joint Mission noted the primary role of household transmission and observed that children tended to be infected from adults.

Previous work suggests that the potential reduction in community transmission from pre-emptive school closures may be offset by the care arrangements that are in place for children who are not at school.

There is a particular risk associated with the fact that children may require care from vulnerable grandparents or may continue to associate (and transmit infection) outside of school settings.

Broadly, the health advice on school closures from previous respiratory epidemics shows the health costs are often underestimated and the benefits are overestimated.

This may be even more so in relation to COVID-19 as unlike influenza, the impact on otherwise healthy children has been minimal to date.

For pre-emptive school closures to be effective, prolonged closure is required and it would be unclear when they could be re-opened. If there were still a large pool of susceptible students when schools are re-opened, there would be likely to be re-emergence of transmission in the community.

School closures may still be considered late in the outbreak in anticipation of a peak in infection rates, for a shorter period of time. Short term reactive school closures may also be warranted to allow cleaning and contact tracing to occur.

Should evidence change in relation to school closures then my advice to the sector, in collaboration with AHPPC, would of course change also.

______________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Sunday, March 15th, 2020. 9.20 p.m.

There have been no changes today with regard to closing schools, meaning it will be business as usual at Chum Creek Primary School tomorrow (Monday the 16th).

While our school remains open we will limit visitors into the school for the remainder of the term. There will also be no excursions for the remainder of the term.

We continue to ask that you keep us informed if you have been in close contact with someone or have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and that you continue to maintain high level hygiene practices. We will ensure that good handwashing practices are also maintained at school.

Some families are choosing to pre-emptively self-isolate - thank you to parents who have already notified me. If your family is choosing this practice, please let us know so we can support you as resources come to hand. We are currently developing guidelines for parent-supervised schoolwork at home, and will hopefully be following shortly with more digital and online resources to assist families.

We will continue to keep you informed as changes come to hand.

 

 

Sunday, March 15th, 2020. 11.50 a.m.

At this morning’s coronavirus media briefing, Premier Dan Andrews admitted that it is “almost certain” that schools will be affected because of the pandemic. “At this stage, and I’ve had a discussion with the chief health officer again this morning and last night, the advice of health expects is not to close schools at this stage,” he said. “However, I want to be very clear that it’s almost certain that we’ll get to that point. When exactly, frustratingly, I can’t tell you when that will be. But it is more than a likelihood that we will have disruption to schools. We’ve already seen schools close.All of that will be based on the best health experts advice to protect public health.”

Mr Andrews added: “If I get advice to close schools from our health experts, I will not hesitate to do that. But if and when it comes, and it’s much more likely to be when rather than if, we will act swiftly.”

Mr Andrews said that parents won’t be punished if they chose to keep their kids at home before a decision was made on school closures. “I think if parents exercise that judgement, they’re not going to be punished for that. An abundance of caution is never a bad thing,” he said.

 

 

Saturday, March 14th, 2020.

Parents and Guardians,

As you would be aware the incidence of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is increasing in Victoria, and a global pandemic has now been declared.

On Friday evening (March 13th) the Prime Minister announced a number of measures that State Premiers have agreed to, on the basis of advice from Australia’s Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Health Officers of the States and Territories.

These measures do not include the closure of early childhood services, schools or higher education institutions. As a result, all schools should continue to operate as planned on Monday and until any further directions are given.

This means that Chum Creek Primary School will continue to operate as usual, although it is possible that this may change over the coming weeks. We will communicate any changes as soon as possible and will inform you via text message and updates to this page as these changes come to hand.

Please note the following information and specific advice in relation to COVID-19:

 

School Closures. When there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 among a student or staff member Victoria’s Chief Health Officer will recommend the affected school’s closure for 24 hours. In this instance DHHS will work with DET, and the staff and students will be advised to stay home and self-isolate for 24 hours. This closure will support school and health officials to work through a contact and containment strategy, and may include decisions about extending the closure period for longer than the initial 24 hours.

 

Hygiene Practices. Please remember that good hygiene practices are the most effective means of minimizing the spread of COVID-19. We will continue to encourage these practices among our students and staff.

Confirmed Cases. Parents/guardians/carers of students should ensure that any student identified as a confirmed case of COVID-19 or as having close contact with any confirmed case of COVID-19 remain isolated at home and not attend school for 14 days. DHHS has defined ‘close contact’ as someone who has had at least 15 minutes of face-to-face contact with a confirmed case or who has shared a closed space with a confirmed case for more than two hours.

Please notify the school immediately of such a situation, either via landline on 035962 5391, or mobile on 0412440271. For more information and FAQs, please refer to DET’s coronavirus web page.

 

Thank you for your continued support and understanding.

 

Regards,

Mick Corr,
Principal – Chum Creek Primary School.