Update on Coronavirus from the Principal

11/03/2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I am writing to you in regard to updated advice from the Department of Education and Training in regard to the Coronavirus now known as Covid-19.

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 I’d encourage you to support each other.

You will be aware that, at the time of writing, there are well in excess of 100,000 cases of Coronavirus reported around the globe. Consequently, the Education Department is planning for scenarios that may occur. Our role is to remain balanced in our outlook and continue to make decisions focusing on the welfare of our students based on the most recent available information.

We have, since the outbreak was confirmed, followed Australian Government, Department of Health, Department of Education and Training updates. The following mandates will be followed by the School as per protocols laid out by regulatory authorities. Students or staff cannot attend school or preschool if they have:

  • left, or transited through mainland China in the last 14 days (they must isolate themselves for 14 days from leaving mainland China)
  • left, or transited through Iran on or after 1 March (they must isolate themselves until 14 days after leaving Iran)
  • left, or transited through the Republic of Korea on or after 5 March (they must isolate themselves until 14 days after leaving the Republic of Korea)
  • been in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus in the last 14 days (they must isolate themselves for 14 days after the date of last contact with the confirmed case).

In addition, the Australian Government considers Italy to be at higher risk for COVID-19*

If you are returning from these countries, you need to monitor your health for the next 14 days. If you believe that you are beginning to show symptoms of the virus, please contact your GP immediately. If you, or someone with whom you have had close contact with, has been diagnosed with COVID-19, please notify the School immediately and take all necessary medical advice.

The spread of coronavirus can be prevented by practising good hand hygiene and sneeze/cough hygiene. It is the best defence against most viruses:

  • wash hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, and after going to the toilet
  • cover coughs and sneezes, dispose of tissues, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  • and if unwell, avoid contact with others (touching, kissing, hugging, and other intimate contact).

Current symptoms of Coronavirus COVID-19 include, but are not limited to fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue and shortness of breath. If a student or staff member develops mild symptoms, they should:

  • Isolate themselves from others at home and use a separate bathroom if available:
  • Put on a surgical mask and if they don’t have one, practise good sneeze/cough hygiene:
  • Practise good hand hygiene: and
  • Call a doctor or hospital and tell them the recent travel or close contact history.

If they have serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, call 000, ask for an ambulance and notify the officers of the recent travel or close contact history.

In the event that a student becomes unwell whilst at school we will need to request that Parents collect the student from school. In the meantime, as a school we will follow DET and DHHS guidelines for managing an event where a student or staff member informs the school of a positive diagnosis of Coronavirus COVID-19.

If you require further information about COVID-19 please visit the Department of Health website.

Many thanks for your support.

Karen Lee
Principal