VPS Update #2 relating to COVID-19

This is the latest update on our status and plans related to the COVID-19 pandemic. With new information coming to hand daily, I will be applying this 10/100/1000 word approach when communicating with the school community.

Below you will find three different versions of our message. The first is a very brief, approximately 10-word summary. The second is a slightly more in-depth 100-word summary. The third is a verbose, detailed update that may be 1,000 words or more. We hope this approach will help you find the level of detail you require.

Additionally, we have created a form to submit questions so we can ensure we are addressing the things you want to know. You are still welcome to email me
([email protected]), especially if you have questions about a situation very specific to you or your family, but all questions are welcome on this form. We will do our best to respond individually.

Submit your questions at https://forms.gle/BAEbuB5e5MDMGaZ79

~10 Words

We are not closing schools; we are now providing work for students at home.

~100 Words

We continue to receive updates from Department of Education every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and daily from other sources. Based on the best information available to us, we are NOT closing schools however we are providing a pack to work from home. We have altered the way we manage our assemblies, the way we eat at lunchtimes and have increased our cleaning of classrooms.

~1,000+ Words

This information comes from Department of Education in conjunction with Department of Health and comprehensive review of all available factual information. Each decision we make is based on analysis of all of this information, consultation with experts, and coordination with local and state agencies.

This page was last updated and is current as at Friday 20th March, 3.15pm and will be updated regularly.  Additional updates will be provided as required.

Blue text: Information which has been edited to provide greater clarity, or updated to reflect an update in Department of Health wording.
Purple text: New information since the 20 March update.
Orange Text: What we are doing at Vasse PS

While the Department of Health advises that the risk of transmission in Western Australia remains low; they are monitoring the situation and we are acting on their advice to take any necessary precautions for schools and our staff. The current focus is on minimising and preventing transmission and making sure that our school system is prepared for a possible case.

Western Australians should remain alert, but not be alarmed. The Department of Health has a snapshot on the current situation in Western Australia here. (refresh for latest snapshot)

Attendance at school

On Sunday 15 March, the Prime Minister introduced measures placed on international arrivals into Australia. This means a mandatory 14-day self-isolation requirement will be placed on all international arrivals into Australia effective from today. This also applies to all parents/carers, contractors, visitors and volunteers on school sites.
Below are some areas that we have been asked to consider. I have responded with what we are doing at Vasse PS.

Who cannot attend school

Students or staff cannot attend school and need to self-isolate if they have:

  1. returned from overseas travel, they must self-isolate for 14 days from the date of return to Australia;
  2. been informed by public health authorities that they have been in close contact with a confirmed case and they must isolate themselves for 14 days after the date of last contact with the confirmed case;
  3. been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting results should follow the advice of the Department of Health and stay away from school.

Parents/carers and staff should notify their school or line manager if the student or staff member will be away for the isolation period and confirm the date in which they were last overseas, or have been advised by the Department of Health to isolate.

Recording student absences

We will record all student absences relating to COVID-19 as a Reasonable absence. This includes:

  • students who are self-isolating due to Department of Health advice;
  • families keeping children home due to perceived and possible increased risk relating to children and family members who are in a higher risk category (e.g. diabetes, compromised immune systems); and
  • families keeping their children at home due to the perceived risk that they are safer at home, rather than in a school setting due to possible transmission of the virus.

 

Front line services and mass gatherings

On Wednesday, 18 March the Australian Government announced that all organised, non-essential mass gatherings attended by more than 100 people for indoor events and more than 500 people for outdoors events must be cancelled from Wednesday 18 March 2020.

On Friday, 20 March the Australian Government announced further measures relating to gatherings of fewer than 100 people in an enclosed space. The Government is now recommending four square metres per person. This does not apply to schools.

At Vasse PS we have postponed;

  • All events
    All our rooms are practising good hygiene practises after recess and after lunch.

Download VPS Hand washing Poster here

Lunch breaks

  • Separate students at lunch times into groups using strategies such as considering designated locations and/or staggering break times.

At Vasse PS we are eating lunch in small groups around the school

Incursions and excursions

  • cancel all international school excursions
  • cancel or postpone where 500 or more people will be present
  • review and reconsider non-essential gatherings of fewer than 500 people

At Vasse PS we have postponed or cancelled any incursion or excursions planned at this stage.

Interschool sporting events, performing or visual arts events, social events, or extra-curricular activities

  • cancel or postpone where 500 or more people will be present
  • review and reconsider non-essential gatherings of fewer than 500 people

At Vasse PS we have 3 cancelled events

Meetings with School Boards, Councils, P&Cs

  • reconsider, including using alternative modes of communication, such as teleconferencing
  • consider social distancing and hygiene measures if proceeding

At Vasse PS have cancelled the P&C meeting but we are still conducting a School Board Information Meeting scheduled for the 25th  March.

Pre-service teachers and incoming work experience students

  • external personnel must follow all government self-isolation requirements and follow Department of Health advice

At Vasse PS we are monitoring all external agencies entering the school.

Staff professional learning, meetings and network meetings

  • cancel or postpone where 500 or more people will be present
  • review and reconsider non-essential gatherings of fewer than 500 people
  • consider using alternative modes of communication such as teleconferencing or online tools
  • practice social distancing and hygiene measures

At Vasse PS we are practicing the advice above with our staff meetings.

Closing Schools

At this time, we are NOT closing our schools. It is quite possible that we will need to close schools in the near future, In the meantime, families should begin preparing for what they will do if schools are closed for an extended period. This could be considerably challenging for many families, so it is imperative that you plan for what you will do in such a situation. If schools close, so will daycares, before- and after-school programs, extra-curricular activity providers, etc. Now is the time to ensure you have your plans in place so you are not caught off guard if we need to close schools. If there comes a time when we have a case of COVID-19 within our school population, we will close our school temporarily while assessment and tracing of exposure is conducted. A thorough school clean will then be carried out to make the school safe for the return of students and staff.

Sinan Kerimofski PRINCIPAL 
Vasse Primary School
17 Kaloorup Road, Vasse WA 6280                                                                   

p (08) 9746 3700