I hope this note finds you all well.
After some good discussions and feedback with parents and staff over the last week, we have decided to put together the attached ‘Important Notes’, flyer for you.
We hope that it will create some clarity and understanding with the current state of play with COVID at St Columba’s School.
Please be aware that at the same time various protocols are changing almost daily; however, we will keep you updated as changes occur.
To say that we are living in interesting times is a complete understatement.
Not only are we living with the stresses of COVID-19, but now have this unnecessary war occurring in Ukraine.
I found this great quote in my phone over the weekend, and I thought I’d share it with you….it says it all.
I ask all our parents to keep the people in Ukraine in their prayers every day and that somehow a resolution for peace is found.
I must thank you all for your understanding and patience while at the same time I understand your frustration. I think that our frustration levels are the same, however, we must continue to follow Health Department and Catholic Education WA’s instructions and protocols. Please understand that we are unable to communicate information until we have been informed by the Health Department and/or Catholic Education WA.
CLOSE CONTACT DEFINITIONS IN A SCHOOL SETTING
Close contacts are identified as follows:
- A household member of a person with COVID-19 who has had contact with them during their infectious period; or
- Someone who has had close contact with a person in their infectious period, including:
- At least 15 minutes face-to-face contact where a mask was not worn by the exposed person and the person with COVID-19;
- Greater than two hours with in a small indoor space or classroom environment, where masks have been removed for this period by the exposed person and the person with COVID-19 (note: others wearing masks in this scenario would not be a contact);
- Someone who is directed by WA Health that they are a close contact.
The Department of Health has provided these definitions due to the many mitigating strategies which are in place in schools, including limiting the mixing of year groups and mandated mask requirements.
REPORTING A COVID-19 POSITVE CASE:
If parents test their children with a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) and the result is positive, they must inform the school immediately. The school will then ask the parent to have the child undergo a PCR test. While this is happening, the child stays at home until results from the PCR are known. If the test is positive, then the child will commence the 7 days isolation for the time period given by WA Health Department. Note: also, that the parent needs to provide the Principal with a copy of the PCR test results (positive/negative) from WA Health. This should be a copy/screenshot of the txt message from WA Health. The Principal, will then report all positive cases to CEWA who will then commence communication with the WA Health. If the PCR results comes back negative the child returns to school.
AN INDIVIDUAL IS SYMPTOMATIC OF COVID-19 WHILE AT SCHOOL:
If a child displays COVID symptoms while at school, they will be isolated in a designated area at school, ensuring their wellbeing needs are met and pastoral support is readily available. Parents will be informed to come and collect their child and asked to seek a PCR test.
STATUS OF SIBLINGS OF CLOSE CONTACTS AND THEIR ATTENDANCE AT SCHOOL
Only close contacts of a positive case need to self-quarantine. Siblings of close contacts, can still attend school if the close contact is able to isolate away from the rest of the household.
The family needs to ensure they take extra precautions and have no interaction with the close contact. Where the close contact is too young to self-isolate only where parents can mirror quarantine (whereby one parent isolates with the close contact and the other parent with the rest of the household – where the residence allows for this).
If it is not possible for a sibling to appropriately distance themselves from the close contact, he or she is also not to attend school for the period of isolation. Please note that these students will be provided with remote learning.
If a close contact becomes positive, it is only then that other family members (of the close contact) must get tested as per instructions from WA Health.
Note: If you choose to keep your child home, that is not a close contact, they will be marked as absent and remote learning will not be provided.
Parents are to notify the school if they are keeping siblings to close contacts at home. This will be done through the school website – absentee form.
REQUIREMENTS FOR CONFIRMATION FROM PARENTS WHO HAVE CHILDREN THAT HAVE RETURNED A NEGATIVE COVID TEST AFTER ISOLATION.
WA Health requires that students isolating return a negative PCR or RAT prior to the end of their quarantine period. The confirmation from a parent to the school may be provided in various ways. The parent may choose to provide a copy of the negative test result. If this occurs, this record will be under CEWA privacy protocols. Parents may also choose to provide verification through a written confirmation.
This position is motivated by seeking to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all in our school communities.
Please be assured that all communication in relation to parents and children of the school will be treated highly confidential. We thank families for remaining confidential and respecting the privacy of community members.
What do we do at school?
- Regularly encourage children to wash/sanitise their hands. Hand sanitising stations are located around the school.
- Encourage mask wearing.
- Children are asked to play with their own year levels.
- Windows are open to ensure ventilation.
- Extra weekly cleaning of classrooms occurs.
- Classrooms of a positive case and other areas are deeply cleaned as this occurs.
- Staff consistently wear masks and model how these are to be worn. (We ask parents to assist us with this education).
- Students who are deemed possible close contacts are refrained from attending OSHC that day and parents are contacted to come and collect their child/children.
- All community members wear masks on the school site. (We thank community members for their support with this).
- QR codes at entrance points of the school.
- Encourage community members to refrain from gathering on the school site. (It has been pleasing to see community members support us with this matter).
- We consistently communicate in a careful manner to ensure we don’t cause our children to become anxious about Covid.
If you are seeking other information, please visit the WA Health Department website: https://ww2.health.wa.gov.au/articles/a_e/coronavirus
Our children’s health and wellbeing is of upmost importance, our careful and considerate communication will ensure we protect our children from any unnecessary anxiety or concerns. To date in our school, the people who have experienced COVID-19 have reported very mild symptoms and side effects. It is important that we reinforce this to our children and promote a calm environment.