Contract Tracing Process


INFORMATION TO SCHOOL COMMUNITY

                                                            

To better support schools to manage COVID-19 cases, the Department of Education and Training (DET) and the Department of Health (DH) have revised how COVID-19 cases will be managed in schools and I wanted to share some information with families to let you know what will happen if we were to receive a positive case at school. I thought that it was important to provide more information on what occurs during a school closure so that you can be prepared for this scenario should it happen.  Much of this information is changing rapidly and schools are only provided with some information after a confirmed case is reported.  This makes it hard to be fully prepared for such circumstances. Please note the information below is guidance only and is subject to change in the event of a positive case.

 

What happens if a child tests positive

  • If your child or children test/s positive you need to inform the school as soon as possible either via phone or via email.  We will need to obtain information from you about the date of the test and the date of the result along with other relevant information about your child’s movements and their symptoms.
  • After the school receives this notification, we contact the Department of Education and raise an alert which prompts the School Closure Team to contact the school. They obtain key information about the details of the case and determine the next steps.
  • If it is deemed necessary by the Department of Health, the school will be closed for 24 hours, however this may be extended if there are additional cases reported in this time, or if contact tracing is not complete.  Please note that it is not my call as to whether the school closes, I receive an official order from the Regional Director and have to comply with this order.
  • The school then moves forward to contact tracing and contacting parents of children who may be considered a Primary Close Contact (PCC) of the positive case.  PCCs are likely to be limited to those in the same class as the confirmed COVID-19 case. However, this will also depend on the level of compliance with face-mask requirements and how much classes might have mixed.
  • If your child is considered a PCC they will be required to quarantine at home for 14 days, monitor for symptoms and inform the school if they test positive.  If this is a whole class, during this time we will run Remote Learning for that class.  If your child is 12 and over and is double vaccinated, they only have to quarantine for 7 days.

 

If the school is closed what happens

  • I will send a School Closure notice via Compass from a template provided by the Department of Education. If you know of someone in our community who may not be aware of this please reach out and let them know. Please note that this notification may come at any time so it is important to monitor Compass messages.
  • A school closures means that no-one is allowed onsite which means no Onsite Supervision will occur.
  • Please do not call the school during this time, there will be no-one onsite to answer the phone.  The best way to contact us is via email.  Please keep in mind that if you or your child are a PCC we will contact you.
  • While the school is closed, cleaning is undertaken, with a focus on high touch areas.
  • The school will be given notification to extend the closure or to re-open and we will confirm this with the community via Compass.
  • All students can then return to school unless they have been identified as a Primary Close Contact (PCC).

 

Are we prepared?

As always throughout the past 18 months the staff at our school have been preparing for this. There will be challenges and glitches, but as a flexible and growth mindset-orientated community, we will be understanding, patient and forgiving. We receive regularly updated guidance from the Department of Education and have developed our own school plans and CovidSafe actions to keep our staff, children and wider community as safe as possible. These school guidelines will continue to be communicated to families via Compass and includes things such as staggered and separated drop off and pick up, limiting movement and visitors onsite and limited mixing of students onsite.

 

What can we do at home to support your child/ren in the event of a school closure?

The best thing that you can do is to remain calm and be supportive of your children. Just like adults, they will go through a range of emotions and be challenged by these times. Remind your children to bring home their belongs daily. Practice and encourage them to uphold high levels of hygiene, social distancing and mask wearing where possible. Resources from organisations such as Emerging Minds and Raising Children Network are very useful to support you to have some of these conversations at home.

 

We are hoping that we do not have to experience a school closure or positive case, but the reality is that it is quite likely that we will.  I ask that if you get notified of a school closure that you remain calm and be assured that we will contact you personally if your child is a PCC.  Please keep in mind that our focus during this time needs to be on contact tracing and if you have a non urgent issue, we ask if you could please wait until after the school re-opens.

I hope that this has provided some clarity and allows you to have some level of preparedness for a future school closure.  Thank you in advance for your cooperation and understanding during these complex times.

 

Jim Hill

Principal

M.Ed., Grad Dip. Welfare in Ed.,

Grad. Dip I.C.T., B.Ed., Dip. T.

Doncaster Primary School