As we know things are moving very quickly and it does appear that it may be just a matter of time before we need to deal with some form of community transmission ourselves. As COVID-19 spreads through the eastern states, it is quite evident that the term, complacency, is one to keep in mind. As a school we have put in place a number of strategies in order to keep staff, parents, and children safe in the event that there is transmission of the COVID-19 virus. I have listed these in previous posts and I would encourage you to go back and reread if at all unclear.
I will however revisit one aspect of our aim to stay safe, which is about visitors coming into the school buildings. Some people do get to come into the buildings, such as tradespeople, contractors, support specialists from The Department and those from Education who are providing additional programs such as our instrumental music. There are very strict guidelines in relation to these people. This does include filling out a COVID-19 form before entry into the school, and also safe practices and good hygiene at all times. I must say I have been very impressed at how our visitors up to this point have really been careful in this regard.
I do need to draw attention to one aspect that has been concerning me, which is the one or two parents who have taken it upon themselves to enter buildings without approval, in order to either drop off or collect their children. Fortunately this is not common, however we need to be vigilant at all times. As you are aware, we have been able to have our school gates remain open and rely on people doing the right thing. As a general rule, we will continue to do this unless the need arises to do otherwise.
In the immediate term however, we are going to monitor the gate access to Young Street, which will be opened at approximately 8:30 am and closed in the morning at 9:00 am. At the end of each day, the Young Street gate will be open at approximately 3 pm and closed at approximately 3:20 pm. This is due to the fact that we are unable to monitor that area, and we want to remain a safe place for all of us to be. On a number of mornings Kym Sard will continue to be there to receive young children as they enter for the school day. If Kym is not there, please be assured that your child is quite capable of getting to the classroom themselves, getting ready for the class either by themselves or with the help of their classroom teacher.
I have been very impressed with parents who have made the commitment to remain outside of the school grounds when either dropping off or collecting their child(ren). Those parents coming in to drop the younger children off, have been very respectful of dropping their children and then leaving the grounds promptly.
Our front office staff are available when people enter the front office, and we do expect all visitors to remain behind the sign until asked to come forward.
It is evident that we have a school community who really do care about each other, and it has been pleasing to get the positive feedback about what we have put into place up to this point. If there is a second wave, then we will re-examine the strategies that are in place and it is highly likely that we would be making some further changes.
Competitive Sport has resumed and it is a time when volunteers may be called upon to transport children, coach or manage a team etc. Any person who is on a school site for the purpose of being a volunteer, or a parent/ guardian or carer either assisting in someway with the sport itself or being a spectator, is expected to complete a COVID-19 form. We will provide the forms at the time as required. SA Health have also indicated that only one family member should be present as a spectator, which is to enable physical distancing to be maintained. We ask for your help in this matter.
If any of the things that we have put into place cause frustration, please know that it is for everyone’s best interest and that the time will come at some stage in the future where we can relax our conditions. Staff at Woodend Primary School are following guidelines and expectations set down by the Department for Education and SA Health.
I have included some information that is available from the SA Health website and our Department for Education website. Of particular interest, may be the ways that we can all stay informed as the COVID-19 virus situation progresses. I would encourage anybody who needs to be tested, to isolate until the results are back, as this is a period where any possible transmission is most likely to occur. I hear stories of people who are continuing to visit shopping centres and have a coffee or go shopping while waiting for their test results. This is what we mean by complacency, and is one of the main reasons that has caused Victoria’s community transmission to be such a major problem.
If people test positive for COVID-19
People who are being tested for COVID-19 must self-isolate. This is in line with the Australian Department of Health protocol. Visit the SA Health website for more information about self-isolation.
Personal hygiene and the hygiene standards is critical to reducing the risk of infection.
All people are encouraged to:
- wash their hands regularly, particularly after using the toilet and before eating
- avoid spreading infections to others by staying home if they are unwell
- cover a cough or sneeze with a tissue or elbow.
Government advice for parents and schools
Visit www.sa.gov.au/covid-19 for the most up to date information from South Australian government agencies about COVID-19.
Parents seeking more information are encouraged to call the SA COVID-19 Information Line on 1800 253 787. This offers local information and advice on general COVID-19 information for South Australians, 8am to 8pm 7 days per week.
Other ways to stay informed
- For health information for South Australians visit the SA Health website.
- SA COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line 1800 632 753 – provides mental health support for people struggling with the impacts of COVID-19. It’s available to people to maintain their mental health and wellbeing.
- Communicable Disease Branch line 1300 232 272 – provides information on immunisations and from medical officers.
- National Coronavirus Information Helpline 1800 020 080 – provides information and advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) from an Australia wide perspective. Open 24/7.
- COVID-19 Relief Call Centre 1300 705 336 – provides information and assistance with such things as personal hardship support, accommodation support for people unable to achieve self-quarantining and accommodation for emergency services personnel that are required to quarantine but unable to do so at home. People can also email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Australian Government – publishes a daily alert with the latest medical advice and official reports.
- For translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.
- If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech or communication impairment, contact National Relay Service on 1800 555 677.
Keep safe and kind regards,