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COVID-19 Updates

Information our school has officially received from the Secretary for Education, Iona Holsted that you might find informative and relevant. While there is a lot of discussion and speculation in the media and other sources regarding education during the Covid-19 pandemic, schools are required to follow the direction of the Secretary for Education.

COVID-19 update

23 April
  • The overarching aim of Alert Level 3 is to limit the number of additional people (outside your immediate household) that you come into close contact with so that, in the unlikely event of a COVID-19 case, close contacts can be rapidly identified, and to limit the number of close contacts that would have to undertake 14 days of self-quarantine
  • The safety and wellbeing of students, staff and their households, continues to be a priority in Alert Level 3
  • When opening school facilities, the public health requirements must be adhered to so that COVID-19 is prevented from spreading within the school community
  • Physical distancing (2 metres outside and 1 metre inside), washing and drying hands, good cough and sneeze etiquette and regularly cleaning surfaces, continue to be a key defence against the spread of coronavirus
  • Stay home if you’re sick and report flu-like symptoms
  • Symptoms to monitor for are any respiratory symptoms such as a cold, a head cold, blocked ears, cough, sneezing, chills and a fever. Anyone with those symptoms should stay home and contact Healthline for advice, which may include getting tested for COVID-19
  • Staff for all year levels are able to work on the school site, but this should only be for those who need be on site, and will primarily depend on the number of students attending on site and whether staff have access to internet at home
  • ‘School bubbles’ will be formed to support physical distancing. Initially the number of children or young people coming together in a school bubble must be limited to 10, but this can be increased to 20 once all processes are running smoothly. Staff are in addition to that bubble
  • There can be more than one bubble within a room as long as physical distancing is maintained within bubbles, and with appropriate spacing between maintained between bubbles.
  • Adults and children are not to move between the bubbles with the exception that staff will need a break and may also need to be covered for sick or other leave
  • Keep non-essential visitors to an absolute minimum, including parents and caregivers (drop offs outside the school gate whenever possible)
  • You will need to have a contact register in to record any visitors details (so that they can be identified and contacted if the unlikely event of a COVID-19 case in your school). Continue to record attendance in your student management system for students and your timetable should identify where all staff are at a given day and time. Record the days when relief teachers were in class.

Recording who will be coming to school and who actually attends
 
As we advised in Monday’s Bulletin, it is important you get timely indications of parents’ intentions to send their children to school. Many of you have well established mechanisms for communicating with your parent groups and have already done so.  For those that wish to use it, we’ve provided an example letter here.
 
Once we are in Level 3, in order to get good information to help with logistics and to best support you, we need each school to report daily on the physical attendance of children. We have developed an online tool to make responding to this as quick and easy as possible. This information will also be used to keep the National Crisis Monitoring Centre, the Government and the public informed about how many students are learning onsite and offsite. 
 
We need you to complete a daily task for the next couple of weeks that is particular to the current covid-19 climate.  On Tuesday a link for daily use will be sent to all schools from your local regional office asking for a response to two main questions.  The questions are how many students arrived on site at your school that morning, and how many bubbles of students you have at your school. 
 
Note that this is about physical attendance at school sites and does not at this stage cover off codes for students who are engaged at home via distance learning, or students who are away due to sickness. If you have concerns about non-attendance or engagement of school-aged students during this phase of the response, please reach out to our regional staff and they will support you.
 
We are currently working on ways to allow you to provide this information via your student management system, and we expect this to be ready in a couple of weeks. This work will mean a more robust information system overall, and that we don’t need to rely on manual processes in future.
 
This information will also be essential to assist you with contact tracing for your staff and students and for a site visitor register. Knowing how many students are learning onsite versus offsite will also inform our distance learning programme, so that we can provide the resources needed to support learning (eg the extent to which additional Internet connectivity or devices are required for school children, or hard packs of learning material for children in early learning).
 
We know we are asking for a lot of information from you at the moment but having good information systems is critical so we can support you.