COVID-19 in Term 3 – September 3rd Update

New health advice, ongoing precautions and COVID-19

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COVID-19 in Term 3 – September 3rd Update

New health advice, ongoing precautions and COVID-19

Updated NSW new health advice: important updates for the Trinity community

3rd September, 2020

In response to increased cases of COVID-19 in NSW and more specifically the recent cases of COVID-19 in school staff and students in NSW, NSW Health has announced further measures aimed at minimising the risk of COVID-19 transmission in school communities for the duration of Term 3.

All current COVID-19 safety measures will continue at Trinity, with the following updates to do with:

  • new reporting on COVID testing
  • sport
  • music
  • co-curricular activities
  • events involving parents
  • overnight camps

The advice emerged from a consultation process involving NSW Health, the Department of Education, the independent school sector, and community sport. As such, there are some aspects of the advice that need to be modified for particular contexts.

One of these areas has to do with the Department of Education recommendation regarding restricting student interaction to their cohort. In Trinity’s Middle and Senior Schools, we deem the cohort to include the House structure, which is integral to the pastoral support, student wellbeing, and life of the School. All such interactions will continue to be conducted according to our COVID-safe protocols.

The Head Master sent an email to all parents on 18th August; there are updates to this page as a result. Please read carefully.

Choirs and Music

Will choirs and group singing take place?

All choirs and group singing will cease until further notice.

What about music ensembles?

Music ensembles involving wind instruments will cease until further notice.

Students involved in ensembles such as strings (ie: non-wind instruments) may continue. Trinity will continue to follow health advice, and physical distancing is being adopted for students playing in bands. Practicing is taking place outside or in large spaces where possible.

What about individual music tuition?

Individual music tuition will continue according to COVID-19 protocols.

More information will be provided by the respective Music staff in the near future.

Inter-school sport

Will we continue Inter-school sport?

Trinity will not engage in any inter-school sport in the remainder of this term. The final round of the CAS Winter season has been cancelled, as have the remaining IPSHA rounds. There will be no Saturday sport this weekend.

The 2020 CAS Track and Field season has also been cancelled, including the invitational carnivals and the Championships. Information about internal Track and Field training and competition will be provided to members of the squad in due course.

The Preparatory School and Junior School will conduct their respective sport programmes without mingling students from the two campuses. More information will come from the respective Heads of School.

Co-curricular activities

Will Co-curricular activities continue?

The new guidelines restrict school activities that involve interaction between students from different schools.

Trinity will not be involved in any events that result in mingling with students from other schools. The Cadet Promotions course, which would normally happen at Trinity with Meriden students present, will proceed with the cadets at their own campus and remotely.

The final round of CAS Debating will be conducted online.

What are the precautions regarding sport?

Please see our COVID-Safe sport page, linked here.

Events involving parents

Will parent-student School events be held?

The new guidelines prohibit any school-related social events involving parents, including the Valedictory events for our graduating Year 12 students. Separate correspondence regarding Year 12 has been sent to families already. Unfortunately, this will limit further our plans to farewell our Year 12 students.

 

Overnight Camps

Will planned camps continue?

There will be no overnight camps or excursions, including the various Junior School and Preparatory School camps that have been scheduled for later this term.

What about the Field Studies Programme?

The Year 9 Field Studies Programme 6, which was initially scheduled to commence on Monday, is now postponed until the start of Term 4 in the hope that this restriction will be loosened by that point.

ONGOING COVID-19 SAFETY MEASURES

What do parents now need to do if a student is symptomatic or taking a COVID-19 test?

NSW Health requires students and staff with even mild symptoms of COVID-19 to be excluded from school and to be tested. Students and staff are not to return to school until symptoms have ceased, a negative test result has been received, and proof of the negative result has been provided to the school.

Parents are to notify the School if a student is being tested for COVID-19, and to provide the negative test result through the relevant absentee email address before the student returns.

In situations where a parent/carer is unwilling to allow their child to undertake a COVID test or provide the school with a negative COVID-19 test result, the student is to be excluded from school for a 10 day period.

Additionally, the student must have been symptom free for at least 3 days before returning to school.

How will the School manage suspected cases of COVID-19?

Any student who is unwell or displays symptoms potentially associated with COVID-19 must not attend School.

NSW Health recommends anyone with symptoms should be tested.

Any Student who has been tested must not attend School while waiting results and adhere to isolation/quarantine protocols.

Any student who, while at School, becomes unwell or displays symptoms potentially associated with COVID-19 must immediately inform his teacher and report to the Health Centre.

If required, parents will be contacted by the School’s Nurse to collect their son and seek appropriate medical attention.

The School will be notified by the NSW Public Health Unit of any Student who is confirmed COVID-19 positive. Return to School will not be permitted until formal release has been received from the local public health unit or treating physician.

What happens in the event of a shutdown because of a confirmed case of COVID-19?

The School will contact you using the Trinity School App and Email. We have a comprehensive plan for an orderly departure of students from the campus if NSW Health contact us during the School day. It may take up to 2 hours for an orderly departure from the campus. Our advice remains that the risk to children and young people remains low. Please review the School’s In Event of Closure FAQ page.

Will the School be maintaining its cleaning arrangements to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus?

As well as the provision of soap and hand-sanitiser, there will continue to be a rigorous cleaning regime across all campuses, as per AHPPC guidelines, including:

  • clean and disinfect frequently-used high-touch surfaces such as benchtops, desks, doorknobs, taps, and hand rails at regular intervals throughout the day
  • clean and disinfect frequently used objects such as computers, photocopiers and sports equipment
  • provide bins in every classroom and empty them regularly throughout the day
  • thoroughly clean frequently touched points in bathrooms after each recess and at the end of the day

Are the boys being encouraged to practice good hygiene?

Boys will be required and reminded to practise good hygiene as directed for COVID-19. Please support the School in reminding your sons to support these practises:

  • wash hands regularly (before and after eating, using the bathroom, etc)
  • use provided hand sanitiser
  • cover coughs and sneezes with elbow or tissue
  • place tissues straight in the bin
  • avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
  • do not share food and drink
  • do not share personal equipment or stationery
  • do not use mobile phones while at school
  • initiate non-contact greetings
  • limit physical contact in the playground

How is the School managing appropriate physical distancing requirements?

The greatest risk of transmission in the school environment is between adults. Staff and parents alike will be required to maintain physical distancing and the School has made the following changes to a number of arrangements:

Arrival and departure from school

  • Parents should not park and leave their vehicle to access the School premises or access the School via pedestrian gates for the purpose of pick-up and/or drop-off
  • Students being transported to School by private vehicle may only exit/enter the vehicle at designated drop-off and pick-up areas. Parents are not permitted to leave the vehicle
  • Students should, where possible, maintain physical distancing when arriving or departing School and waiting for transport (private and public)

How is physical distancing being managed for students?

Boys will be required and reminded to practise physical distancing. Please support the School in reminding your sons to adhere to the following practises:

  • avoid close-proximity queueing (on entering and leaving classrooms),
  • space out in classrooms as much as possible from other people
  • maintain 1.5m physical distancing from academic and support staff
  • maintain physical distancing when moving between classrooms or activities
  • limit the use of shared equipment or resources
  • limit physical contact during activities
  • submit work electronically for feedback where practicable

Is physical distancing being followed at recess and lunchtime?

Boys will be required and reminded to practise physical distancing. Please support the School in reminding your sons to adhere to the following practises:

  • maintain physical distancing and follow directional markings and signage when queueing
  • not to congregate in common areas during recess and lunch
  • bring an individual water bottle to School for use as water bottle refill stations will be open, however water fountains /bubblers will be closed

Is the cafeteria open at lunchtime?

The Cafeteria and Canteen will be open and is now cashless. Lunch orders may be placed and pre-paid according to the usual process. Purchases made during the day can be paid for in the cafeteria and canteen using either their student ID card which is linked to the family Flexischools account, or now through an EFTPOS transaction using a debit card. Cash will no longer be accepted.

When using the cafeteria, Middle and Senior students are expected to maintain physical distancing and follow directional markings and signage when queueing

For the Preparatory and Junior Schools, lunch can be pre-ordered through Flexischools. Cash payments will not be taken during this time.

Does the instruction not to share food and drink extend to sending in celebratory food to share with my son’s friends, like birthday cake and party bags?

Regretfully, yes. Distributing and sharing food, even on wonderful celebrations like birthdays, is an unnecessary risk in our current climate. Due to our protocols concerning hygiene, boys are not able to celebrate birthdays by bringing items to distribute (eg. cakes, donuts, lolly bags) for the time being. We will advise if and when this restriction is reconsidered.

How will physical distancing be managed during teaching and learning?

  • Smaller classes will be maintained, where possible
  • Avoid close-proximity queuing – enter and exit with 1.5m distancing
  • Student work to be submitted on-line for review rather than physical provision, where practical
  • Where appropriate, some lessons may be conducted outside
  • Class rooming will be reviewed to place larger classes in larger rooms

How will you be managing meetings between parents and Trinity Staff?

Parent/Teacher meetings, or any other required contact with Staff will be conducted through electronic communication or video conferencing. If it is not possible to prevent in person meetings, Parents must follow the physical distancing guidelines and NSW Public Health orders in and around the School premises.

Have any staff or students at Trinity been diagnosed with COVID-19?

Thankfully, no. If the School is notified that a member of staff or a student is diagnosed, and if they have potentially attended school whilst infectious, the School community will be notified and we would expect to be closed for one or two days to enable contact tracing and thorough cleaning.

Will students and staff be required to wear face masks to school?

No. Advice from the Commonwealth Department of Health, NSW Health, and the AHPPC is that face masks are not recommended for general use in the community or in schools. Apart from use by health care workers who are in frequent contact with sick people, face masks are of benefit to people who are sick so they don’t cough on others. Trinity’s approach is to require people who are sick not to come to school. However, students and staff members who feel strongly about wearing a mask can do so and the School accommodates this choice.

Will the School be checking students’ temperature?

Based on AHPPC advice to schools, good hygiene practices and environmental cleaning are more important for reducing risk. AHPPC advice is schools should not conduct wide-scale temperature checking of students as there is limited evidence to demonstrate the value of such checks. If your son is sick or has a temperature, he must not attend School.

Will staff and students be required to download the COVIDSafe app?

The strong recommendation of public health authorities and government is that people should download the COVIDSafe app. The decision whether or not to do this rests with individuals.

What if I am not comfortable to send my son to school for face-to-face learning because I have general concerns about COVID-19?

The School understands and has some sympathy for those concerns; we have all experienced some anxiety during this time. However, by way of reassurance, it is important to note that the public health authorities, the government, and educators all recommend that students attend school. In addition, Trinity has put into place extensive strategies to manage the risks associated with COVID-19, which are detailed on this page. The School will continue to monitor the risks in the weeks and months ahead. Given the likelihood that the coronavirus will be active in Australia for many months to come, holding a child back from school because of general concerns is not sustainable.

What if my son is absent because he is deemed high-risk or vulnerable to COVID-19?

If your son is:

  • high-risk or vulnerable to COVID-19, or
  • living in a household with someone who is vulnerable, or
  • required to self-isolate because of close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19

please make contact with the respective Head of School in the first instance, so we can work out how best to support your son using a separate, case-management approach.

As we have consistently demonstrated, the School will always go over and above to support those boys with particular needs or vulnerabilities.

What if my son is absent because he is sick (unrelated to COVID-19)?

This category of absence will be managed as it always has been; the student’s main responsibility is to recover, and he will then be supported to catch up on work missed. The usual processes for documenting and verifying student absence will take place.

Will ongoing remote learning be available?

Since students should attend school unless unable to do so (see above), the School will not support ongoing remote learning as a parental choice once face to face learning has resumed.

Helpful Links and Information

COVID-19 National Principles for School Education: https://www.dese.gov.au/covid-19/schools/national-principles-for-school-education

The Australian Government has a dedicated COVID-19 Health Information Line, which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week: 1800 020 080

Symptoms of COVID-19: https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/symptoms-and-testing

Information on the COVIDSafe app: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/apps-and-tools/covidsafe-app

 NSW Health FAQs: Do face masks protect against COVID-19? Which face masks?

https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/Pages/frequently-asked-questions.aspx#2-3

The NSW Health websites provide up to date and accurate information in both English and Mandarin.

https://www.health.gov.au/resources/collections/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-resources

NSW Health FAQs:  https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/coronavirus.aspx

Guidance on Home Isolation: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/factsheets/Pages/hubei-contacts-and-travellers.aspx

Federal Government Guidance: https://education.govcms.gov.au/coronavirus-covid-19

The World Health Organisation’s advice for the public can be found here: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

Headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation, funded by the Australian Government Department of Health offers information and advice for maintaining health and wellbeing, as well as coping with stress. Visit: https://headspace.org.au/