COVID-19 in Term 3 – August 14th Update

Expected new health advice, ongoing precautions and COVID-19

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COVID-19 in Term 3 – August 14th Update

Expected new health advice, ongoing precautions and COVID-19

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

14th August, 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, the School has been advised that NSW Health will be announcing further measures aimed at minimising the risk of COVID-19 transmission in school communities for the duration of Term 3.

Public health authorities perceive that the State is on a ‘knife edge’ with reference to the pandemic. The next month is seen to be crucial.

All current COVID-19 safety measures will continue at Trinity, with the following updates expected that will impact

  • sport
  • music
  • co-curricular activities
  • events involving parents
  • overnight camps

Given the potential significance of these changes, the School has decided to make these impacts known to the community as soon as possible. Please read this page carefully.

Choirs and Music

Will choirs and group singing take place?

Sadly, no. All choirs and group singing will cease.

What about music ensembles?

Music ensembles involving wind instruments will cease.

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.

Inter-school sport

Will we continue Inter-school sport?

Further restrictions are expected for inter-school and community sport. They are not expected to impact sport on the weekend of 15/16 August, but it is highly likely that there will be no further IPSHA or CAS winter sporting competition beyond this weekend.

Co-curricular activities

Will Co-curricular activities continue?

The new guidelines are expected to restrict school activities that involve interaction between students from different schools. Information about any changes associated with this will be provided in due course.

Events involving parents

Will parent-student School events be held?

The new guidelines are expected to 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. The School is continuing to consider how we might appropriately farewell our senior 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 current Year 9 Field Studies Programme will conclude on Friday 14th August. The next Year 9 Field Studies Programme, which was scheduled to start on Monday 17th August, will be postponed for at least a week, until the new guidelines have been established and implemented. More information will be provided to the families of boys in this Programme in the near future.

ONGOING COVID-19 SAFETY MEASURES

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

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

AHPPC advice to schools 24/04/2020: https://www.health.gov.au/news/australian-health-protection-principal-committee-ahppc-advice-on-reducing-the-potential-risk-of-covid-19-transmission-in-schools-24-april-2020

 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/