COVID-19

Coronavirus advice

Last updated 13 September, 2021


The Victorian Government has announced an easing of restrictions in regional Victoria from 11.59 pm on Thursday 9 September 2021. Restrictions will remain on entry to metropolitan Melbourne.

Current COVID-19 restrictions will continue to apply in metropolitan Melbourne.

A full list of restrictions (as at 11.59 pm Thursday 9 September 2021) is available on the Premier of Victoria website.

On-site schooling and supervision of students - regional Victorian schools

On 8 September 2021, the Premier of Victoria, the Hon. Daniel Andrews, announced that from Friday 10 September 2021, students in Foundation, Year 1, Year 2 and students in Units 3 and 4 VCE and final year VCAL who live in regional Victoria will be allowed to return to on-site face-to-face learning.

Students in Foundation, Year 1, Year 2 and students in Units 3 and 4 VCE and final year VCAL who live in metropolitan Melbourne are not permitted to attend on-site face-to-face learning and will continue with remote learning unless both parents are authorised workers, or the child is assessed as vulnerable.

Students in Grades 3 to 6 and Years 7 to 11 will continue with remote learning, which remains unchanged.

Schools will continue to provide a supervision program for students in those year levels not returning to face-to-face learning, on-site supervision will only be accessible to children who were previously eligible under the vulnerable children or children of authorised workers categories. No additional students in Grades 3 to 6 and Years 7 to 11 will be able to attend on-site.

This is based on the health advice of the Victorian Chief Health Officer, which all schools managed and operated by Diocese of Sale Catholic Education Limited are legally required to follow.

Remote schooling - Casey and Cardinia

All schools in Casey and Cardinia will continue to provide remote and flexible learning except for students in the following categories who are eligible for on-site supervision and care:


Category A

Students where both parents, guardians and/or carers are considered authorised workers who cannot work from home, work for an authorised provider and where no other supervision arrangements can be made:

  • Where there are two parents/guardians/carers, both must be authorised workers, working outside the home in order for their children to be eligible for on-site provision.

  • For single parents/guardians/carers, the authorised worker must be working outside the home in order for their children to be eligible for on-site provision.


Category B

Students experiencing vulnerability, including:

  • in out-of-home care

  • deemed vulnerable by a government agency, funded family or family violence service, and assessed as requiring education and care outside the family home

  • identified by a school or early childhood service as vulnerable, (including via referral from a government agency, or funded family or family violence service, homeless or youth justice service or mental health or other health service)

  • where a parent/carer indicates that a student with a disability is vulnerable because they cannot learn from home, and/or informs the school the student is vulnerable due to family stress, the school must provide on-site supervision for that student.


An Authorised Worker Permit is not required for accessing on-site supervision under Category B.


Students and staff who live in regional Victoria and are enrolled in or work in a school in metropolitan Melbourne will continue with remote and flexible working arrangements in place in metropolitan Melbourne, unless they are eligible under one of the two previous eligibility criteria.

Face masks

Face masks must be worn indoors and outdoors by all people aged 12 years or older, whenever you leave your home, unless an exception applies. Victoria’s public health team are also strongly recommending that primary school aged children, when they are not at home, also wear a mask as an extra precaution against the virus.

Students

Secondary school students 12 years of age and over must wear a face mask indoors and outdoors when attending school, or when attending an Outside School Hours Care Program (OSHC) program, unless an exception applies.

The Victorian Chief Health Officer recommends that children under 12 years of age and students at primary school wear face masks when at school, or when attending an OSHC program.


Staff


Staff in primary and secondary schools must wear a face mask indoors and outdoors when attending school, or when attending an Outside School Hours Care Program (OSHC) program, unless an exception applies.


Staff, including teachers and learning support staff, must wear a face mask while teaching and providing direct support to students wherever practicable, except where removal of a face mask is necessary for effective communication.


Visitors including parents, guardians and carers


Visitors to schools, including parents, guardians, carers, contractors and parish clergy, must observe face mask requirements when attending a school, unless an exception applies.



Public transport


Face masks are mandatory for all school staff and school students aged 12 years or older on public transport and when in taxis or ride share vehicles. Face masks are also recommended for primary school aged students in these settings. This includes travelling to and from school on public transport or in a vehicle with others not from their household.


There are a range of lawful of excuses or exemptions for not wearing a face mask. Further information in relation to these excuses or exemptions is available on the Department of Health website - Face masks - when to wear a face mask.

Electronic record keeping (QR codes)

The use of Service Victoria QR codes for electronic record keeping is mandatory for all schools, to enable the effective contact tracing of any COVID-19 cases.

School playgrounds that are open to the public now require QR check in posters under the Restricted Activity Directions.

The public health intent of including schools in the QR code check-in system is to capture visitors accessing school buildings or indoor facilities, but not those entering the school grounds for reasons such as school pick-up.

QR codes are required to be used by:

  • all visitors, including contractors and volunteers

  • all parents who enter buildings when on the school site.

All visitors and parents must check-in using the QR code system if they enter a school building, even if they are visiting for less than 15 minutes.

QR code check ins are not required to be used by:

  • staff

  • students

  • parents who come onto school grounds for drop off or pick up, but do not enter buildings.

For anyone who is not able to check in with a smartphone or tablet, schools will make reasonable efforts to ensure there is an alternative method to electronically check in to the Victorian Government QR Code Service.

General Achievement Test (GAT) and VCE Examinations

The General Achievement Test (GAT) has been rescheduled and will take place on Tuesday 5 October 2021.

VCE examinations will take place between 4 October and 17 November 2021.

Priority vaccine access for final year staff and students

To help support the safe conduct of end-of-year exams, the Victorian Government has announced a vaccination blitz for final year school students, their teachers and for VCE exam supervisors and assessors.


From Tuesday 7 September 2021 until Friday 17 September 2021, final year students, their teachers and VCE exam supervisors and assessors will have access to priority timeslots to attend their vaccination appointment at a vaccination centre. The vaccination hotline operates from 8.00 am to 8.00 pm and the number is 1800 434 144.

No other staff or students will be able to make a booking using this booking process.


Case locations, outbreaks, and COVID-19 Testing

The Department of Health provides a list of locations where there is a risk that people may have been exposed to COVID-19. It is not a complete list. The information is based on advice provided to the Department of Health by people who are confirmed cases. Risk locations will remain on the list for 14 days from the most recent exposure.

The list of Case alerts - public exposure sites on the Department of Health website should be monitored. If you have been to any of the locations listed at the specified times you should:

  • follow the specific advice listed for that exposure site

  • contact the Department of Health on 1300 651 160. (Due to the large number of exposure sites recently published, there is a significant delay on this phone line.)

Information about COVID-19 testing is available on the Department of Health website, including the location of testing centres.

Health and wellbeing

We encourage all staff and students to continue taking precautions to protect their health and wellbeing.

  • Continue to practice good hand and respiratory (cough/sneeze) hygiene.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or when this is not possible, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser on arrival at school and regularly throughout the day.

  • Do not attend school if you are unwell.

If families need extra support, they should contact their school for a confidential discussion.


People who have any symptoms of COVID-19, however mild, should seek medical advice and get tested immediately. The symptoms to watch out for are:

  • loss or change in sense of smell or taste

  • fever

  • chills or sweats

  • cough

  • sore throat

  • shortness of breath

  • runny nose

In certain circumstances people may also experience headache, muscle soreness, stuffy nose, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.


Staff and families are also encouraged to monitor the Case alerts - public exposure sites on the Department of Health website and follow the requirements in relation to public exposure sites.