COVID Update

04 February 2022

With a number of schools in Perth being affected by COVID cases, I have received a number of emails from concerned parents/caregivers in respects to what would happen in the event of a positive COVID case being reported in our school.

In short, the advice from the Department is that there will be no 'blanket'/one-size-fits-all response that will be applied across all schools, as the nature of the outbreak will be different in each circumstance e.g. Is it a staff member? Is it a student? What has the level of contact/exposure been? School characteristics also come into the equation. A small wheat-belt school will more than likely be treated differently to a large metro secondary school as opposed to a remote community school in the Gibson Desert. This being said, there are a few commonalities that will apply in each instance e.g. cleaners being brought in to undertake a 'deep' clean, notification provided to parents/caregivers etc.

In the event of a reported positive COVID case in our school, I will notify our Regional Office, who will in turn assist the school to liaise with the COVID-19 Incident Management Team (IMT) in Central Office. The COVID-19 IMT will seek further information from the school in order to inform the Health Department, as this will inform the Chief Health Officer's (CHO) response.

Based on the circumstances, the CHO will advise the Department/school about the appropriate level of response- which, again, will differ depending on the individual circumstances. All the associated responses will flow naturally as a consequence of the CHO's decision e.g. Do we close selected classes? The whole school? What about siblings of students who are in a COVID affected room? How will the school ensure the continuity of learning? Whilst each school will not know the specific conditions that are being set by the CHO until things come to pass, each school has developed contingency plans to cover most eventualities.

As has always been the case since the pandemic began in early 2020, Connect will be the medium by which we communicate with the school community and ensure the continuity of the Teaching and Learning program. In order to ensure that our database is completely up-to-date and parents/caregivers are able to access Connect with ease, the school will send out some test messages next week. By parents/caregivers opening the test message, we will be able to see from our end who has been able to access the messages and to identify any potential issues. A SMS from the school will also be sent out at the same time to alert our school community to the fact that the test message has been sent. The SMS will ask you to open the Connect message to check on connectivity. In the event that you are unable to open the message, or alternatively, do not receive the Connect message at all, please contact the school via email.

As a consequence of the outbreaks this week, the Department is currently reviewing its operational guidelines for a range of regular school activities where people gather in numbers e.g. assemblies, school camps, interschool carnivals, parent-teacher evenings etc. In the event that the policy settings change, and ultimately affect what we have planned as a school, I will send out a Connect message to inform the school community of the nature of the changes.

Lastly, it goes without saying that in the event that a student or family member tests positive to COVID, it is imperative that you inform the school immediately.