Principal’s Update: Back-to-school plan – 31 January 202231/01/2022
Dear parents and carers,
I hope you and your families have enjoyed a relaxing holiday break.
As we prepare to welcome students back to our school this week, the Victorian Government has announced some new measures for the beginning of the 2022 school year across all Victorian schools. Please understand that there are issues arising due to the impact of COVID, relating to deliveries etc.
Free rapid antigen tests
Free rapid antigen tests will be available for the first four weeks of Term 1 2022.
The Department of Health is strongly recommending that students complete a test, supplied, twice a week to help proactively identify any cases, reducing the risks of an outbreak.
Unfortunately, we have not received enough tests for every student to this point. Not all year levels will receive their tests until more arrive. On Tuesday 1 February the students at St Mary’s will receive their test pack.
As we have limited tests, we are unable to supply all students with medical needs with a test kit. We would like our next priority to be students with medical needs at Coolock. Those families urgently requiring a test kit please complete the RA Tests for students who are medically vulnerable form. Parents and carers will be notified by SMS on the day tests are being sent home.
Once we receive more RA Tests, they will be widely distributed to the Coolock students also and families notified by SMS on the day tests are being sent home.
Students and staff will do the tests at home; they only need to report their result if it is COVID-positive. They must report a COVID-positive result to:
- The College via PAM – Parent Notified Absence or by calling the College on 5445 9100 (normal notification of absence).
- The Department of Health via the COVID-19 Positive Rapid Antigen Test Self-Reporting Form or call centre on 1800 675 398.
Reporting a COVID-positive result is so that we can support students, record that they will be absent while in 7-day isolation and let the rest of the school community know there has been a positive case onsite and that they should monitor for symptoms.
Information about how to do a test and how to read RAT results, including a how-to video translated into 33 languages, is available online.
Keeping our community informed
If a student or staff member returns a positive COVID-19 test result, and has attended the College, the affected cohort will be notified by email. The privacy of the student or staff member will be maintained. Daily information will be posted each evening on the COVID-19 Updates page of the CMC website and those families directly impacted will be contacted.
Parents and carers must have had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine or have a valid medical exception (with limited exceptions) to enter school buildings.
COVID-19 vaccinations for students are not required for them to attend school but vaccination for students is highly encouraged. If your child has not yet had their first dose, please try to organise this as soon as possible. For more information on how to book a vaccination, including important information about vaccination for children aged 5 to 11, visit the Vaccination information for children and teenagers page on the coronavirus.vic.gov.au website.
We will also make sure that classrooms are well ventilated by opening windows and doors, to minimise the risk of infection. We have received air purifiers, which will be used around the school as an added safety measure.
Vital COVID-safe steps
Hand hygiene, mask wearing, and social distancing will continue wherever possible in Term 1.
Masks are to be worn in the classroom, other indoor spaces and on buses. It is recommended to wear a mask outside if you can’t physically distance. Please ensure that your child always has a mask and a spare. The College has been sent masks; however, they are not the recommended model.
For the first four weeks of term, only essential education activities will take place. Non-classroom-based activities and extra-curricular activities, including camps and excursions, will not go ahead. There will be further advice after we commence and establish a clear context of the impact of COVID.
Staffing our school
Many have questions about what happens if one of their child’s teachers contracts COVID-19. While there may be some disruption due to staff absences, we will endeavour to bring in extra teachers and other staff if we need them and will be doing everything that we can to make sure our school stays safe and open.
Please note that there have been changes to this area through the break. It is important that we all follow the directions and are wary of students moving through the space at a new checkpoint created to provide safe access into the campus from St Vincent’s Road.
West Wing at Coolock
Unfortunately, the College has been informed this morning that the new facility is still to receive a Certificate of Occupancy. The students will not be able to access the building until the site is approved and then handed back to the school, fit for purpose. A contingency has been generated for the Year 9 students for the interim. We apologise for this inconvenience; however, it is a matter beyond our control.
Year 9 student lockers
Due to transport issues, the scheduled arrival of Year 9 lockers has been delayed. Year 9 students are required to bring ONLY their laptop and class materials for each day. We will let students and families know when this is resolved.
Feel free to contact us to clarify any concerns you may have on 5445 9100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
There’s no doubt that this term is going to be challenging for all of us, but we are also very excited to kick off the school year and welcome back all our students to on-campus learning.
Thank you for your continued support.
Mr Brian Turner, Principal
Rapid Antigen Self-Tests_ A Quick Guide