COVID-19 Safety Plan, March 2022
This plan has been revised to reflect the current understanding of risks associated with the community transmission of Covid-19. We are conscious that recommendations are likely to change, our plans will change with such advice.
In early December a new variant of Covid, was announced. This variant, Omicron, is said to be more transmissible but possibly a less severe variant than the previous Delta and Alpha variants.
Tasmania has been relatively free of Covid since March 2020, which other Australian states have had more significant case numbers. The Tasmanian Govt, like their interstate counterparts have used isolation as the predominate defence against Covid since the original outbreak in 2020. With high uptake of vaccinations, now reaching over 90% of the eligible population that defence strategy is changing.
On December 15 Tasmania opened its borders to mainland states and overseas travellers, with the expectation that the virus would come with them. We are told by the Department of Health (DoH) that vaccinated individuals are only likely to get mild symptoms from the virus, but that unvaccinated individuals remain at risk. We are also told that the young remain less at risk that the elderly or individuals with underlying health issues.
State and National Departments of Health recommend that all adults and children over 5 be vaccinated.
Whilst vaccines are the latest defence against Covid-19, there are multiple other defences that are still recommended and or required by the DoH. Physical distancing, surface cleaning, mask wearing, isolating if a close contact, getting tested, and contact tracing are all recommended strategies for reducing rapid transmission in the community.
Tarremah has a diverse community of children and adults from under 12 months old to over 60 years. The health and wellbeing of that community is our primary concern. The school endeavours to follow all public health advice to provide the best learning and working environment for students, staff and parents.
Tarremah has almost 300 students, 100 in Secondary School in the 12-16 year age group, 150 in the Primary School in the 6-12 age group and 50 in the early years, under the age of six. Tarremah has 66 staff members, aged 20 – 65.
Tarremah’s population includes a number of students and adults with underlying health conditions or disabilities.
The health and wellbeing of students and staff is our highest priority. Accordingly, the School will implement the following mitigation measures to provide a Covid-Safe environment, these include many of those used in 2021.
Cleaning and Hygiene
The entire school is cleaned daily by contract cleaners. See Appendix 1 for the daytime cleaning schedule.
Hand sanitiser is available from automatic dispensers at the door of every classroom, reception, the staffroom and all shared spaces. Staff and students are expected to sanitise their hands before entering rooms, all visitors to Reception are required to use hand sanitiser on entry. Teachers will remind students to wash or sanitise their hands as often as is practicable (at each break and after using the bathroom is minimum).
Posters on how to wash hands are on display in all bathrooms and in the staff rooms. Posters on how to limit the spread of germs are placed in each classroom, reception and the staff rooms.
Restrictions on Entry to the Workplace
Persons who have been instructed to stay in isolation or quarantine may not enter the workplace. Posters will remind staff, students and parents.
All staff have been instructed to stay at home if they are unwell.
Parents have been asked to keep their children at home if they are unwell. Students who are unwell and arrive at school will be sent home immediately. Students who become unwell at school will be sent home immediately. Students who are unwell are to remain in their classroom wearing a face-mask until they are collected. Parents are required collect their child within 60 minutes, if contacted by the school to do so. Parents are also required to provide two emergency contacts who would be able to collect a child within 60 minutes, if the parents were not contactable.
Children experiencing hay fever symptoms may attend school if a doctor’s certificate is provided.
All visitors to sign in/out to enable tracing of potential exposure to COVID-19
It is important that staff and students can be social. When socialising, all adults are asked to make use of all available space.
Classrooms will be arranged to maximise the space between each student. Students are not expected to physically distance from one another.
Staff are encouraged to use areas other than staff rooms to take their breaks. Possibly preparing a drink or food and eating outside. Teachers will have priority using staff rooms during student break times. Teacher Aides may take breaks at times other than student break times.
Administration staff may be asked to take breaks at times other than student break times and Teacher Aide break times.
Parents are requested to respect the School’s protocols and assist in their implementation.
Parents of ECC and Primary students are welcome to collect their children from the classroom, however we ask that parents only spend minimal time on campus.
As directed by the Department of Health, staff, Secondary Students and any adults visiting the campus are required to wear face masks indoors. Teachers may remove their mask if required to assist clear communication.
Teaching will occur outdoor as much as practicable. Parents have been asked to dress their children appropriately for outdoor learning.
Face masks are available in Reception.
Windows and doors will be opened wherever possible to allow for ventilation. Where practical, external doors to bathrooms will be kept open during the day.
Following advice from the Department of Health (DoH), the School has not mandated vaccinations for staff or students, except in Silvereye which operates under the regulations of the ‘Education and Care Unit’, where vaccinations are required for adults unless exempt. For their own health and that of those around them, the DoH has recommended that all adults and children over 5 years of age are fully vaccinated.
Rapid Antigen Testing
Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) are provided to all families.
RATs are available in Reception.
The DoH has defined a ‘close contact’ as:
- someone who lives with or stays overnight in the same premises as a confirmed case (which is someone who has tested positive for COVID 19 using a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) or Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test)
- someone who has spent more than 4 hours in a residential setting with a confirmed case during their infectious period* (over a 24 hour period)
*The infectious period of a case is two days prior to developing symptoms or two days prior to when they tested positive if they did not have symptom until release from isolation.
Close contacts are required to test immediately after being identified as a close contact.
People who have recovered from COVID-19 in the last twelve weeks are not considered to be close contacts and do not need to get tested or quarantine. If it has been more than 12 weeks since you had COVID-19, normal rules apply again and you will be considered a close contact if you meet the above definitions.
Students or staff who are a close contact must inform the School that they are a close contact and can attend if they:
- have no symptoms
- test negative daily
- wear a facemask if Secondary student or staff member
They are no longer considered a close contact if they test negative on Day 6
If you have COVID-19 symptoms, you must stay at home and get tested. If you test COVID-19 positive, you must isolate for seven days.
Any child, student or staff member who spent more than four hours cumulative (in any 24-hour period) in the same room as a case during the case’s infectious period, in a school or early education and care setting.
Responding to COVID-19 in the School
Parents are required to notify the School if their child has tested positive for COVID-19. If a parent reports a child being absent due to illness, the Receptionist will contact the parent to ascertain the cause of the illness.
All staff members are required to notify the School if they test positive for COVID-19.
If a student or staff member has tested positive for COVID-19, school contacts are identified and they (or their parents/carers) are notified. (See Appendix 2)
All cases must stay away from the School for their isolation period.
A Group Outbreak is where 5 or more students and/or staff members in one class test positive for COVID-19 within 7 days of each other.
A School Outbreak is where three or more Group Outbreaks occur within 7 days of each other.
If a class is designated to have had a ‘Group Outbreak’ every student in, or teacher of that class will need to:
- Take a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT), regardless of whether they have symptoms, and continue to re-test every two days for a total of three tests in a seven day period. The students and teacher are still able to come to school so long as they have returned a negative test result. We would require confirmation of this negative result by email (email@example.com) by 8am every second morning.
- The student/staff member must stay at home if they have a positive RAT or have symptoms.
If the RAT returns a positive result please:
- Student/staff must stay at home and follow the instructions on the Tasmanian Government COVID-19 website.
- Register the RAT result with Public Health using their online declaration form or phone the Public Health Hotline 1800 671 738.
- Let the school know for attendance records and learning support.
Should a ‘School Outbreak’ occur, all students and staff from every class are required to follow the procedure for a Group Outbreak.
Standing Down an Outbreak
A group outbreak is stood down after seven days and recommended testing has been completed AND when there are fewer than five active cases in the group.
A school outbreak is stood down after seven days and recommended testing has been completed AND when there are fewer than three active group outbreaks.