Welcome back to term 3. While I am writing this message, I am looking out of my office window at a beautiful clear blue sky while the temperature hovers around low temperatures. Unfortunately, the inclement and freezing weather has increased the number of cases of flu and COVID across Victoria. In order to protect school staff and students’ it is strongly recommended by the Victorian Department of Health that face masks are worn in indoor settings, with face masks mandatory for those aged 8 and over who are household contacts and attending school. This is because the wearing of masks is effective in reducing the transmission of COVID-19.’ Eltham North staff would appreciate it if all visitors to our centre could wear masks.
It is the department’s expectation that, through to the end of winter, students aged 8 and over and staff will wear masks when in class, except where removing a mask is necessary for clear communication or when a particular activity requires the removal of a mask.
Masks are not required to be worn outdoors but can be worn when physical distancing is not possible. This expectation should not constrain student participation in the full range of school activities, including music, sport and performances.
The period of time when someone is considered a recently confirmed case and therefore exempt from testing and isolation requirements has been reduced from the previous 12 weeks to 4 weeks.
This means that staff and children who are household contacts of people with COVID-19 are now required to undertake the testing and isolation requirements from 4 weeks after completing isolation with COVID-19. Previously, this exemption period was 12 weeks.
After the 4-week exemption period, students and staff members who are a household contact of a new COVID-19 case, must follow the rules for household contacts, including reporting this to their school.
As part of this they must take 5 rapid antigen tests (RATs) over 7 days and receive negative test results and wear a face mask (if over 8 years old) in indoor spaces.
Families and staff will also have to report being a household contact to their school after this 4-week period.
We have issued RAT tests to families recently and have a limited supply of student masks available for students who forget to bring a mask to school.
Thank you again for your support for these important measures.