We had recently implemented a range of safety measures given the uncertainty of positive cases numbers, the behaviour of the current strain of the virus, and in response to the health and wellbeing advice for schools. We thank you for your support over this recent fortnight as we implemented these measures. As such, our review of processes has led to the following adjustments to our safety measures, effective from Monday 8 August:
Masks Masks are an effective way of minimising the transmission of respiratory diseases. In response to NSW Health advice and the current COVID-19 situation in the state, the Minister for Education and Early Learning has strongly encouraged mask-wearing indoors for all school-based staff and for all students, particularly during the first 4 weeks of Term 3. We will no longer mandate mask-wearing for secondary students but will align mask wearing for all students to a ‘strongly recommended’ status. This mask-wearing ‘blitz’ will help to reduce the risk of transmission events in our schools and keep our schools operational to support our students’ learning, as per the advice of NSW Health.
Masks continue to be mandatory on public transport for students 12 years and older when travelling to and from school and during school excursions by public transport or by chartered transport services, including school owned transport such as mini buses. The school may mandate masks for younger students where mitigation strategies such as physical spacing and fresh airflow cannot be provided, for example, on extended bus trips – parents will be informed where this is the case.
In line with the latest advice from NSW Health, masks are recommended for students and staff who have recovered from COVID-19, completed their 7-day isolation period and are no longer showing symptoms for an additional 3 days (from days 8 – 10 after receiving a positive COVID-19 result).
Since yesterday’s correspondence and upon receiving even further advice, we have updated our Covid-19 safety plans to include the following measures to ensure the safety of all staff and students of PCS as far as is possible. Please read each of these points carefully as they apply to your child/ren in different parts of the school. Measures include:
• Years K-6 strongly encouraging mask-wearing indoors for all students
• Years 7-12 requiring mask-wearing for all students indoors for all students. Please ensure that all students have a mask from home each day readily available to use. The school has limited capacity to provide these for students and we keep stocks for emergencies, not to issue regularly. Students will not be permitted in classes without their own mask.
• All Years K-12 requiring masks to be worn on all public and PCS bus services
• requiring the use of rapid antigen testing (RAHT) of all students and staff who have Covid-19 symptoms or are identified as close contacts - please see below for Close Contact information below.
A list of symptoms and additional information about Covid-19 can be found byclicking here.
• that when symptoms occur at any time, your child should not attend school and should undertake a rapid antigen test (RAHT). If the test comes back negative, the student should not return to school until either the student no longer has symptoms, or they can provide a medical certificate to the school confirming that symptoms are explained by another diagnosis, e.g. allergies.
• maximising natural ventilation indoors
• encouraging regular handwashing and/or sanitising
• enhancing cleaning regimes, including student desks and spaces
• assessing risk and applying appropriate safeguards for co-curricular activities and events
• minimising large gatherings
• moving all Student Learning Conferences online, including those scheduled for Years 7-10 on August 4.
Year 12 students – Special Considerations – Additional RAHT Requirements
We will require all Year 12 students to use a Rapid Antigen Home Test each Monday and Wednesday before they arrive to school. Students must only come to school where they return a negative test. Additional tests will be issued to all Year 12 students on Day 1 of term.
Again, I thank you for your attention to all that is raised here. It is essential that we all work together as a community to keep one another safe. There are many in our community who are immunocompromised, and we owe it to them to do all we can to stay safe. Additionally, particularly for our Year 12 students, we need to minimise disruptions as they prepare for Trial HSC examinations and their final weeks of learning in class.
Please do not hesitate to contact Student Reception should you have any further questions about the measures being put in place. We will provide updates as often as required or as the situation changes, and we pray that these measures will be as temporary as possible.
Advice by the Association of Independent Schools NSW of COVID-safe practices that apply to schools. These and other risk management measures form part of our overall COVID Risk Management Plans to ensure that staff and students are as safe as possible. These measures include:
Any student or staff member who tests positive to COVID-19 is required to follow NSW Health requirements under the Public Health Order for testing positive and self-isolation.
Currently, the requirements are:
Staff and students who return a positive RAHT result must register it on the Service NSW app or service.nsw.gov.au website as soon as possible.
Staff and students who receive a positive PCR or RAHT result must tell their school as soon as possible and follow NSW Health advice.