This page provides advice to parents and school communities about Catholic education’s response to COVID-19 (coronavirus) and is updated on an ad hoc basis as new information comes to hand.
Please be advised that this is a rapidly evolving situation and therefore advice to school communities will change quickly. Parents should pay attention to all information and advice from their child’s school relating to their community’s response to coronavirus.
Updates – Tuesday 31 March 2020
As per the latest government advice, gatherings are now restricted to no more than 2 people except for members of your immediate household and for work or education.
Under the Stage 3 restrictions, which came into effect at 11:59pm Monday 30 March 2020, what was previously advice about staying home is now enforceable. Stage 3 restrictions will be in place for 4 weeks and reviewed as required. If people breach these directions, they face on-the-spot fines of $1,652 for individuals and $9,913 for businesses. Larger fines can also be issued through the courts.
In Victoria there are now only 4 reasons to be out:
- Shopping for what you need – food and essential supplies
- Medical, care or compassionate needs
- Exercise in compliance with the public gathering requirements
- Work and study if you can’t work or learn remotely
For many Victorians this is an economic crisis as well as a health crisis. A moratorium on evictions will be introduced for the next 6 months for residential and commercial tenants who are experiencing financial distress due to the impact of coronavirus. This will apply across all states and territories.
Can I still go outside with my children? Can we play in the park?
You can go outside with your children for the purposes of exercise and fresh air. This does not mean that you should spend the day outside because everyone who can stay home must stay home. This is absolutely essential to slow the spread of the virus, protect our health system and save lives.
Playgrounds, public exercise equipment, and skate parks are now closed.
Updates – Wednesday 25 March 2020
Last Monday, the Victorian Government, with the support of the Chief Health Officer, announced additional steps to combat the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), including bringing forward the school holidays in Victoria to commence from Tuesday 24 March.
School staff are continuing to work this week and to plan for continuity of student learning in the event of schools being closed.
Please contact your school directly for advice on arrangements for the commencement of Term 2.
Catholic education and coronavirus
The first priority of Catholic schools is the health and safety of the students in their care.
Catholic schools are well-prepared for the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus).
Catholic education is working with the government and independent school sectors, and acting on the latest advice provided by the Australian and Victorian Chief Medical Officers to the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria Ltd, to ensure that our practices are helping to keep our school communities safe from the outbreak.
As parents, you have a critical role in helping the school manage this situation:
- Exercise good judgment by keeping children home if they are feeling unwell for any reason
- Talk to children about the situation, as they may be feeling anxious or stressed. You have a key role in helping students feel prepared and safe
- Encourage children to be proactive and committed to their schoolwork, and to stay connected with the school and their teachers.
Updated travel restrictions
Visitors who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents, or their dependants, are not permitted to enter Australia.
Australians returning from overseas are required to self-isolate for 14 days. Parents, guardians or carers should ensure that any child returning from overseas is isolated at home and should not attend school until 14 days after they returned to Australia.
This advice also applies to any impacted staff.
The Australian Government advises all Australians not to travel overseas at this time.
Exemptions for Year 11 and 12 students
The Victorian Minister for Education, James Merlino, and the Chief Health Officer (along with federal Ministers for Education and Health) announced that international students who are in Year 11 and 12 and enrolled in VCE studies in Victoria may be exempt from travel restrictions from mainland China if they meet strict criteria set by the government.
If this applies to your child, please contact your school for more information.
If a child, student or staff member is or has had contact with a confirmed case
If you think a child, student or staff member is a confirmed case or has been in close contact with a confirmed case, contact DHHS on 1300 651 160 to discuss what to do next.
DHHS defines ‘close contact’ as someone who has either:
- had at least 15 minutes of face-to-face contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19)
- shared a closed space for more than two hours with someone who is a confirmed case.
Unless you have a child, student or staff member in one of the two above categories, you do not need to take further action.
If your child is a confirmed case or has been in close contact with a confirmed case, please inform their school.
Start of Term 2
School staff will return on Tuesday 14 April. This will be a pupil free day.
Students will return on Wednesday 15 April.
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer will advise on whether the transition to flexible and remote learning and support should commence on the first student day of Term 2 closer to the time.
You should check your school’s website or newsletters/correspondence closer to the date to see what arrangements are in place for the start of Term 2.
Education Ministers have decided that NAPLAN testing will not proceed for 2020. Read the announcement.
This decision was made in recognition of the disruption caused to schools by coronavirus (COVID-19). This has created additional work as teachers prepare for the possibility that schools will need to move to more flexible learning programs, including remote learning.