COVID-19 isolation requirements have changed
Any student or staff member who tests positive to COVID-19 must now isolate for a minimum of 5 days instead of 7. If they are asymptomatic, they may return to school on day 6. If they are symptomatic, they must remain in isolation until day 7. If they have symptoms after 7 days, they are strongly advised to stay home until their symptoms have resolved.
As an additional risk mitigation, the Department of Health strongly recommends that those leaving isolation wear a face mask when away from home, both indoors and outdoors, and when they cannot physically distance. Those leaving isolation on day 6 should wear a mask for 5 days but particularly the first 2 days. Those leaving isolation on day 7 should wear a mask for 4 days but particularly the first 2 days.
Those leaving isolation should consider taking a rapid antigen test before attending school.
Face Masks in Schools
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.
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.
Household contacts attending school who are over 8 years of age are required to wear face masks indoors unless they have a valid exception.
Household contacts (close contacts)
Where a student is a household contact of a positive case (that is, they have spent more than four hours with someone who has COVID-19 inside a house, accommodation, or care facility) they must inform the school. Household and household-like contacts are no longer required to quarantine as long as they take additional safety measures in the 7 days that would have been their quarantine period. If household contacts do not undertake the safety measures they are required to isolate and test on Day one and Day 6 of isolation. Household contacts are required to inform the school that they are attending during the 7 day period.
Students who return a positive RAT result during this period must isolate for 7 days and not attend school. Students who have symptoms and test negative should stay at home and only return to school when they are well.
What to do if you test positive
A COVID positive result must be reported to:
- the school by phone, written communication or the RA Test Portal; this is so the school can support them, 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
- the Department of Health via the COVID-19 Positive Rapid Antigen Test Self-Reporting Form or call centre on 1800 675 398.
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.
Thank you to all families who have had their child vaccinated. Vaccination is highly encouraged and continues to remain the best way to protect students and staff in our school.
Getting vaccinated is easy and bookings can be done via the coronavirus website. If you have any questions about the vaccines, please speak to your GP or a health practitioner.
Exemptions for testing and isolation
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.
Vaccinations for Visitors
Parents, carers and other adult visitors are no longer required to show evidence of 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine if not performing work or volunteering at the school. Information about vaccination requirements for volunteers is available at COVID-19 Vaccinations - Visitors and Volunteers on School Sites.
The best tool we still have to manage the spread of Covid remains isolating when we have symptoms related this disease.
The symptoms to watch out for are:
- chills or sweats
- sore throat
- shortness of breath
- runny nose
- loss or change in sense of smell or taste.
Some people may also experience headache, muscle soreness, stuffy nose, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Please, do not send your child to school if they display these symptoms. If students present at school with these symptoms the current advice for a symptomatic person in the community who is experiencing Covid-19 symptoms should undertake a Covid-19 PCR test as soon as possible.
I fully understand for families managing work commitments that having to continually leave work or take time of work can be frustrating. However, we need your support in managing the prompt collection of students if they do display the mentioned symptoms at school. This can also be a timely reminder for families to have up to date Emergency Contact details. If parents are at work we will happily use an emergency contact to collect students. Simply put students who display symptoms related to Covid-19 as listed above are not to attend school.
Coronavirus Hotline - 1800 675 398