MGC 2021 COVID Safe Practices

2021 COVID Safe Practices

The purpose of this page is to outline how our school will be managing risk to coronavirus
(COVID-19) during Term 1, 2021.

Melbourne Girls’ College is committed to providing a safe learning and working environment for our
students and staff. We ask for all members of the school community to follow these guidelines to
enable us to provide the safest possible environment during this time. We all have a role to play in
reducing the risks relating to coronavirus (COVID-19) in Victoria

Melbourne Girls’ College is following the advice for schools from the Department of Education and
Training which can be found on the Department’s website at: Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The information in this document is subject to change as needed. A review of this document will take
place at the end of term 1 or when the health advice of the DET changes.

These practices relate to everyone in the Melbourne Girls’ College community engaging in on-site
learning or visiting school grounds. This includes all members of staff (principals, teachers and
education support staff), all parents/carers who interact with the school and all students. It also
includes visitors to the school. Information specific to staff only and not directly relevant to students
and their families is not included in this page.

Health and safety at school

Our school follows the Department and Victorian Chief Health Officer’s advice and requirements in
relation to health and safety. The health and safety measures relating to students are outlined below.

These health and safety measures are regularly reviewed in line with the changing context of
coronavirus (COVID-19) in Victoria. As a result, as Term 1 proceeds, some measures may no longer be
required and/or new measures may be introduced.

Unwell students (including students who have been tested)

• Unwell students must stay home.
• Where students have been tested for coronavirus (COVID-19) they are required to isolate at
home and must not attend school until they are both symptom free and have received their
results (provided the result is negative).

Managing unwell students at school

• Students experiencing compatible symptoms with coronavirus (COVID-19), such as fever,
cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, or loss or change of sense of smell or
taste, will be isolated in an appropriate space with suitable supervision and collected by a
parent/carer as soon as possible. Urgent medical attention will be sought where needed.
Unwell students will not be permitted to travel home unsupervised. NOTE: For some people
coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms may also include headache, muscle soreness, stuffy nose,
nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.
• Health care plans, where relevant and required, will be updated to provide additional advice
on monitoring and identification of the unwell child in the context of coronavirus (COVID19).
• If a staff member is unsure whether a student is unwell in the first instance we will contact
the parent/carer to discuss any concerns about the health status of the student, and we will
take a precautionary approach, requesting the parent/carer to collect their child if concerns
remain. A trained staff member may take the temperature of the student, where
appropriate, to support decision-making. Gloves will be worn for the purpose of taking a
temperature.
• Parent/carers of students experiencing compatible symptoms with coronavirus (COVID-19)
will be encouraged to seek the advice of their healthcare professional who can advise on
next steps. Students should not return until symptoms resolve.
Students with underlying conditions (such as hay fever or asthma)
• If a student has persistent symptoms due to an underlying condition such as hay fever or
asthma, the student should still be tested for coronavirus (COVID-19) if they develop
symptoms that are different to or worse than their usual symptoms.
• Parents/carers should also consider getting a medical certificate from the child’s treating GP
to confirm that it is safe for them to attend school with persistent symptoms that may
overlap with some of the symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) such as cough or runny nose.
Managing a suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19)
The Department has comprehensive procedures in place with the Department of Health and Human
Services (DHHS) to manage suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in schools. In
accordance with these procedures:
• We will inform the Department’s Incident Support and Operations Centre if a student (or
staff member) tests positive to coronavirus (COVID-19).
• The Department will then notify WorkSafe on our behalf.
• The school will be advised by DHHS if a student at our school has been identified as a close
contact of a person with coronavirus (COVID-19).

Close contacts are contacted directly by DHHS regarding quarantine and testing; the student should not attend school until they are advised by DHHS that their quarantine has
concluded. Students should bring a copy of the clearance message (text, email or letter) they receive from DHHS indicating that their quarantine period has ended when they return to school. Schools will be asked to confirm to DHHS that the student is not attending school
during this time. If the student is attending school, we are required to send the student
home immediately.

Face masks

As the requirements for face masks may change at short notice, our school will always follow the
advice on the Victorian Government’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) website at:
https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/face-masks-study-and-school

The Victorian Chief Health Officer has directed that:
• Face masks must be worn by individuals over the age of 12 when on public transport and
school buses – unless you have a lawful exemption.
• Individuals over the age of 12 must carry a face mask at all times
• The Victorian Chief Health Officer advises that face masks are recommended for use by staff
and secondary school students when physical distancing of 1.5 metres cannot be maintained.
• A face mask must cover the nose and mouth. Face shields, scarves or bandanas do not meet
these requirements.
• Face masks are required to be worn by students when attending a Year Level assembly.
We will support students wearing face masks in hot weather by encouraging the following steps to
improve comfort:
• keeping hydrated with water
• using a single-use mask, or a reusable face mask made from 100 per cent cotton, for increased
breathability
• washing the reusable mask frequently to maintain effectiveness and bringing a spare so
students can change their masks if it gets damp or wet
• taking mask breaks throughout the day when in settings that do not require them to be worn

Physical distancing

• Wherever possible we will encourage and support physical distancing of students however
the Department and Victorian Chief Health Officer has acknowledged that physical distancing
in schools is practicably difficult to achieve and has not mandated this practice.
• Parents are asked to observe physical distancing requirements (1.5 metres) whenever
dropping off or collecting students from school and must not congregate at the school gate.
• Signage will indicate where there are limitations on the maximum number of members of the
public that may be present in the space at a single time.
• Density limits do not apply to classrooms and other spaces for the purposes of student use,
including corridors and other shared areas.

Hand, food and drink hygiene

• Hand sanitiser will be available at entry points to classrooms and students will be educated
on the importance of this health and safety measure.
• All people on school grounds must undertake regular hand hygiene, particularly on arrival to
school, before and after eating, after blowing their nose, coughing, sneezing or using the
toilet.
• Where shared equipment is necessary, students will be required to exercise strict hand
hygiene before and after use.
• Students are encouraged to bring a water bottle to school and class. Water bottles should not
be shared.
• Students will be encouraged not to share their food.
Air ventilation
• Wherever possible, we will increase fresh air into indoor spaces and maximise the use of
outdoor learning areas and environments.
Temperature checks
• Mandatory temperature testing of all students is no longer required.

Mobile phones

• The Department and school’s mobile phone policies continue to apply and we ask that
students clean their phones regularly.

Health, Wellbeing and inclusions Workforces at school

• Health and wellbeing staff (such as Student Support Services, Koorie Engagement Support
Officers, Visiting Teachers and school nurses) will continue to provide support to students as
required.

Record keeping for contact tracing

• To support contact tracing, we are required to keep a record of the name, contact details,
date and time of attendance of all staff, students and visitors who attend on-site for more
than 15 minutes.
• We are also required to record the areas of the school the person attended.
COVID-19 Safety Management Plan
• Our school follows and implements the Department’s COVID-19 Safety Management Plan,
available at: COVID19 Safety Management Plan.

Attendance

Normal attendance notification requirements apply for all students. Please refer to our school
Attendance Policy for further information.

Attendance and students who may be medically vulnerable

• The Victorian Chief Health Officer has advised that given the current low risk of coronavirus
(COVID-19) transmission in the school community, students with medical vulnerabilities can
feel reassured that they can safely attend learning on school sites. An individual assessment
is always recommended and decisions regarding school attendance should be informed by
the nature of a child or young person’s condition, its severity and intensity of required
treatment. In most cases, the presence of common conditions of childhood, such as asthma,
epilepsy or Type 1 diabetes, should not preclude a student from attending face-to-face
learning.
• In keeping with expert public health advice, some students may be at higher risk for severe
outcomes or complications of coronavirus (COVID-19), for example those with chronic
medical conditions. Any student with a chronic medical condition should seek advice from
their medical practitioner about attending school on site at different stages in the
coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Given most of these conditions are rare in children, it
should be an uncommon event for a child to be determined by a medical practitioner to be
unable to return to school due to an ongoing medical reason raising concerns about
coronavirus (COVID-19), outside of an acute illness.
• Our school will review assessments relating to attendance alongside notable changes to
coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission in Victoria.
Our school records student attendance in accordance with the Department’s Attendance Policy.
School assemblies, graduations and other school gatherings
Face to face assemblies may now resume without limits, provided the assembly has no external
guests.

If an assembly or other event is held with external guests (parents/carers/visitors) then we are required to have an overall attendee limit (inclusive of guests, staff and students) based on available floor space of the venue; with the density limit of one person per two square metres applied. If an event is held exclusively with students and staff from a single school, density limits do not apply to the venue or dancefloor, regardless of whether the event is held at school or at a hospitality venue, entertainment facility or community facilities.

Camps and excursions

Excursions are now permitted across Victoria provided they are conducted in line with specific capacity
limits on venues that are being used.
School camps are also permitted across Victoria.

Sport and recreation

Based on the Department and Victorian Chief Health Officer advice and requirements as at 20 January
2021:
• Indoor and outdoor contact and non-contact sport are now permitted, including interschool
sports.
• Playground and sports equipment can be used by students. However, students must practise
hand hygiene before and after use.
• Swimming pool use in the community can occur.

Instrumental classes and music activities

All music activities and instrumental classes are now permitted without specified limits.

Food technology

Food preparation can continue with frequent hand hygiene and no sharing of food

Café

Our school canteen will only be open for purchasing food in Term 1 and will operate with the highest
hygiene practices.

Visitors

Limitations on who can visit school premises no longer apply but our school must comply with density
limits of one person per two square metres when external guests are in attendance.

To support contact tracing we are required to keep a record of all visitors who attend on-site for longer
than 15 minutes. Visitors to school grounds must comply with physical distancing and face mask
requirements and practise good hand hygiene.

School buses and transport

Students 12 years and older must wear face masks whilst travelling.
Students should:
• practice hand hygiene before and after catching any form of public or school transport.
• Not use transport if unwell
Physical distancing should be practised by both parents and students at bus stops, interchange
locations and train stations.

Communication between parents/carers and our school

Parents and carers are encouraged to contact the relevant Year Level leader to discuss any concerns
or areas of need in regards to their child’s learning, health, wellbeing or access to teaching and learning resources.

Cleaning and facilities management

At our school we follow the Department’s requirements relating to school cleaning and undertake
daily end-of-school-day cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces.

Further information and resources

• DET Coronavirus (COVID-19) website:
o https://www.education.vic.gov.au/school/Pages/coronavirus-advice-schools.aspx
• DHHS Coronavirus (COVID-19) website:
o https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus
• DET Infectious Diseases Policy:
o https://www2.education.vic.gov.au/pal/infectious-diseases/policy
• DET Health Care Needs Policy:
o https://www2.education.vic.gov.au/pal/health-care-needs/policy
• Talking to your child about COVID-19:
o https://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/about/department/covid-19/talkingto-your-child-during-coronavirus.docx
• Department of Education and Training COVID-19 Advice Line – 1800 338 663
• Department of Health and Human Services Coronavirus hotline – 1800 675 398 (24 hours, 7
days a week)