Updated: 15 May 2020

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Phase Two in Catholic schools

When will Phase Two begin?

From 18 May, all Catholic school students in Western Australia are required to attend school unless they are unwell or have a medical referral to engage in their learning from home.

This decision aligns with WA Government advice and has been informed by the results of a comprehensive School Readiness Review undertaken by Catholic Education Western Australia on Monday 11 May.

As the health and safety of all students and staff remains our highest priority, additional cleaning and hygiene measures are in place and some school practices have been altered to comply with advice regarding social distancing.

Knowing this is a uniquely challenging time for all of us, Catholic schools will continue to focus on the care and wellbeing of students, staff and families as we journey together to manage the risks of COVID-19 in our community.

Who is required to attend school?

All students are required to attend school from 18 May unless they are unwell, have a medical referral to learn from home or live with a family member who is medically vulnerable.

Students with a medical condition Students may continue to learn from home if they are immune-compromised or are otherwise considered at-risk medically.

  • Parents who plan to keep their child home to continue learning remotely are asked to seek medical advice and will be required to provide medical evidence to the school. Students approved to learn from home will continue to be supported in their learning.
  • Where a student’s pre-existing medical condition is already known to the school, no medical evidence is required.
What if my child is unwell?

Students who are unwell should stay home. Parents are asked to seek medical advice if their child exhibits symptoms of COVID-19. Normal processes for advising the school of a child’s absence will apply for any parent who keeps their child home.

What if we have a medically vulnerable family member?

Students may continue to learn from home if a member of their immediate family is immune-compromised or medically vulnerable.

  • Parents who plan to keep their child home to continue learning remotely are asked to contact the school Principal and provide medical evidence to support their request.

Sending children to school

Why is it important for children to attend school?
  • WA’s Chief Health Officer wrote to all schools in April to confirm that schools are safe for staff and students and from Week 4, Monday 18 May 2020, all students are required to attend school.
  • It is important for students to be physically connected with their school, staff and classmates.
  • Every day away from engaged learning has a negative impact on student outcomes.
  • The School Education Act 1999 states the requirement that: A student must attend on the days on which the school is open for instruction.
  • When a student is enrolled in a school, it is compulsory for them to attend every day of the instructional program.
  • Students whose parents and carers choose to keep them at home, without medical reason, will be marked as absent.
  • All the evidence supports regular attendance as being critical to educational outcomes. There is no educationally safe level of absence.
Should parents and caregivers enter schools when they drop off thier child?

Parents and caregivers are advised that they are not permitted to exit their vehicles when dropping off or collecting their children. If parents and caregivers are walking their children to and from school, they should undertake their drop-off or pick-up at the designated drop-off and collection points where a staff member will be arranged for younger students (Three-Year-Old Program, Pre-primary and Kindergarten) and students with disability.

Will schools provide learning programs for students at home without a medical referral?

No. For students who are absent without a medical referral, there is no expectation for the school to continue to provide learning programs or work packages.

Will I have to pay school fees if I am facing significant financial stress due to COVID-19?

The ongoing enrolment of every child in our school is guaranteed, regardless of a parent’s financial circumstances. 

If parents or caregivers have concerns in this regard, please contact your school Principal directly to confidentially discuss financial support arrangements. 

For more information on the options, which are immediately available to all families with children in Catholic schools, please click here

Health and hygiene practices in schools

How will you keep my child safe?

The health, safety and wellbeing of students and staff will remain our first priority.  

Additional cleaning measures are in place in all schools. 

Schools will adhere to all previously published requirements to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff is maintained, including strict physical distancing practices. 

Child protection measures will also continue to be at the forefront of all undertakings and  staff will be adhering to their Code of Conduct obligations, as always. 

Unwell students or staff are to remain at home until they are well.  

Assemblies, excursions, interschool activities and school-based co-curricular activities will not recommence until advice is received from the Department of Health that it is safe to do so.  

What if there is a confirmed case in a school or our school community?

In the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19, any temporary school closure will be advised by the Department of Health and the school will enact its Six Step Response Plan before the school is reopened.

What about school facilities such as the canteen, library and swimming pool?

School canteens will continue to provide a takeaway service and may provide limited dine-in service for up to 20 people, where they meet physical distancing requirements.

School libraries are able to operate with staff and supervisors observing required physical distancing.

School swimming pool access is permitted for up to 20 people in total, ensuring physical distancing, health and hygiene practices are observed.

Is the uniform shop open?

Due to the variable arrangements in place at schools, parents and caregivers are asked to contact the school to determine arrangements for their school uniform shop. Where a uniform shop is open, the following considerations will apply:

  • Until further notice, children should not be ‘trying on’ uniforms for fitting purposes
  • Where possible, parents should have the opportunity to make a specific appointment time to attend the uniform shop to avoid excessive numbers of people gathering in the store, if this is not possible, restrictions should be in place to limit the number of people in the store to allow for appropriate physical distancing
  • If parents are unable to access new uniforms for their children they should contact the school to discuss.
  • Increased cleaning and hygiene practices are in place to ensure that uniform shops meet the required AHPPC guidelines.

WACE and NAPLAN

What happens if the WACE gets interrupted? 

Students in Years 11 and 12 are a priority and the School Curriculum and Standards Authority (SCSA) has made it clear that any disruption to learning caused by COVID-19 will not impact on the end of school outcomes for any student. 

What about NAPLAN?

All NAPLAN testing has been cancelled for 2020

 

Parents and Carers

What can parents and carers do to help?

Parents and caregivers can help by: 

  • Letting your school know if your child is unwell
  • Letting your school know if your child will be engaging in teaching and learning at school or from home if they have a medical referral to learn from or live with a family member who is medically vulnerable
  • making sure your school have the correct contact details for your family
  • making sure you’ve installed your school’s communication apps on your device
  • encouraging your child to practice good hygiene, at home and at school 
How can I talk to my child about COVID-19?

When talking about coronavirus to your child, make sure it’s in a way that suits their age and development. When you do talk, listen to what’s worrying them and address their concerns.

Take a look at our wellbeing section

More information

  • Visit the Healthy WA COVID-19 website for more information and details about the Novel coronavirus
  • Call the Novel coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080
  • For general or travel related queries about Novel coronavirus please go to the healthdirect website
  • You can also visit the World Health Organisation website for more information about the Novel coronavirus and for updates
  • Talk to your local GP or Community Health Centre

Additional support services include: 

  • Kids Helpline – 1800 55 1800 
  • Headspace – 1800 650 890
  • Parent Helpline – 1300 1300 52 
  • Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636 
  • Lifeline – 13 11 14