Information about Schooling during COVID-19

Returning to School at Sacred Heart after Remote Learning Q&A

We have prepared this Q&A webpage for all families to provide clear information on the arrangements that we have in place to protect all members of our community from any potential spread of illness. We hope this will give you confidence in your child’s return to school and assist you in supporting the community and our staff as we welcome students back into classrooms with their teachers and classmates. To quickly locate information, please type a key word into the search box above. The text is formatted so that google translate reads it easily.

We ask all parents and carers to be aware of our arrangements. To assist you to discuss the points below with your child/ren, our Learning Support team has prepared a Social Story Booklet for you to read with your child. See below in 14/5/20. It may be helpful to print this booklet for younger children. Knowing what school will be like, will help everyone make a smooth and less stressful transition back to the classroom. 

These new arrangements are based on advice from the ACT Chief Health Officer (download PDF) and the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) guidelines ‘Safe Return to Schools Guideline – Reducing the Risk of COVID-19’ (visit website), which aim to establish, where reasonably possible, best practice to minimise risks in relation to health and hygiene at schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Back to School Social Story for children

Social Story from our Learning Support Team. pdf or  Word Doc (easier to translate to other language) 

Can I bring birthday cakes for my child's class to celebrate?

No cakes at the moment. You may send a small individual treat to hand out to classmates eg: lollipop, choc frog.  As always classmates can say 'Happy birthday, but no thanks' to a treat.


How can I drop off/pick up my child at SHPS? 

We encourage all parents to use the two drive-through options for morning drop-off and after school pick-up, rather than entering the school grounds.

If your child requires support, please park in a designated car park and approach a teacher on duty or pre-plan with the school. You must remain at least 1.5m from any adults or students.

We will operate two drive-through areas during this time. One will be the normal area outside of  the school hall. We will be opening an extra pick up point on Murphy Street adjacent to the school oval and driveway. At both pickup areas we ask that parents remain in their vehicle as children wait to get in.  Please ensure your child knows which drive-through area they will be collected from. Have your family name clearly displayed in your windscreen to aid efficiency.  Please be patient with each other as we settle into the new routines.

Before and After School care

YMCA plan to operate as normal. Please book directly with them by phoning 6242 4040 or visiting the YMCA website  

Arriving at school late or needing to attend an appointment

Please use the hand sanitiser as soon as you enter the front door. The student sign-in book will be located on the sideboard, to the right, as you enter the building.  Please bring your own pen to sign the register and place the slip into the box provided. For early collection please ring through to the front office in advance so that your child can be sent down for easy collection.  We will manage their movement through the corridors. Please follow all social distancing signage and guidelines.

As always it is much easier for the classroom teacher and your child, if your child arrives before the 8.55am bell.

As a parent or carer am I able to come into the school? 

Yes, but this should be by appointment only. We are attempting to minimise the number of adults coming onto the premises to reduce the possible risk of COVID-19 transmission. Please make appointments ahead of time and if possible, telephone or use email as the safest method of contact during this time.

Will there be large gatherings such as masses or assemblies this term? 

At this stage, there will be no masses, assemblies or large gatherings for the remainder of this term. Morning assemblies will be over the PA once children are in classrooms.

An exception to this may be an evacuation or emergency procedure if required. (Fire alarm etc.)

My child is sick or has a medical condition which means I need to keep him/her at home for the foreseeable future. Will the school support me to continue his/her learning? 

If your child is sick or vulnerable and is at home on medical advice, please contact his/her teacher to discuss suitable arrangements that will support your child’s learning whilst working remotely. 

My child is not sick and does not have any medical conditions. Am I able to choose to keep him/her at home? 

As a parent you may choose to keep your child at home during this time. However, please be aware that teachers will be providing face-to-face lessons as the school is open. We will be guided by the government as to when we would expect 100% attendance.

Families who have contacted us about remaining at home, will be contacted by the school.

What if my child, a member of our family, or close contact has been tested for COVID-19? 

You need to follow the directions of ACT health and other authorities who have practices in place. This would include notification of the school by health services.

What if my child, a family member, or a close contact tests positive for COVID-19? 

If a child/ren, or family members of children or another close contact tests positive to COVID-19, all instructions and directions from ACT Health must be followed. This includes instructions and directions provided to the school regarding such an eventuality. This may result in full or partial school closure while site cleaning and contact tracing is undertaken. 

Additionally, we would ensure that appropriate support is provided by the school to persons and families affected. 

What extra hygiene practices are in place at Sacred Heart for when children return to school?

  • Increased cleaning schedules, personnel and resources onsite during the school day to wipe down and disinfect high-touch areas and student desks, in addition to regular daily cleaning.
  • Provision of extra hand sanitiser at the front office for all adult and child entry and exit; and in all classrooms. 
  • Continue to provide hand soap and sanitiser so that children can wash their hands frequently, particularly before entering the building in the morning, before and after recess and lunch times; and before eating.
  • Continue frequent announcements and increased signage around the school to ensure that children are practising good personal hygiene. This means, covering mouths and noses when coughing and sneezing with your arm/elbow, frequent hand washing, not sharing food or drinks, minimising physical contact and practising social distance techniques where feasible, particularly in relation to dealings with teachers.
  • Our communal bubblers are closed. Please ensure your child brings a suitable water bottle to school each day. Teachers will assist students to refill bottles at taps.
  • Children will use the same desk and chair for the entirety of the school day. They will stay in their classroom with specialist teachers moving between rooms. There will be floor seating areas and some shared classroom equipment as necessary to undertake learning each day.
  • Physical distancing of students is not viewed as a necessary strategy by ACT Health. Teachers will be explicitly teaching students to practice good hand washing and sanitising, and general hygiene routines.
  • Children will need to carry and collect their own lunch boxes and place them in designated places. We will not be using lunch tubs.
  • When children arrive at school in the morning, they will place their school bags in their designated eating areas, as we were doing before school closed.
  • We will not be sending readers home with the younger children or borrowing library books. Please continue to use online platforms including Wushka, Reading Eggs and EPIC.
  • Homework plans. We will ease back into the routines as coming back will be very tiring for students. We ask all children to keep reading. Stage 3 has Rostrum speeches to prepare.
  • All children need to bring to school a pencil case with equipment for personal use. These can be left on their chair or in their desk tray overnight while cleaning takes place. Supplies should include lead and coloured pencils and glue stick. S2-3 will also need pens and rulers.
  • We are unable to welcome adults to help in the classrooms until further notice.
  • The sandpits and play shed will be closed due to the nature of play in these areas. The playground climbing equipment will be open for student use. This outdoor equipment will be cleaned regularly during the week.
  • Other equipment will be as normal due to our hand washing routines.

Can my child purchase a lunch order and recess through the canteen? 

Yes. To minimise potential cross contamination the canteen will operate via online ordering only. There will be no counter sales. The teacher on duty will hand out orders to the children on the playground at the beginning of eating time, as they are delivered from the canteen. 

We will be contacting authorities around any further procedures we need to have in place in the canteen during this time.

What uniform is to be worn? 

Full school winter uniforms will be worn upon return to school. Please refer to our website for further details regarding uniform requirements. A SZapp push and email was sent last Friday with instructions for how to order uniform items or make a booking to try uniforms on.

What days do the children wear their sport’s uniform?

Kinder - Tuesday and Friday
S1 - Wednesday and Friday
S2 - Monday and Thursday
S3 - Tuesday and Thursday

Can I send hand sanitiser and tissues to school with my child? 

Yes, in fact we encourage you to do so. Whilst the school has a supply in key locations, should students wish to use their own in addition to that, this would further enhance our hygiene measures at school.

What if my child has cold or flu-like symptoms? 

No children are to attend school if they are showing any cold or flu-like symptoms or running a temperature. They must remain at home and stay away from school until they are no longer showing symptoms or have attended a GP who has instructed that they are fit and safe to return. All regular absentee procedures regarding advising the school of absence apply.

What if my child becomes unwell during the school day? 

Our usual first aid/sick bay procedures apply, and you will be contacted to collect your child should he/she become unwell at school. We ask that if you are contacted to collect your child that you do so as soon as possible so we can limit the number of students waiting in our front office. Our front office staff are first aid trained.

Staff or children at school experiencing symptoms compatible with COVID-19 (e.g. fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, temperature) will be isolated in an appropriate space with suitable supervision.

Are the buses running?

All Transport Canberra services will continue to run as per its publicised timetable. 

What about excursions?

As per directions from Catholic Education excursions scheduled for this term have been cancelled or postponed. Information about rescheduling will be forwarded to parents when confirmed.

Will incursions/external presenters be allowed onsite at the school?

Any incursions/presentations proposed onsite involving external presenters will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, using our risk management procedures and having regard to the educational value of the proposed activity.

Can I take my child to the church?

Yes you can, and are encouraged to visit the church with your child. The church is now unlocked daylight hours. There are sanitisers at all entrances but remember only 10 people may be in the church at one time, all social distancing.

I’m worried about my child’s mental health. What support is available?

You can discuss your concerns with your child’s teacher(s) or Leadership team members. Mrs Tash Barrenger, our Student Welfare Officer will be available for extra check-ins and support. You, your child or their teacher can organise some time with Mrs B.

Ms Kate Dean, our CatholicCare School Counsellor, is continuing her work with us. Parents can contact our office for details. Families are welcome to contact CatholicCare directly on 6163760 to access their child and family support services.

Our school website has links to many sites and articles on a range of wellbeing and family support topics. See links in the table below.

I’m worried about my child’s academic progress. What can I do?

All teachers and learning support staff will be working to settle students back into learning. We will be looking for signs and will plan with parents to support learning needs promptly and carefully over the remainder of the year.

What is happening with assessment, reporting and interviews?

We are being guided by the CE on this. Information will be provided shortly.

What if the situation arises where students will not be able to attend onsite schooling again?

If a situation arises where it is deemed not safe by health authorities for students or staff to be onsite, we would be able to quickly pivot back to our remote learning weekly programs as required. As per all our decisions, we continue to be informed by Catholic Education and relevant health authorities in response to circumstances that may exist at that time.

Information and Templates for Families with Remote Learning

1. Our latest notes and newsletters. Click here

2. What might your weekly timetable look like? Example jigsaw
    A template of the timetable for you to build your own. here
    This page will be updated as new information is available :) 

3. An idea for managing the tasks of the day by giving your child control of their tasks.

4. A detailed picture book to download with pages to answer all your child's questions about COVID-19. Coronavirus_ABookForChildren

User Guides for Online Platforms

1. Parents should have had emails from CE support on Monday 27 April with usernames and passwords for logging into TEAMS. If you did not receive these emails, please check your spam folder. Further assistance is available from
Monday 27/04/20 by phoning ICT Helpdesk on 1300 232 448 and selecting option 1.

Guides from CECG about logging into Microsoft Teams in the school environment via iPad, chromebook and Windows. Also tips to setup for remote learning. Click here 

A similar page is addressed to students in Yr3-6. Click here

2. Mr Fox has created a collection of guides to get us connected. Click Here

Connecting to a TEAMS meet TEAMS_meet.MP4


3. Microsoft Teams can be accessed online or downloaded (recommended) to a home or mobile device. Explore this quick-start guide or watch the introductory video that enables your student to get going with Teams right away. 

4. How to join Google Classroom as a student. Guide


5. Mathletics Quick Student Guide (3 minute overview of site)

    Mathletics Homepage for more detailed guides (scroll down the page)

6. Reading Eggs Guide

7. Wushka Online Readers for K-2 FAQ for parents. Your child's login details have been emailed by class teachers to parents by 4 May. Wushka Login Page

1. Attend Mass Online. Mass will be streamed live and can be viewed later from the Youtube channels

a. St Christopher’s Cathedral. Monday to Friday at 12:15pm, Saturday at 9:00am and Sunday at 11:00am. Click here
b. Fr Richard's Weekly Homily. Click here
c. Corpus Christi Gowrie. Sunday 10am Click here

Wellbeing Support

A list of sites and networks to support family wellbeing

  1. Family_Wellbeing_Support_Resources_CE_COVID_19
  2. eSafety
  3. Parent Link ACT
  4. Building Resilience in Young People Andrew Fuller on Youtube

Resources to support children during the pandemic
  1. Emerging minds
  2. How to help young children regulate their emotions and behaviours during the pandemic Generation Next

  3. Coronavirus Q&As: Answers to 7 questions your kids may have about the pandemic Generation Next

  4. How to talk to your children about coronavirus: top 10 questions answered Generation Next