Information about Schooling during COVID-19
Advice about COVID-19 Restrictions Q&A
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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. 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.
All 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, in conjunction with Catholic Education Canberra and Goulburn.
Catholic Education Canberra and Goulburn have updated their 'COVID-19 Information and Updates' webpage. https://cg.catholic.edu.au/covid-19-information-and-updates/. It contains all the latest advice to ACT Catholic Schools and links to necessary ACT government pages and services.
As school begins for Term 3 we are easing only some restrictions. Our response is being guided by the ACT Chief Medical Officer and CECG recommendations. Our response is being adapted as the advice changes. What will Term 3 look like?
Students & Staff must quarantine for 14 days from the date of their arrival in the ACT and cannot come to school if they have travelled from: Anywhere in Victoria; A COVID Hotspot; or Overseas. Families are required to please contact us if this applies to your family.
Please see ACT Health Directions webpage for information regarding COVID Hotspots: https://www.covid19.act.gov.au/what-you-can-do/act-public-health-directions
Adults. We need to continue monitoring the number of adults in the building under social distancing guidelines. This will mean:
- Morning drop-off will continue as it did in Term 2, with parents and carers dropping children to the gates, without walking onto the playground, as much as possible.
- Afternoon pick up will continue with the two drive-through areas (as below)
- Morning announcements and prayer will still be happening in the classrooms via the PA.
- Friday school assemblies are still cancelled, with awards being given out and photographs published on Facebook.
- All visitors entering the building still need to enter via the front office. Please sign-in and sanitise upon entry.
- Hygiene. Students, staff and visitors are required to continue regular and thorough hand cleaning and personal hygiene routines.
- Illness. Students and staff who are displaying signs of illness are not to attend school, even if it is simply light flu or cold-like symptoms. Parents and carers will be asked to collect your child if they appear unwell. Please follow ACT Health guidelines around testing and seek medical advice regarding illness and returning to school. https://www.covid19.act.gov.au/stay-safe-and-healthy/symptoms-and-getting-tested
- Volunteers will be welcomed back in very limited numbers to the canteen, library and sport team training. Please sign-in and sanitise upon entry. If you are unwell you must not attend. Please let us know if you need to change your plans due to illness.
- Extra cleaning of desks, wet areas and high-touch areas needs to continue daily.
- Meetings between teachers and parents can happen via ZOOM or if necessary face-to-face with appointment.
- Events. Advice is changing daily. Probably not yet under the current ACT social distancing guidelines.
- The school day will return to more normal routines with:
- Classes moving between rooms e.g. using the library and borrowing books
- Peer Support will finish with the last three sessions will happening Weeks 1-3, and then Book Buddies will start on the Monday afternoon.
- Our enrichment sessions will start on Friday at 12 noon. Teachers will expose children to a number of STEM activities, after which each child will choose an activity to focus on for a few weeks. Tournament of the Minds teams will meet during these times.
- Kindergarten will be able to use the main playground as they choose and Year 1 can play in the kinder courtyard.
- No birthday cakes or shared food at the moment. You may send a small individually wrapped treat to hand out to classmates eg: lollipop, choc frog, purchased individually wrapped cakes. As always classmates can say 'Happy birthday, but no thanks' to a treat.
- Home readers are going home, as below at 4/6/20. We will continue our WUSHKA online reader subscription until the end of the year as well.
- No assemblies.
- Canteen. Ordering for lunch and recess remains online via Qkr! Thanks to the families who have begun supporting our canteen again.
- Excursions can go ahead, with groups no larger than 100 people. Current social distancing and COVID-19 rules for the state must be adhered to. No Camps as yet.
- Uniform. Full winter uniform. Please refer to our policy for details of clothing and accessories. Sport's uniform days for the beginning of Term 3 are:
- Kinder - Tuesday and Friday
- Stage 1- Wednesday and Friday
- Stage 2 - Tuesday and Thursday
- Stage 3 - Tuesday and Thursday
We thank families for supporting us in our health and safety practices as we returned to school. Since two weeks have now passed and the rate of infection in the community has remained very low, we would like to update some practices and remind you of others.
- Adults: We are still required to limit the number of adults within the school grounds. The children have adjusted very well to being dropped at the gates in the morning. We still require that if a parent needs to come into the building you must come to the office. Staff will then help you and your child to be where they need to be. Social distancing is expected of all adults in or near the school grounds.
- Drive-throughs on Murphy St and Hodgson St: The introduction of a 2nd drive-through on Murphy St has helped somewhat to alleviate the congestion we expected at pick-up. It has taken time for the younger children to learn this new routine and it will take a little longer for some as they need help managing car seats. It is okay for adults to get out of the car at Murphy St to help with car seats, but please wait for the teachers on duty to bring your child down to you. This will help the line to move along and avoid other families needing to go around parked cars and keep us all safer as many families are crossing Murphy St on foot. Instructions below at 'HOW CAN I DROP OFF/PICK UP MY CHILD AT SHPS?'
- Parking around the school: The area outside kinder courtyard is a bus bay. There are solid lines on the road surrounding the intersection of Murphy St and McNeil Pl. Drivers can be booked by police for parking in these two areas. This is the reason the drive-through bollards are down near the oval. The church carpark is also not to be used for after-school pickup.
- Morning line-up: We have returned to lining up together on the blacktop in our class lines. When the bell goes, teachers take classes inside to be ready for morning announcements over the speaker.
- Birthday cakes: No cakes at the moment. You may send a small individual treat to hand out to classmates eg: lollipop, choc frog, purchased individually wrapped cakes. As always classmates can say 'Happy birthday, but no thanks' to a treat.
- K-2 Home Readers: Parents have been asking for this change! We will start sending home readers and reading diaries again Tuesday 9th June for nightly reading. Please ensure your child has their reader wallet at school to carry our precious books in. We would always expect good hand hygiene when handling any book and time. So please remind your child to wash hands before they read their books and then to place them back into their reader wallet to stay safe and clean. Parents are welcome to wipe the cover of any book with disinfectant. Families can elect to keep using Wushka if this is your preference – just let your teacher know.
- Cleaning: We have been advised that cleaning of outside equipment is no longer required. We will continue the extra cleaning of desks and surfaces inside the building.
- Hand Hygiene: We are continuing to expect children to wash or sanitise hands when they enter or exit the building and before eating. A number of families are sending their child with sanitiser. Thankyou as this is bolstering our supplies. Soap and water is still the best method. Please have your child wash their hands when they leave home of a morning and arrive home of an afternoon.
- Canteen: Ordering for lunch and recess remains online via Qkr! Thanks to the families who have begun supporting our canteen again.
Back to School Social Story for children
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, purchased individually wrapped cakes. 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? (updated for Term 3)
As of June 2, all students are expected to return to full face-to-face attendance.
Families who have concerns about attendance need to contact us.
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 in Term 2?
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 CECG 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
3. An idea for managing the tasks of the day by giving your child control of their tasks.
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.
5. Mathletics Quick Student Guide (3 minute overview of site)
Mathletics Homepage for more detailed guides (scroll down the 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
A list of sites and networks to support family wellbeing
- Parent Link ACT
Building Resilience in Young People Andrew Fuller on Youtube
- Emerging minds
- Emerging minds has also published an extensive 'Community Truama Tool Kit' with tools an ideas to support wellbeing
How to help young children regulate their emotions and behaviours during the pandemic Generation Next
Coronavirus Q&As: Answers to 7 questions your kids may have about the pandemic Generation Next
How to talk to your children about coronavirus: top 10 questions answered Generation Next