Information about Schooling during COVID-19

Sacred Heart FAQ COVID-19 update (23/02/2023)

We have returned to normal activities. 

However we request that you please keep your child home if they are unwell for the health of us all. 

Further information found by clicking on CECG Updates

No longer valid:.......

We have prepared this FAQ page for families of Sacred Heart Pearce, to provide details of school operations that are not covered in more over-arching communications from ACT Health and Catholic Education. We hope this will support your child and family as we continue face-to-face schooling during COVID-19 times. 

How do I find an answer on this page?

Browse the questions. It is text and information dense, but easily searchable. Use a keyboard shortcut to find a word on this page eg: Control + F. Use the Google Translate function on our website to support languages other than english.

Who is Sacred Heart ACT being guided by in our response? Please visit these sites for the most current community and school advice.

ACT Health

Catholic Education Canberra and Goulburn  

How can I continue supporting my child at school?

  1. Make an appointment to talk with your child's teacher if your child is experiencing any concerns with schooling.
  2. Ensure you have access to Compass (app and/or browser), so that you get all messaging directly to the app or your given email. 
  3. We cater for a range of staff, parent and student needs. Please talk with your child's teacher if you have any concerns.

Do students need to wear masks?

Students do not need to wear masks. Year 3 to 6 may wear masks inside at the discretion of the student and their parents/carers. Children in Kinder to Year 2 should not wear masks as they are likely to be worn incorrectly and may present a choking hazard (Also at the discretion of the student and their parents/carers. Parents must have taught them how to do this effectively.) Please send enough masks to last your child the entire day. Please note that if a child is wearing a surgical mask that it is recommended they be changed every 4 hours. 

Students will not wear masks while outdoors with their class or during playtimes. 

Do adults need to wear masks or check in?

Staff, students and visitors are not required to wear masks on school sites, but are strongly encouraged to.

Digital check in with the Check In CBR app is no longer required. However, QR codes will continue to be available for voluntary use, including for community hirers holding events on school sites. Normal school sign-in procedures apply.

How will classrooms maintain air quality?

We will ensure ventilation is maximised through existing means. Doors and windows will be opened daily, as weather permits, to allow for air flow. 

Classes will make regular use of our outdoor spaces for learning.

Are drink bottles needed?

Yes. Students will need their own refillable drink bottle every day. They will not be allowed to go to sick bay/office or the staffroom for a cup as we discouraging movement through the school.

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

From early June our canteen will be accepting orders for lunches on Tuesdays and Thursdays, through an external provider. Please see information sent to all parents. We encourage you to support our canteen. Ordering is online via Qkr! Orders must be placed by 6pm the night before. 

Are there any changes to daily timetables to minimise contact between classes?

We are finally running a normal day in the classroom and playground. We are offering a number of extra-curricula activities, such as lunch clubs again.

Is Before and After School care operating?

YMCA is operating as normal. Please book directly with them by phoning 6242 4040 or visiting the YMCA website  

What happens if we arrive at school late or need to pick up early?

Parents and carers can drop students to the office after 9.00am. Students will be electronically signed in by front office staff. As always it is much easier for the classroom teacher and your child if your child arrives before the 8.55am bell. 

For early collection you may come to the office or phone in advance so that your child can be ready and waiting in the office. 

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

  1. Parents are welcome to outdoor areas on the school grounds. Please be socially distanced. Our morning assembly is at 8.55am on the blacktop. Parents/carers are invited to stand along the garden edge and join in our prayers and announcements.
  2. Parents are welcome in the building if you have an appointment, or you have need to speak to the office eg: picking up your child or buying uniforms. We are slowly welcoming adults in as school or classroom helpers for essential permitted activities.
  3. Parents and carers can make an appointment to meet with a teacher. This can be face-to-face or via MS TEAMS. Please email your child’s teacher to make an appointment. We will endeavour to respond within 24 hours. As always, phone the office if the matter is more urgent.

Will there be large gatherings such as masses or assemblies? 

Not during Term 3. There can be scheduled events held outside of school hours.

We are planning our major community event and fundraiser our 'Twilight Fair' for 3.30-6.30pm Friday 25th November.

My child is vulnerable, and I need to keep him/her at home. Will the school support me to continue his/her learning? 

Please contact our principal to discuss arrangements that will support your child’s learning if they are considered to be medically vulnerable.

However, please be aware that teachers will be providing face-to-face lessons and remote learning is not available.

What if my child is unwell or displays cold or flu-like symptoms? 

Staff members, students and parents who are unwell must not attend a school site. If displaying cold or flu-like symptoms (including headaches, stomach cramps and nausea) should stay home and get tested as per Health advice. Here

In circumstances where staff, children or young people have other medical reasons for recurrent symptoms, a letter from the GP is sufficient to allow return to school with a negative test.

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 exposure. 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 asked to wear a mask. They will be isolated in an appropriate space with suitable supervision.

What if my child, or a member of our household has tested positive for COVID-19?

You need to follow the directions of ACT health. You are asked to notify the school, via an email to the office, if a student tests positive. See guidelines here

Will parents be told if there are positive cases in the school? 

Sacred Heart will maintain the privacy of all families. We will, as directed by CECG, only notify parents if there are a significant number of cases within the community
and/or a cohort. The guidelines for close contacts, isolation and testing are continually changing. See the relevant websites.

What extra hygiene practices are in place at Sacred Heart during this time?

  • 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; before eating and if moving between rooms.
  • 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.
  • Our communal bubblers are closed. Students need to bring their own drink bottles.

What other physical distancing routines will be put in place?

  • Classroom activities have returned to normal.
  • Larger gatherings are being considered on a case-by-case basis.

Rapid Antigen Tests
Our school will have access to Rapid Antigen Tests for distribution as needed and requested by parents (maximum 2 per child per week). Parents or students who are symptomatic should not attend the school to collect a Rapid Antigen Test. Those families are encouraged to access testing through an ACT Health testing facility.

Can I send hand sanitiser, wipes 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.

Can I send food items to school for my child to share with their class on their birthday? 

Yes. Our preference is for individually wrapped item, eg: chocolate frog, lolly bag or non-food items. We will accept indvidually-sized items, such as cupcakes, if they come with tongs and serviettes. Children are allowed to say "Happy Birthday but no thanks" to any shared item.

Lost Property

We encourage children to be responsible for their own items. Labelling all clothing and food containers with your child's name helps greatly with this. Your child should check their bag, their classroom and our lost property shelf in the hall if they are missing items. Parents can email the teacher if you need help locating an item or check for lost property in the hall yourself between 7.30am-5.00pm. Please wear a mask and if YMCA staff are there, please let them know who you are.

Are the buses running?

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

What about excursions?

Excursions and carnivals wil go ahead if necessary, with careful plans in place. 

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. There are sanitisers at all entrances. .

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 Olivia Bowring-Greer, our CatholicCare School Counsellor, is continuing her work with us. Parents can contact our office for details. Families are welcome to contact CatholicCare directly to access their child and family support services directly.

Our school website has links to many sites and articles on a range of wellbeing and family support topics. Click here

The Catholic Education website has further links to support sites. Click here

What if the situation arises where case number rise at Sacred Heart?

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. The key message is to keep schools open, through a combination of flexible and responsive procedures, whenever possible. However, if a staffing becomes an isssue due to staff illness, we may be directed to cancel certain classes for a period.

User Guides for Online Platforms

1. MS Teams for video meetings with the class teacher. Microsoft Teams can be accessed online or downloaded (recommended) to a home or mobile device.Click on the guide from CECG about logging into Microsoft Teams in the school environment via:

2. Google Classroom for all the Google Slides containing the student work.
3. Uploading student work.
  • Parents and students with an iPhone or iPad you actually have a scanner, which uses much less bandwidth than a photo. You can scan any work to send to your teachers using the ‘Notes App’. Open a new note, press the camera button, the option to scan document will pop up. Once the document is scanned, select the 3 dots. Choose how to 'send a copy'. Options include save, email even upload it to google drive.  
  • Upload work to your child's nominated google classroom 'classwork' tab. Your teacher will create 'assignments' for work due and can provide individual feedback to your child on work submitted via the assignment link.
  • Some teachers may ask you to email other work to a nominated address. 


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

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

All students in Kinder and Year 1 have a subscription to Reading Eggs. Use the reading sections, not the phonics activities please.

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. Emerging minds has also published an extensive 'Community Truama Tool Kit' with tools an ideas to support wellbeing 
  3. How to help young children regulate their emotions and behaviours during the pandemic Generation Next