Return to School Processes 2020

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Dear Melba families,

Thank you for your ongoing patience and support of the college this Term. I hope this correspondence finds you safe and well. It is a necessarily long document, and I would appreciate your time in reading it, ideally with your child(ren).

I want to thank you all for the remarkable poise, resilience and collaboration over the past two months and for your own sacrifices during this time; I know it has not been easy. Please find below the details for our phased return to school. Our objective, as always, is to provide a school environment that is as safe as possible for staff and students. I ask all parents and students to keep an open and flexible mindset as we enact the changes outlined below. They will not be forever and I appreciate your support as we navigate Term 2 together. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you require assistance or have questions.

Purpose

The purpose of these protocols are to outline how our school will be managing risk relating to Coronavirus (COVID-19) during key interactions between students, parents and staff during the return to school in Term 2 2020.

Melba College is committed to providing a safe learning and working environment for our students and staff. We ask for the whole school community to follow these instructions to enable us to provide the safest possible environment during this time. We all have a role to play in stopping the spread of COVID-19 in Victoria.

Background

Melba College is following the advice from the Department of Education and Training including, Health and safety advice for return to onsite learning in the context of COVID-19 which can be found on the Department’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) website.

Scope

This information applies to everyone in the Melba College community.  This includes all members of staff (principals, teachers and education support staff), all parents/carers who interact with the school, all students and visitors. This correspondence includes items relevant for parents and students.

Key Dates
  • 25 May is a State wide Curriculum Day. No classes on-site or remotely will be running. Students can use this time to complete outstanding work tasks and in the case of some Year 10 students and all 11 and 12 students, prepare for returning to school on 26 May.
  • 26 May – all Year 11 and 12 student’s resume on-site learning, as do Year 10 VCAL. Year 10 students with a VCE subject attend for their scheduled VCE classes only where practicable.
  • 9 June – all other year levels will resume on site learning.
  • Remote learning will continue for Year 7 – 10 students, up to and including 5 June. Where a Year 10 student has to travel to and from school for a scheduled VCE class, their attendance should not be adversely impacted. If a Year 10 student undertaking a VCE subject cannot attend their class at school, please contact Mr Allan or Miss Bottomer to discuss alternative arrangements.
  • The existing model of on-site supervision for those who cannot be supervised from home and vulnerable children, will remain in place for students until they resume on-site learning as listed above.
  • If parents choose to keep their children home after their child’s scheduled return to school date as above, the student will be deemed to be absent from school and will be unable to receive remote learning.
  • If a student is unable to attend school because they have a compromised immune system, then they are entitled to receive an out of school education plan. Please provide the college with the necessary medical certificates from a doctor.

 

To ensure we create the safest possible school environment for staff, parents and students, the following measures will be employed onsite for the duration of Term 2. These measures are subject to change as circumstances evolve. Families will be notified in writing if they do. Unless otherwise stated, these measures will continue for the duration of Term 2.

Information for parents

1). From the date your child is expected to return, remote learning will cease for their year level and return to on-site learning. No work can be arranged by teachers for students whose families choose not to return to school after the return to school date, except in circumstances where medical documentation supports an underlying health concern.

2). If your child shows any flu like symptoms at all, or reports feeling unwell, do not send them to school. Under NO circumstances is a student to attend school if they are ill. This includes, but is not limited to; having a runny nose, coughing, sneezing and running a temperature. Please obtain a medical certificate to cover the expected duration of absence and submit it to the college. In these circumstances, work will be provided for the student to complete from home. Students who are identified as having one or more of these symptoms will be removed from classes until they can be picked up and will be required to obtain a medical certificate from a GP before they can return. Positive cases of Covid-19 by a student or parent of a student must be reported to the school principal as soon as is possible.

3). Please do not leave your cars when dropping off or picking up students from school. I am relying on parents and family members adhering to this request. If these processes are followed, we will not need to employ additional, more severe drop off and pick up rules. Please note that the school gates will open from 8.15am. Students who arrive prior to 8.15am will need to ‘buzz in’ via the main entry to the college from Brentnall Road if necessary. Having as few students on-site as possible until 8.15am will greatly assist the college adequately prepare for the day, including conducting checks of rooms and finalising cleaning arrangements.

4). The Department of Transport continues to work closely with DHHS and transport operators to implement measures to limit the risk of COVID-19 so that students can feel confident travelling on public transport. Students should practice hand hygiene before and after catching public transport and practice physical distancing at interchanges on the service, if possible. If you have concerns about public transport, I recommend alternative means of travel where possible, such as by walking (allow extra time) or by bike (remember it is against the law to ride without a helmet).

5). Parents, family, friends and wider community members are not allowed to enter school grounds without the express permission being given by the principal prior to entry. If it is urgent and you must attend school unannounced, report to the administration office and wait there until a member of staff can assist.

6). Additional cleaning has been secured and a cleaner will be onsite throughout the school day. They will focus on office spaces during the day and complete classroom and high traffic area cleaning prior to or after classes, including regular cleaning of door knobs and entryways. Students will also be asked to use the hand sanitizer that has been provided, prior to using school Chromebooks, musical instruments and PE equipment.

7). The school, including the school canteen, will prefer ‘contactless’ payment however, will accept cash payment and have appropriate PPE. They will wipe down the card readers after every use. In addition, only 10 students will be allowed entry at a time in the school canteen. Students will be requested to follow the instructions when queuing for the canteen. A temporary queue has been set up in front of the entry.

8). If your child borrowed any equipment from the college, they are requested to return the items borrowed to C block administration on the morning of the relevant dates below;

Year 12 – Tuesday May 26

Year 11 – Wednesday May 27

Years 9 and 10 – Tuesday June 9

Years 7 and 8 – Wednesday June 10

It is vitally important that these dates are adhered to, as these devices will be needed in the delivery of our on-site teaching and learning programs.

9). Additional wellbeing support will be arranged for some students so that they may reorientate themselves with the routines of school. These students will be contacted by a member of the school’s Wellbeing team and will be invited to attend the college;

Thursday June 4 – Year 8 and 9 students

Friday June 5 – Year 7 students

10). Your child may have their temperature taken as part of a proactive approach to minimise potential illness in the college. See item ‘3’ in the Student section. No student will be forced to undertake a temperature check. If there is any doubt regarding a student or staff member’s health, the college will adopt a conservative approach and request that they obtain a clearance from a doctor.

The college will have higher numbers of Casual relief teachers in the school to assist with coverage of medical absences. The college will do everything possible to ensure continuity for students. However, it is important parents are informed of this likely development.

10). Every effort is being made to ensure that the library will be a safe and hygienic environment to visit and to work in. We have been guided by our professional organisations in the safety measures we have put in place.

In order to mitigate any risks for staff and students we will focus on the safe handling of materials, use visual indicators to ensure physical distancing rules are applied between staff and students, limit the number of students able to use the library at the same time and we will be sanitizing shared devices and disinfecting work spaces after each class.

Our collections will be quarantined for 72 hours when books are returned and will be disinfected before they are re-shelved.  Staff and students can be re-assured books are safe to handle.

We welcome students to use the Library for research and study, teachers to book a class into the library and make use of our facilities including a class set of Chrome Books and encourage students to come in and borrow from our wonderful collection of books.

11). It is vitally important for teacher safety that students physically distance by a minimum of 1.5m from teachers wherever possible or instructed to do so. Teachers will have a “safe space” marked out on the floor at the front of the room, and no students will be permitted to enter that space at any time.

Further information and resources
Catch up classes

Catch up classes will occur on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school, beginning June 11. These classes will provide additional support for those students who, for a variety of different reasons, were unable to complete a satisfactory amount of work over the remote learning period. This is not a punishment, rather it is a way for students to catch up on key learning tasks to assist them to be ready for Semester Two. We are aware of a small number of students who will be required to attend these classes. Parents will be contacted by the relevant Sub School Leader or Year Level Leader if this applies to their child(ren).

School Reports

Reports will look different to previous years and will include comments relating to student engagement under the headers “At School” and during “Remote Learning”. The reports will not contain progression point information, but will include a summary of the work undertaken in the at school and remote learning stages of the semester, as well as the academic result of any assessment tasks undertaken.

Information for parents

Melba College would like to take the opportunity to thank you for your commitment to your studies. Staff have been very impressed by your dedication and effort in challenging circumstances for you, no other cohort in the history of our school has faced such a challenge as this, and you have done it with remarkable resilience and commitment to your studies – well done! We hope you are looking forward to returning to school.

There are going to be some alterations when you get back to school. You might notice some physical changes. Two new buildings are almost completed and two new classrooms have been added. In addition to these physical changes, some of the ways we would normally go about our business at school, will be different.

There won’t be any assemblies, excursions or incursions for at least the remainder of this term and there will be some changes to routines that will be necessary. These are outlined below:

1). To assist management of traffic at the start and end of the school day, we are asking that students in Years 7-9 enter and exit the school at the side gate nearest (B Block) and that students in Years 10-12 enter and exit at the main entrance (beside A Block) from Brentnall Road. This will help to ensure a steady flow of to and from the school. Please refer to the school map provided.

2). Upon entering the school, you will be greeted by either the Principal or an Assistant Principal. They will ask you some questions related to your health. You may also be offered a temperature reading by placing a device near your forehead. You may also request to have your temperature taken in First Aid. If your reading is over 37.5 degrees we will contact a parent and inform them that you will either be sent home or remain in First Aid until someone can pick you up.

The checking of student temperatures will be carried out when the school gates open at 8.15am and continue until 8.45am. This practice will take effect from May 26 and be in effect on certain days until at least June 12. The temperature checks will take a few seconds per student and we ask you to be patient as they are conducted.

Students who are late to school may be required to have a temperature reading when signing in to the school at the relevant administration area.

Year 10 students arriving for their VCE classes will need to report to senior admin and may have their temperature taken upon sign in.

3). Students are requested not to drink directly from the water bubblers and fountains and instead are requested to use individual drink bottles which can be filled up as necessary.

4). Each classroom will have hand sanitizer available. It will be a condition of use for Chromebooks and other shared resources such as musical instruments and sport equipment that students make use of the hand sanitizer supplied.

5). In addition to the directions of laid out for the classrooms, the following protocols need to be adhered to when conducting Instrumental lessons and the practical elements of classroom music:

A). Classroom and band layout remains the discretion of the teacher within allocated rooms. The teacher must practice social distancing at all times during rehearsals and lesson times.

B). Students will be requested to wipe down instruments as requested by their teacher prior to use.

C). Upon entering the room, students must apply hand sanitiser as requested by their teacher.

D). After handling any instrument/ equipment (speakers/leads/computers etc.), the student must wipe them down using wipes supplied and sanitise their hands. This procedure will also apply when going from one instrument or use of certain equipment to another.

E). Upon leaving the classroom, students will apply hand sanitiser as requested by their teacher.

6). Any student who does not follow the instructions of their teachers in regards to social distancing, safety or where to sit in a classroom will be sent home. They will not be able to return to school until a meeting has occurred with a parent and a member of the Principal team. This will also apply to any student who behaves in an unsafe or inappropriate manner with regards to hygiene, social distancing towards staff or making inappropriate comments, including but not limited to, having coronavirus.

7). The school canteen would prefer contactless payment, however, they will accept cash payment. The canteen staff will have appropriate PPE and they will wipe down the card readers after every use. In addition, only 10 students will be allowed entry at a time. Please follow the instructions when queuing for the canteen, a temporary queue has been made in the front of the entrance. Mobile phones cannot be used for contactless payment, as per the school mobile phone policy.

8). Students will be asked to spend recess and lunch outdoors whenever the weather allows. Provision has been made for VCE students to be able to do independent study should they wish in study hall/ upper floor of D building. In all other instances students will need the permission of a teacher to remain indoors at recess and lunch.

In the case of rain, arrangements will be made for students and communicated as required.

9). Students are encouraged to raise any issues they may have with Student Voice or their Home Group teachers.

10). Students are advised to practise hand hygiene before and after catching public transport or sharing any equipment.

11). Mobile phone rules remain in place. All phones and similar communication devices are to be stored in lockers at the start of the day and retrieved at the end of the day. It is advisable to clean these devices regularly.

12). Students are expected to be in full school uniform. Normal school processes will apply for students out of uniform.

13). Members of the college wellbeing team will be visiting classes to touch base with students and offer various supports upon returning to school.

14). There is no parking on site for students. Students who have no alternative than to drive to school must park their vehicles in Edith Avenue for the duration of Term 2.

15). One of the most important things you can begin to do is to reset your sleep cycle. No doubt there have been some late nights and for many of you this has meant a change in routine. Start getting up at the same time you would need to on a typical school day, eat breakfast and if you can, go outside for a walk or sit near a window to get some light. Getting your sleep cycle back into sync with the school and work day will improve learning and your mental and physical health. This includes not looking at a computer or mobile phone an hour before you go to sleep!

16). Teachers will have a “safe space” marked out on the floor at the front of the room, and no students will be permitted to enter that space at any time.

17). We ask all students to take personal hygiene very seriously. Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer or soap regularly when you leave your house in the morning or get home at night, have coughed or sneezed, touched your face, been to the toilet or eaten. Avoid touching your face as much as possible and cough or sneeze into your elbow, and when you blow your nose, put your tissues straight into the bin. Under no circumstances should students share water bottles or food.

18). We cannot wait to see you and are all looking forward to catching up and getting on with the business of learning.

Regards,

Aaron Sykes

Principal Melba College