Novel Coronavirus – COVID-19 (update 12 March 2020)
The World Health Organisation has declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
Queensland Health and the Australian Department of Health are working tirelessly to manage and contain the impact of this virus for Australians and Queenslanders alike. They are regularly updating travel advice (https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/) as new information emerges.
The Department of Education continues to work closely with Queensland Health to monitor the situation and identify and manage any impacts on schools and early childhood centres. You can be assured that we have been preparing and stand ready to act should the need arise.
I wanted to also provide you with some more information about the approach that our College might need to take if a COVID-19 case is identified in our College.
If a case is identified in our College, the Non-state Schools Accreditation Board, Independent Schools Queensland, and Queensland Health will work closely with us in managing our response and our actions will be taken with community health at the centre of our decision making.
If there is a confirmed case at our College, it is likely our College will need to close for a period to allow Queensland Health to assess the situation and to perform contact tracing as required to identify people and students who may have come in contact with the COVID-19 case. You may have already seen this happening in other states where confirmed cases have been identified.
We work with Queensland Health and other relevant authorities to conduct any specialised cleaning of our facilities as required to ensure our College is safe for students and staff to return when clearance is given. A closure is likely to include any on-site services such as outside school hours care (OSHC) and other facility hirers (including Cadets).
Continuity of learning is extremely important to us. Our College Executive including our Chief Information Officer held a strategic assessment meeting on Monday 2 March to ensure learning would continue unimpeded should the College be required to close our physical facilities. If a closure of the College is mandated, teachers will continue to operate as much as possible according to the College timetable, and be accessible to students during their lesson times, through chats on class pages on Citipointe Central. Class content has been uploaded to students’ class pages and students will be required to submit work (and assignment tasks for Secondary students) as usual. Obviously, some practical components of subjects will not be available. Lower Primary classes will operate differently and separate detailed information will be distributed to parents if a closure is necessary. Secondary student homework will be found on Central under Due Work. Any Senior exams that are missed will be postponed and any Junior exams that are missed will be postponed or cancelled. Year 12s have already completed all assessments for their first Unit. The Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) also has procedures in place to support senior secondary students. Specific information for the continued education of International College Students will be provided to students and Homestay parents if a closure is required.
In light of the increased spread of the virus through many countries of the world, the College Executive has made the decision to ban all international travel organized by the College for staff and students until the end of Term 2 with a further assessment to be made at that time. A number of trips have already been cancelled and although disappointing for students and staff, safety is our main priority. Our ISOP coordinator will be in contact with relevant families to discuss the impacts of this decision if he hasn’t already.
Please note that the directive above to ban international travel only applies to College related travel abroad. It does not include any private international travel plans that you have made or are considering. I would simply ask that you make informed decisions based on your personal circumstances in relation to your own health risk and after consideration of the Australian Government’s travel advisory information available online at Smart Traveller. The Australian Government has added Italy to the list of travel restrictions, alongside China, Iran and South Korea.
If your child develops flu-like symptoms, please:
- keep your child at home;
- avoid close contact with others such as touching, kissing or hugging, or any mass gatherings, especially those involving other children;
- see a doctor or contact 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) immediately;
- seek medical advice if your child has other underlying medical conditions; and
- call ahead to the medical centre or doctor’s surgery, advising of your child’s symptoms and the closure of the school.
It is also important to continue to encourage your children to:
- wash their hands regularly with soap and water, particularly before and after eating, and after going to the toilet;
- use alcohol-based hand sanitiser if soap is unavailable;
- cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of their elbow; and
- dispose of tissues in the bin immediately.
Further advice and information about the coronavirus is available on the Queensland Health website: http://conditions.health.qld.gov.au/HealthCondition/condition/14/217/838/novel-coronavirus
As a community, during this preparation phase, it may be timely for families to consider their own family and care arrangements should school closure be necessary.
Again, while you can be reassured that the Department of Education and Department of Health are taking all necessary measures to contain COVID-19, it is important for me to keep information flowing to parents and caregivers to ensure we are all informed and prepared as a community, should this public health issue come into our school.
I thank you for your support in managing this event and supporting student awareness of the additional need for strong health and hygiene practices. Please continue to pray for all those affected around the world and the safety of those within our College community.
God bless you
Ps Brian Mulheran
Citipointe Christian College
Date posted: March 12, 2020