21 Sep 2022

Updates to the management of COVID-19 in ACT Public Schools

A message from the ACT Education Directorate: Updates to the management of COVID-19 in ACT public schools

Term 4 planning days (pupil free)

Two staff planning days (pupil free) will again be in place in Term 4. The dates are Friday 28 October 2022 and Monday 28 November 2022. 

These planning days provide an important opportunity for our staff to undertake training, plan for the remainder of the term and the year ahead and finalise end of year student reporting which can’t be done during class time.

While students may wish to use these days to catch up on homework and / or assignments, no additional work will be allocated to them on these days. Families may like to use these as wellbeing days for their children.

Students who can’t stay at home will be able to attend school and be supervised while undertaking general learning activities. Please confirm attendance with the front office on 6142 0777.

Changes to exposure advice in ACT public schools

Since the beginning of Term 1, ACT public schools have been providing families with email advice when a positive COVID-19 case within a cohort/class group has attended school during their infectious period.

From the beginning of Term 4, families will no longer receive an email every time a positive case is reported. Instead, families will be notified when there is an outbreak of COVID-19.

This change aligns with the recent change in public reporting by ACT Health.

Schools will continue to have COVID Smart measures in place to support the health and wellbeing of everyone at school.

Do I still need to tell my school if my child has been at school while potentially infectious? Yes. Anyone who has attended school while positive with COVID-19 must still notify their school. Schools provide this data to the Education Directorate and ACT Health each week and it remains an important tool to help identify any potential outbreaks or areas of concern in our schools.

How will I know if there is an outbreak in my school? You will be notified by text message when there is a higher number of cases in a particular cohort/class group or if a confirmed case is deemed as high risk. This will enable appropriate measures to be put in place to manage these exposures.

Your school will let you know if they need to make any temporary changes to learning.

A reminder to stay COVID smart at school

To help reduce the impacts on learning as a result of illness, please remember to:  

·         Stay up to date with COVID-19 and influenza vaccinations. 

·         Do not attend school if unwell or if you have tested positive to COVID-19.

·         Practise good hand and respiratory hygiene.

·         Wear a mask when appropriate.

If your child or young person is a household contact, they may still attend school as long as they do not have any symptoms and have tested negative for COVID-19. Please follow ACT Health advice and let your school know by contacting the front office.

29 Jul 2022

Mask wearing in Schools - Term 3

Masks remain an important measure to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community and in our schools.

Alongside other COVID Smart behaviours, masks can help reduce transmission of COVID-19 respiratory illnesses in our schools.

Students in years 7-12 continue to be encouraged to wear a mask at school when in crowded indoors environments and where physical distancing can’t be maintained.

Staff and visitors to schools must also wear a mask indoors when physical distancing can’t be maintained.

The Directorate, through your school will keep you updated over the Term.

For more information read the updated ACT Public Schools COVID-19 Management Plan available on the Directorate’s website.

ACT Health has developed an online resource on acute respiratory infections in children which you are encouraged to read.


Thank you once more for your ongoing support.

From the Chief Medical Officer
29 Jul 2022

A Message to Schools from ACT Chief Health Officer - 26 July 2022

Dear school community,

Important information about COVID-19

Welcome back to the new school term. I hope families were able to enjoy the school holidays.

As many of you would be aware, COVID-19 case numbers are increasing in the ACT and we’re expecting numbers to peak in the coming weeks. This is happening at the same time as there is an increase in other viruses in our community, including influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

This increase in case numbers will have impacts and challenges for all of us. We expect to see more people away from workplaces and unable to participate in their usual day to day activities – including teachers and students in classrooms. While our schools are actively planning to ensure learning will continue over the Term, it remains extremely important that we continue to take personal actions to minimise the impact of COVID-19 in our schools and community.

My advice to the ACT community is as follows:

  • remain up to date with your COVID-19 and influenza vaccinations. Get a COVID-19 vaccine booster if you are eligible.
  • stay at home if you have any symptoms of COVID-19 and get tested
  • for persons aged 12 years and over wear a mask when in crowded indoor environments and where physical distancing is not possible. Masks continue to be required when entering certain high risk settings (eg. hospitals and aged care facilities) and for household contacts who are attending school or work. 
  • plan ahead and know what treatments, such as COVID-19 antivirals, may be available to you.

There have also been some recent changes and updated advice around COVID-19 that I would like remind you about.

COVID-19 reinfection timing

If it has been more than 28 days since you were cleared from isolation and you develop new COVID-19 symptoms, you should get tested for COVID-19 and stay at home.  If you return a positive test result, you should follow the ACT Health advice for people who test positive to COVID-19.

This new advice follows Australian Health Protection Principal Committee recommendations to reduce the reinfection period from 12 weeks to 28 days.

This is based on increasing evidence that prior infection with COVID-19 provides limited protection against reinfection with the Omicron BA.4 / BA.5 subvariants. These subvariants are expected to become the dominant strain and are more transmissible than earlier variants we’ve seen in Australian and in the ACT.

Find out if you’re eligible for COVID-19 treatments

Eligibility for COVID-19 treatments have expanded. You’re now eligible for COVID-19 treatments, such as antivirals, if you are:

  • 70 years or older
  • 50 years or older with 2 or more risk factors for severe disease
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, aged 30 years and over with 2 or more risk factors for severe disease
  • 18 years and older who are moderately to severely immunocompromised.

Treatments can stop COVID-19 infection from becoming severe and prevent hospitalisation. Talk to a GP or another health professional now about your COVID-19 treatment options, including how you would arrange for early treatment if you did get COVID-19.

Winter COVID-19 vaccination dose

Adults aged 50 to 64 years are now recommended to get a winter COVID-19 vaccine dose (second booster). Adults aged 30 to 49 years can also get a winter COVID-19 vaccine dose, however the benefit for people in this age group is less certain. Winter doses can now be given 3 months after the first booster dose (previously 4 months).

COVID-19 vaccine booster doses give more protection against becoming seriously ill from COVID-19.

The coming wave of COVID-19 infections is serious. I am urging everyone to keep up their COVID Smart behaviours to protect yourself, your families and your school communities.

Regards,

Dr Kerryn Coleman

ACT Chief Health Officer

I acknowledge the traditional custodians of the ACT, the Ngunnawal people.
I acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region.

www.covid19.act.gov.au

 

Message from the Principal


Welcome to Torrens Primary School! We are a vibrant, colourful P-6 school set in spacious grounds, with three offsite preschools in Chifley, Pearce and Torrens. We enjoy strong community involvement and support in all aspects of school life. The partnership between school and home is extremely important to develop and foster high academic achievement, meaningful relationships and a love of learning in our students.

At Torrens Primary School, teamwork and tolerance are promoted. High quality educational and extra curricula programs are presented by an extremely dedicated and involved team of staff. Torrens is known for the range of incredible opportunities offered to students throughout their years here. From gymnastics to soccer, carnivals to camps, djembe drumming to choirs,   concerts and talent quests. We have the latest technology, screens, devices and robots. We are part of an active cluster. Along with Mawson and Farrer Primary schools, we work with Melrose High School and Canberra College to offer outstanding transition programs.

At Torrens Primary School, we cater for a broad range of individual differences including gifted and talented students and students with special needs. Emphasis is placed on providing the best possible start during the first years of schooling. Early intervention programs include the development of early literacy and numeracy skills through an active support team led by the Deputy Principal. The team includes Executive teachers, School Psychologist, EALD staff, learning assistants, parents and special interest partners such as One Link, Woden Community Services and the Schools Volunteer Program.

Torrens Primary School is a resilient, thriving social democracy. Together we are building an inspiring and inclusive vision. The staff, students and community are united in working towards excellence in education, promoting diversity and nurturing a culture of wellbeing. Everyone is celebrated as an individual. Plans are personalised. Learning is differentiated. Students are engaged in their learning. Positive outcomes are achieved. Our collegial nature places a high priority on trust, collaboration and positive relationships. There is a sense of belonging and pride at Torrens. Welcome to the journey.

Every learner. Every day.

Rachel Matthews - Principal

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