Dear Parents and Carers,

I thought it timely to write to you with information about Lorne P-12 College’s response to the COVID19 outbreak since the World Health Organisation’s declaration of it now being considered a ‘pandemic’.

The Victorian Department of Education and Training have been very proactive in communicating with schools around the management this situation. The DET have a Pandemic Incident Response plan that is currently being updated and will be made available to all schools within the next few days. Lorne P-12 College will continue to respond to all advice from the DET and follow their guidelines to the fullest.

In the meantime, the purpose of this email is share some information that will help to minimise the likelihood of any outbreak within our community. We ask you to discuss the following prevention advice with your children:

At home:

  • If students feel at all unwell, especially with any flu like symptoms please do not send them to school and notify your GP ASAP
  • When reporting a student absence due to illness, please inform the College reception of the symptoms your child is experiencing
  • If any member of your family tests positive to COVID19 please notify the College immediately
  • If any member of your family, especially your child, has been in contact with anyone who has tested positive to COVID19 please consult a GP prior to your child returning to school

At school will we discuss with students:

  • The ten ways to reduce the risk of coronavirus (to be discussed with secondary students) – see DHHS link below
  • General hygiene discussion with primary students (we do not want our young people to become alarmed about coronavirus)
  • If you need to cough, please do so into your elbow, not your hand
  • If blowing your nose, please use tissues and dispose of them in a bin or toilet after use
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds, then dry them with paper towel or using the hand dryer. Place any use paper towel in the bin
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before you eat
  • Keep your hands to yourself as much as possible

Other points:

  • We will do our best to ensure an ongoing supply of tissues and hand sanitiser is available from reception for classroom use
  • Donations of tissues and hand sanitiser would be gladly received by reception
  • Until further notice all planning for camps, including our end of year Nepal expedition and mid-year Alice Springs camp (Year 9), will continue however there is currently a ban on international travel from the DET. We will wait and see how this situation progresses over coming months
  • Excursions will go ahead as planned unless there is a specific concern about a venue or activity
  • We will continue to respond to any and all information and policy changes from the DET in the shortest timeframe possible

Most Importantly:

  • Be cautious and alert, not alarmed or panicked

Potential School Closure

You will no doubt have heard discussions in the media about school closures. At this stage we have not received any communication about mass school closures from the DET. School closures will only occur on the advice of Victoria’s Chief Health Officer. At present, the only situation that would see a school closed is once there is a confirmed case of COVID19 for a student or faculty member. If this advice changes, we will respond accordingly.

If in the event that our school does close, we will endeavour to ensure students can continue to access their learning via digital platforms. Teachers across the college are utilising a number of online learning supports including Google Classroom, Edrolo, STYLE, Education Perfect, etc. Students will also be able to use traditional textbooks and related learning tasks.

Impact on VCE Students

We will await advice from the VCAA with regard to any potential impact on VCE assessment, including the mid-year exam period. Please note that no student will be unfairly disadvantaged as a result of a period of school closure if it were to happen and the VCAA will factor any such actions into their ongoing management of the COVID19 response.

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is maintaining an up-to-date website on COVID19 for the general public. Please follow this link if you’d like more information: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/victorian-public-coronavirus-disease-covid-19

In Summary

The COVID19 pandemic is unprecedented and no doubt will continue to pose challenges over the coming months. At all times, the health, safety and wellbeing of our young people will be our core focus and we will respond immediately to all DET advice on managing this issue.

I am confident that by supporting each other and working cooperatively together we will be able continue to provide strong learning outcomes for our students over the coming months.

Yours sincerely,
Shane Elevato
Principal