COVID-19 Update 23

Return to School, Term 1 2022

As we start the year with more COVID cases in the community than ever before, authorities have warned us to expect many absences for students and staff over the first five weeks of Term 1.

At Kuyper, we are blessed to start the year with all our teaching positions filled. However, given the current shortage of permanent and casual teachers, it is anticipated that we may not be able to staff classes in the regular way if high levels of sickness occur in our school community. Should this situation arise at Kuyper, we will employ a variety of class supervision methods, including Casual Teachers and Teacher’s Aides. Our students are already established in using Google Classroom, and a hybrid teaching model using Google Classroom may be introduced to accommodate disruptions in staffing. Our School@Home website will be updated with details about hybrid learning shortly.

RAHT testing for schools

As part of the NSW Government’s focus on prioritising face-to-face learning in schools, rapid antigen home test (RAHT) kits have been issued to all schools in NSW to be used for surveillance and incident response testing by staff and students in the first four weeks of Term 1, 2022.

How will the School distribute the RAHT kits to students?

RAHT kits will be available to collect on Monday, 31 January. The NSW Department of Education recommends that allocated tests be used for staff and students’ home surveillance testing twice a week, each Monday and Wednesday. Four tests will be packaged for each student (enough for the first two weeks of School). Tests will be sent home with individual students if parents cannot collect. As always, please park at the school gate and phone the Office. We will bring the packs out to you.

Staff and students are encouraged to use a RAHT kit before the first day of School if they have access to one.

What is the process for RAHT testing? Do people test at home?

The RAHT kits are a quick and easy screening tool to help detect COVID-19 in people who do not have symptoms. They involve a simple nose swab that is placed in a chemical solution. Parents/carers of children will be required to administer the RAHT test at home. Instructions will be included with the RAHT kits.

Do schools need to record positive results? What about negative results?

If a student or staff member receives a positive RAHT test, they need to:

  • Record the positive RAHT result through the Service NSW website or Service NSW app
  • Notify the School Office of the positive RAT or PCR test result
  • Follow NSW Health advice to isolate for seven days
  • Negative results do not need to be reported to Service NSW or the school

Managing positive COVID-19 cases

What does a student or staff member do if they test positive?

Any student or staff member who tests positive to COVID-19 must follow NSW Health requirements under the Public Health Order for testing positive and self-isolation. Currently, the requirements are:

  • Isolate for seven days following the positive test.
  • Leave isolation after seven days if no symptoms (sore throat, runny nose, cough or shortness of breath).
  • If there are symptoms after seven days, then remain in isolation until 24 hours after symptoms have resolved. Note: if a person continues to have symptoms, they can leave isolation after seven days, with medical clearance.

When can a student or staff member return to School after testing positive, and when do they recommence surveillance testing?

Once a person who has tested positive to COVID-19 has finished their isolation period, as detailed above, they can immediately return to school settings. Individuals do not need to return a negative test to leave isolation. Once a person who has tested positive has finished their isolation, they do not need to self-isolate or undertake testing (RAHT or PCR) for 28 days unless symptoms reappear. Following these 28 days, individuals should resume RAHT surveillance testing.

What is the definition of a household/close contact?

A household contact is a person who lives with someone who has COVID-19. Only household contacts are required by NSW Health to isolate for seven days (unless the person has previously tested positive to COVID and ended their isolation in the past 28 days).

What happens if a student is identified as a household/close contact? Can they attend School during their isolation period?

No. A student cannot attend School through the use of RAHT if they are identified as a household/close contact. Students identified as household/close contacts are required to complete the seven day period of isolation.

What advice will parents/carers receive regarding positive COVID cases in the school community?

Parents/carers will be advised if there is a positive case in the School. The communication may be for a class, cohort or whole school group, as appropriate to the situation. Individuals will not be identified.

Masks

What is the current requirement for students – primary and secondary?

Masks continue to be required in indoor settings for staff and secondary students and are strongly encouraged for primary students. Dept of Health requires students and staff to wear non-vented surgical masks rather than cloth masks. Parents should equip their children with masks for School as appropriate. Spare masks can be obtained from the Office if required; however, our supply is very limited.

Visiting the School

Parents are asked to keep visits to the School to a minimum during the first five weeks of term. Upon arrival, all visitors must use the QR code and sign the Visitors’ Register outside the School Office.

Do parents need to remain in their cars when dropping off students?

Yes, as a risk mitigation strategy, parents should remain socially distant from each other in the drop off/collection areas. Please remain in your car if possible. Parents with young children are exempt from this guideline.

Parents/carers bringing new students in on the first day of School may accompany their child to class. Pick up and drop off from then on will be in accordance with the guidelines above.

Can unvaccinated parents enter the school grounds?

Yes. Restrictions and recommendations are the same for all parents/carers, regardless of vaccination status. However, all parents/carers are reminded to avoid coming into School unless absolutely necessary and phone the Office from the gate before entering School grounds.

Can parents attend assemblies?

No. At this stage, parents cannot attend school gatherings, such as assemblies. We will let you know when this situation changes. Special arrangements will be made for the School Swimming Carnival, which will be a competitor-only event, and follow separation guidelines for outdoor settings.

Cleaning, Sanitising and Ventilation

The School employs professional cleaners who will continue to apply thorough cleaning methods across the School. In addition, teachers will engage in class cleaning routines throughout the day. The School has ample sanitiser dispensing stations outside every building and classroom and will expect staff and students to sanitise their hands regularly. Rooms will also be well ventilated.

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