19 Jul 2022
The wellbeing of our staff and students, and our students’ education remains paramount. The College continues to implement layered COVID-smart measures aligned to the NSW Government’s general community settings and provides our students with a consistent and productive learning environment.
These include -
• if unwell, stay at home, test and only attend the College, for learning and work, when symptom free
• rapid antigen testing for symptomatic students, staff, and close contacts all students and staff are strongly encouraged to wear a mask for at least the first 4 weeks of Term 3, particularly in indoor settings or when social distancing is not possible.
• COVID-19 vaccination, including boosters if eligible, and influenza vaccinations are strongly encouraged for students, staff and their families
• good hygiene practices and maximising natural ventilation
What’s new in Term 3?
As winter continues, and in consultation with NSW Health, our COVID-smart measures have been updated to provide appropriate protection to our College community.
Following an independent risk assessment of school settings, and in consultation with unions and relevant stakeholders, the Department of Education has updated its policy regarding COVID-19 vaccination for employees. While vaccination will no longer be a requirement for our staff from 1 August 2022, it is pleasing to note a recent survey highlighted more than 99% of the Department’s active school-based workforce have had at least two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. As a way of protecting themselves, students, and our school community, all of the Department’s staff will continue to be encouraged to maintain their COVID-19 vaccinations.
The Department has made a slight change to its school cleaning process. Cleaning will now be more concentrated during the school day, with an increase in cleaning within school hours, and a subsequent reduction in cleaning out of school hours. Enhanced cleaning will continue to focus on A Member of the Nirimba Collegiate Group of Schools A Partner in the Nirimba Education Precinct high-touch areas and other hard surfaces, door handles, light switches and handrails in stairways and movement areas.
What’s continuing for Term 3?
As masks are an effective way of minimising the transmission of respiratory viruses and infections, such as COVID-19 and influenza, all students and staff are strongly encouraged to wear a mask for at least the first 4 weeks of Term 3, particularly in indoor settings or when social distancing is not possible. The latest NSW Health advice also recommends mask wearing, for an additional 3 days after the completion of the 7-day isolation period for those who tested positive to COVID-19.
Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs)
Early in Term 3, the Department of Education will provide an additional 5 RAT kits per student. The College will advise the process for the distribution of these kits once they have arrived onsite. These RAT kits can be used, as required, for symptomatic testing - even for the mildest of symptoms. Once you have used these Department-supplied RAT kits and to continue to ensure the health and wellbeing of all, please continue to purchase RAT kits from the various retail outlets in the community. PCR tests are also still available. Alternatively, please contact the College and we will try and to assist.
Please also remember that positive RAT results must be registered with ServiceNSW. Students, who test positive for COVID-19, must not attend school until their 7-day isolation period ends and they are symptom free.
Mask wearing is mandatory, for a period of 5 days, for College staff and students attending the College to learn or work, and are close contacts. Students or staff identified as close contacts who are unable to wear a mask will be supported to learn or work remotely. The rules regarding close contacts in our Support Units and assisted transport programs remain unchanged. Students in these settings are not allowed to attend school as close contacts, and will continue to be supported to learn remotely. Additionally, visitors identified as close contacts are not allowed to engage directly with students in these settings.
Responding to Our Local Situation
While the College continues to ensure COVID-smart settings meets the Department’s and NSW Health’s latest developments, local conditions this may mean reintroducing temporary additional COVID-smart measures to act as a ‘circuit breaker’.
These may include -
• mandating mask wearing for all staff and students
• postponing or limiting non-essential activities like excursions, indoor assemblies and visitors to the school
• directing cohorts to learn remotely for short periods of time.
A Member of the Nirimba Collegiate Group of Schools A Partner in the Nirimba Education Precinct In the event of an outbreak in the school community, the College will also maintain a reserve stock of RAT kits onsite for symptomatic testing.
Maximising Natural Ventilation
As part of the winter ventilation planning, the Department has reviewed local climatic conditions and continues to provide guidance and advice in maximising natural ventilation, in tandem with providing thermal comfort.
Trial Higher School Certificate Examinations
The Trial HSC Examinations for Year 12 students are due to commence on Monday 25 July 2022. During the exam period, the College will be following COVID Safe guidelines - including social distancing and will be strongly encouraging the wearing of masks.
Reducing the Risk of Illness
This Winter It is important to note the NSW Health’s advice to reduce the risk of, not only COVID-19, but other illnesses such as influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). These can be serious in younger people and may also affect our school at this time of year. We can all protect our loved ones and our community by -
• staying home and getting tested if unwell or displaying any symptoms
• keeping up to date with vaccinations – including the flu vaccine, which is available from GPs, pharmacies or the Aboriginal Medical Service. Flu vaccines are free for all children aged 6 months to under 5 years, or for a small charge for those aged 5 years and older
• testing immediately for COVID-19, if symptomatic and isolating until receiving a negative result and are symptom free
• practicing good hand hygiene by washing regularly with soap and water • doing a RAT before visiting vulnerable loved ones or going to large gatherings and events
Thank you for your ongoing support and commitment to Wyndham College and for your flexibility in helping our College community remain safe.
Carolyn Lasker - Principal