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Return to on-site schooling

Letter to parents regarding the phased return to on-site learning

12th May 2020 

Dear parents and carers, 

Thank you for all your support during these past few weeks of remote and flexible learning. 

Following advice from the Chief Health Officer, the Victorian Government has advised that schools can begin a phased return to on-site schooling. 

In the first stage, students in Prep, Grade 1 and Grade 2, senior secondary (Year 11 and 12 VCAL and VCE) students and all students in specialist schools will return to school from Tuesday 26 May. 

To support all school staff to prepare for this transition, Monday 25 May will be a pupil-free day. 

Out of Hours School Care will resume on Tuesday the 26 May from 3:30-6:00pm. You can book in by contacting the office. 

In the second stage of our return to on-site schooling, all other year levels will return to school from Tuesday 9 June. 

For those students who cannot be supervised at home, the existing model of on-site schooling will remain in place during the two-week period from Tuesday 26 May to Tuesday 9 June. The current process that we are using to enable parents and carers to indicate the days or part-days for which on- site schooling is required will continue for this two-week period. 

All other students in these grades and year levels will continue learning from home until Tuesday 9 June. 

Once a year level has returned, all students will be expected to attend school as normal. This means if you choose to keep your child/children home after their year level has returned to on-site schooling, we can no longer support their learning from home. 

This does not apply to children who need to be absent for health or medical reasons. For those families, please contact us so we can make an appropriate plan. 

This same approach is being taken by all government schools in Victoria. 

To support the health and wellbeing of all our students and staff, our school will continue an enhanced cleaning routine and will encourage frequent hand washing. 

If you child is ill or is feeling unwell, they must not attend school. They must remain home and seek medical advice. 

While the Chief Health Officer has advised that students will not be required to maintain physical distancing at school, there will be a number of important changes to our school operations, consistent with health advice to all schools. This will apply until further notice. I will provide more detail about our local school context as soon as possible, but it is important to note that changes will include: 

  • adjusted arrangements for drop off and pick up, including staggered school start and finish times; 
  • restrictions on access to the school site for anyone other than immediate school staff and students; 
  • the way we conduct parent-teacher meetings and interviews 

We understand that some families may feel anxious about this move back to classroom teaching and learning. I can assure you that this decision has been taken on the basis of the best health advice available to our state. 

More information about the return to school and coronavirus (COVID-19) can be found on the Department’s website, which will continue to be updated: https://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/department/Pages/coronavirus.aspx 

Thank you for your continued support and patience during this time. We look forward to welcoming our students back to the classroom. 

Yours sincerely, 

Kate FitzGerald 

ACTING PRINCIPAL

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Possible Transition to Remote Learning Letter

Monday 6th April 2020

Dear parents and guardians,

Prior to the holidays staff began preparing for a possible transition to ‘remote learning’. At this stage
no further information is available. Once we know more, we will inform the school community. Please
be aware of speculation suggesting that school will/will not be open at the start of Term 2. You will be
informed once we receive information officially from the Department of Education and Training.

In preparation for remote learning, we have created a remote learning website, accessible at the link
below. Most sections of the website are publicly accessible, however if you are asked to log in, please
use your child’s Epsom Google account (which is/are attached to this letter).

http://www.epsomps.vic.edu.au/remote-learning-website

Some staff may request that student’s access, complete and upload learning tasks to Google Drive.
The login details for Google Drive are the same as your child’s Epsom Google account. If these login
details don’t work for some reason, please contact Eliza McKenna at:

mckenna.eliza.j@edumail.vic.gov.au

Please note that the remote learning website is not yet publicly accessible. It is still being developed by
our amazing staff! Lessons will be available on this website from the 15th of April if we are undertaking
‘remote learning’.

I would also like to inform our community that Mrs Coulter, our Principal will be taking extended leave
for the duration of term 2. I will be the Acting Principal during this time. Thank you once again for
your support during Term 1.

Kind regards,

Kate FitzGerald
Acting Principal

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IMPORTANT UPDATE – 24/3/2020 11am

IMPORTANT UPDATE
24th March, 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,
As you are aware, the holidays have been brought forward to contain the spread of coronavirus in our community. During this week, our staff will be planning further for remote learning in the event that this will be required next term.

If you and your partner work within the essential services and do not have alternative childcare arrangements, you are able to send your child/ren to school. Lyn and I will provide a supervision program. Essential services include health, corrections, police and emergency services workers. If essential services workers require holiday program places for their children over the Term 1 holidays due to the State of Emergency, please contact the school. DET will then work out with the school and OSHC providers to determine the level of provision of holiday programs that can be provided over the coming holidays.

If you and your partner do not work in an essential services occupation and your child/ren are sent to school this week and on Tuesday 14th April, you will be contacted to pick them up.
The Victorian Health Officer (VHO) will advise on whether the transition to flexible and remote learning and support should commence on the first student day of Term 2 (Wednesday 15th April) closer to that date. We will communicate this via email and our Facebook page.

In preparation for remote learning our staff contacted all families to ensure email addresses, phone numbers and devices were available. This helped us move forward with our planning preparations. We have set up Google Drive to include, Google Classrooms, Google Hangouts, Google Chat and email. All 3-6 children know how to use the Google suite, however, this will be new learning for the Prep to 2’s. Throughout the holidays, we will be sending out a letter explaining how to connect and use the google suite for all families. This letter will also include your child/ren’s passwords and usernames. In the event of remote learning, this will be your child’s contact to their teachers and their learning. There will be more information to come regarding remote learning for all our units and specialist subjects as we continue our planning next term.

If we move to remote learning from Wednesday the 15th of April, you will be notified. Your child’s teacher will make contact also.
Take care everyone, we will see you after the holidays either online or in person. Stay isolated and look after yourselves.

Regards,

Lyn and Kate

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IMPORTANT CHANGES 23-3-2020 12pm

**IMPORTANT UPDATE – 23/3/2020 12pm**

Families to prepare for transition to home learning commencing on Wednesday the 15th of April. This means, from that date, your children will stay at home. Information on home learning programs will be emailed out to families later this week. Please ensure your email address is current.

Reminder:

  • School holidays commence tomorrow. No students are to be at school.
  • Hot Cross Bun orders will be available to pick up from the drive-thru on Wednesday from 1:30-3:30pm.
  • No after school care until further notice.
  • Office hours of 8:30-4pm will continue for any phone inquiries (excluding school holidays).
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Coronavirus update 23-3-2020 9:00am

** IMPORTANT CHANGES**

Today (Monday 23rd March) will be the final day of Term 1. School holidays have been brought forward starting Tuesday 24th of March. Today’s school day will end at 3:30pm as normal.

This is part of the implementation of a shutdown of all non-essential activity across Victoria over the next 48 hours.

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Coronavirus update – pupil free days

An Important Update
21st March, 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,
Last night, The Department of Education & Training (DET) released further information in regard to altered arrangements on schools due to the impact of COVID-19. Some points to be immediately aware of from last night’s DET email are:

  • Friday 27th March, the last day of term and Tuesday 14th April, the first day of term 2, will be Pupil Free days to allow schools to prepare for more flexible learning arrangements, including remote learning. It will be opportunity to consolidate our preparations.
  • Outside Hours School Care/ After School care will NOT operate on Friday.

Please note that Tuesday the 14th of April was already a curriculum day at Epsom Primary School. We will dismiss students on Thursday the 26th of March at 3:30pm. Out of School Hours Care will still operate as normal on Thursday.

It’s a timely reminder to make sure that we have your current email address to ensure we can communicate with you about your students learning and continue to provide updates.

Thank you for you continued support, continue to look after each other and we’ll see you on Monday.

Kind Regards,

Kate FitzGerald
Assistant Principal

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Coronavirus changes 17/3/2020 at 4:00pm

Coronavirus update 17/3/2020 at 4:00pm

In light of coronavirus, to minimise risks, a few changes have been made:
– we ask that parents pick their children up from the school gates where possible, to minimise the amount of people on our site at any given time. We understand this is not possible for all students, particularly prep students. If this is not possible, we ask that you wait outside the classroom ensuring appropriate social distancing.
– the grade 5/6 camp has been postponed until Term 4
– the prep Gruffalo excursion has been postponed until September
– breakfast club has been cancelled for the remainder of this term
– assemblies will NOT occur for the remainder of term. We will post photos/videos of stars of the week and stars of the term onto facebook

We thank you in advance for your support with these changes. We will keep you updated with any further changes that may be necessary as the government and department make more decisions.

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Coronavirus update 16/3/2020 3:30pm

RE: COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS) INFORMATION

Update as of 16/3/2020 3:30pm

In the last few days you will have heard much information and advice regarding schools and Corona virus.

This update contains information which will be important over the coming days and weeks. It’s lengthy but please read it carefully. It’s important that parents don’t panic but it’s also important to know what the school is planning and what advice we have:

Self-isolate – Children remain at home and restrict contact with others for 14 days because they have either been confirmed with the virus or they have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Self distancing – maintaining a distance between yourself and others to minimise the risk of contracting the virus, with a suggested distance of 1.5 metres. This includes limiting physical contact with others. Teachers will be working minimize close contact in the classrooms and talking about playground etiquette.

Close contact – having, within the last 14 days, at least 15 minutes of face-to-face contact or the sharing of a closed space for more than two hours with someone who has been tested and confirmed as having COVID-19.

  1. An important step all of us should be taking to help stop the spread of any disease is to teach our children good hygiene practices: cover your mouth or nose when coughing or sneezing, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water on a regular basis (or provide hand sanitiser) (particularly before eating and after using the toilet), avoid close contact with people who are sick and avoid touching your nose, eyes and mouth. Self-distancing (where possible) is also good practice, particularly if there are confirmed cases of the COVID-19 in the community.
  2. The symptoms of the coronavirus include fever, breathing difficulties, cough, sore throat, fatigue or tiredness. Having a cough or sniffle doesn’t mean that you’ve got the coronavirus. One of the distinguishing features of the virus in comparison with a common cold or flu is breathing difficulties. However if you are unwell with the symptoms above you should stay at home and not attend school. We are a school, not a medical service and we are not equipped to provide support to students who develop illness during the day. If your child is not well enough to be in class they should not be at school.

    If students present with these symptoms we will do what we do with any illness: we will call parents or emergency contacts and we expect the student to be collected from school as soon as possible.

  3. There seems to be some confusion and concern about the need for people to self-isolate if they perceive a risk through contact with someone who is being tested for the coronavirus. The government advice on this is clear: your child only need to self-isolate if they have been in contact with someone who has been confirmed as having the coronavirus.

  1. It is possible that at some stage the school may be forced to close. If this is because of a confirmed coronavirus case within the school then a closure would possibly be very short; just long enough to identify others who came into close contact with the person who has tested positive to the coronavirus, so that those people can self isolate and be tested.
  2. It is possible that there may be a longer closure of schools as part of a broader campaign to prevent spread of the virus.
  1. In either of the cases above (points 4 and 5) a closure of the school does not mean that students or staff need to go into self-isolation (unless they are known to have been in close contact with a confirmed coronavirus case). Students and staff would be free to involve themselves in normal activities at home or in the community, and they should practice safe behaviours in doing so.
  2. If a decision is made to close the school we are unlikely to have much notice of the closure. It could happen with an hour’s notice at the end of a school day or it could occur overnight. If this does occur we will advise students and parents via our usual means of communication. – Notes, text message, email, website and Facebook. Please be monitoring these closely over the coming days and weeks.
  1. In the event of a closure it’s unclear whether there would be any staff on site to assist with inquiries.

 

  1. If we have members of our school community planning international travel in the coming holidays. For these people in particular it’s important to monitor government advice about travel and information from health authorities, including any precautions you need to take on your return to Australia.
  2. Due to the current concerns we are following advice from the department for all of our upcoming school events and we can advise you that:
    1. We cannot proceed with our Melbourne Anzac Service Parent Teacher interviews
    2. Grade 5/6 camp is postponed until Term 4
    3. Gruffalo excursion cancelled

 

There will no doubt be more information we need to share in the coming days and weeks. In the meantime I encourage everyone to remain alert to the risks, to monitor advice from the school and to speak to your children about practising safe behaviours to prevent the spread of the virus.

Regards

Lyn Coulter

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Coronavirus update 15/3/2020 7pm

Coronavirus update as of 15/3/2020 at 7pm

Dear Students and Parents/Carers at Epsom Primary School,

RE: COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS)

In the last few days you will have heard much information and advice regarding schools and Coronavirus.

This update contains information which will be important over the coming days and weeks. It’s lengthy but please read it carefully. It’s important that parents don’t panic but it’s also important to know what the school is planning and what advice we have.

For your information, the following terms have been defined:

  • Self-isolate – Children remain at home and restrict contact with others for 14 days because they have either been confirmed with the virus or they have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Self distancing – maintaining a distance between yourself and others to minimise the risk of contracting the virus, with a suggested distance of 1.5 metres. This includes limiting physical contact with others. Teachers will be working to minimize close contact in the classrooms and talking about playground etiquette.
  • Close contact – having, within the last 14 days, at least 15 minutes of face-to-face contact or the sharing of a closed space for more than two hours with someone who has been tested and confirmed as having COVID-19.

Steps to be taken include:

  1. An important step all of us should be taking to help stop the spread of any disease is to teach our children good hygiene practices: cover your mouth or nose when coughing or sneezing, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water on a regular basis (or provide hand sanitiser; particularly before eating and after using the toilet), avoid close contact with people who are sick and avoid touching your nose, eyes and mouth. Self-distancing (where possible) is also good practice, particularly if there are confirmed cases of the COVID-19 in the community.
  2. The symptoms of the coronavirus include fever, breathing difficulties, cough, sore throat, fatigue or tiredness. Having a cough or sniffle doesn’t mean that you’ve got the coronavirus. One of the distinguishing features of the virus in comparison with a common cold or flu is breathing difficulties. However, if you are unwell with the symptoms above you should stay at home and not attend school. We are a school, not a medical service and we are not equipped to provide support to students who develop illness during the day. If your child is not well enough to be in class they should not be at school.

    If students present with these symptoms we will do what we do with any illness: we will call parents or emergency contacts and we expect the student to be collected from school as soon as possible.

  3. There seems to be some confusion and concern about the need for people to self-isolate if they perceive a risk through contact with someone who is being tested for the coronavirus. The government advice on this is clear: your child only need to self-isolate if they have been in contact with someone who has been confirmed as having the coronavirus.

  1. It is possible that at some stage the school may be forced to close. If this is because of a confirmed coronavirus case within the school then a closure would possibly be very short; just long enough to identify others who came into close contact with the person who has tested positive to the coronavirus, so that those people can self isolate and be tested.

  1. It is possible that there may be a longer closure of schools as part of a broader campaign to prevent spread of the virus.
  1. In either of the cases above (points 4 and 5) a closure of the school does not mean that students or staff need to go into self isolation (unless they are known to have been in close contact with a confirmed coronavirus case). Students and staff would be free to involve themselves in normal activities at home or in the community, and they should practice safe behaviours in doing so.
  2. If a decision is made to close the school we are unlikely to have much notice of the closure. It could happen with an hour’s notice at the end of a school day or it could occur overnight. If this does occur we will advise students and parents via our usual means of communication. – Notes, text message, email, website and Facebook. Please be monitoring these closely over the coming days and weeks.
  1. In the event of a closure it’s unclear whether there would be any staff on site to assist with inquiries.

  1. If we have members of our school community planning international travel in the coming holidays, for these people in particular it’s important to monitor government advice about travel and information from health authorities, including any precautions you need to take on your return to Australia.
  2. Due to the current concerns we are following advice from the departmenmt for all of our upcoming school events and we can advise you that:
    1. We cannot proceed with our Melbourne Anzac Service.
    2. Parent Teacher interviews scheduled for March 19 and 23 will continue as planned. Any parents/carers who are unwell should not come in for interviews at this time.
    3. Grade 5/6 camp is proceeding at this stage.
    4. Gruffalo excursion decision tomorrow.

There will no doubt be more information we need to share in the coming days and weeks. In the meantime I encourage everyone to remain alert to the risks, to monitor advice from the school and to speak to your children about practising safe behaviours to prevent the spread of the virus.

Regards,

Lyn Coulter

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News and Announcements

Coronavirus

In light of the recent coronavirus outbreak, the department of education has created this fact sheet for school students and children.

Coronavirus fact sheet

For more information, please visit the following websites:

For Victorian updates to the current incident, go to: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/novelcoronavirus
For national updates: https://www.health.gov.au/news/latest-information-about-novel-coronavirus
For international updates: https://www.who.int/westernpacific/emergencies/novel-coronavirus
WHO resources https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus