Coronavirus Update

As a result of the evolving COVID-19 situation, today the Queensland Government has advised that Queensland schools will be student free from Monday 30 March, 2020.

While students are not required to attend school next week, the school will continue to provide supervision for students where their parents are required to attend work and for vulnerable students (e.g. those living in out-of-home care).

Each school will be providing further details to their parents/carers and students. We thank our dedicated staff for their continued support of our students during this very challenging time.


Update 26/03/2020: School announcement

As a result of the evolving COVID-19 situation, today the Queensland Government has advised that next week Queensland schools will be student free. While students are not required to attend school next week, the school will continue to provide supervision for students where their parents are required to attend work and for vulnerable students (e.g. those living in out-of-home care).

Each school will be providing further details to their parents/carers and students.

We thank our dedicated staff for their continued support of our students during this very challenging time.

> QCEC Media release about school closures

Update 24/03/2020: Bishop Tim's Pastoral Letter to the Clergy and Faithful of the Diocese of Townsville

Bishop Tim's Pastoral Letter to the Clergy and Faithful of the Diocese of Townsville

Update 23/03/2020: Resources for adults and children

COVID-19 Information page with a variety of resources including videos and social stories

A Flipbook/social story for children

Update 19/03/2020: Financial distress provisions

Our schools are aware that with a local economy heavily dependent on tourism and travel as well as international education that there are already significant local economic impacts. If your family is suffering financial distress as a result we strongly encourage you to discuss this with your school Principal. Our schools will continue to provide support, including fee relief for families in genuine financial distress.

Update 17/03/2020: Family and student travel

 As you are probably aware, all school overseas travel plans have been cancelled across Townsville Catholic Education schools up until mid – year. This decision also affects student exchange programs (both ways) and staff professional development, conference or sabbatical leave.

 If you have any personal plans for overseas family travel in the coming weeks, you'll now be required to self-isolate on your return to Australia for 14 days. This applies to all travellers, including Australian citizens. Should this occur, given the information available, your child will not be able to return to school and will need to be absent during a period of self-isolation.

We understand our families remain alert to the potential spread of the virus and how it may impact our school communities.  Please be assured that the health and well-being of your children, our students, remains our number one priority.

Update 17/03/2020 Large school gatherings

Catholic schools with more than 500 students are bound to comply with the directive to schools,and all non-essential mass static gatherings have been cancelled. Static refers to a large group sitting or gathering altogether in a hall or similar facility or space for a reasonable amount of time together.  Individual schools will manage this based on their own circumstances.  At this unprecedented time, all schools will be continually assessing the risks associated with this evolving situation. 

Background

The coronavirus (COVID-19) is continuing to be a growing concern for health authorities worldwide and as at 12 March, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared this matter a pandemic.

Queensland Health and the Australian Department of Health are working tirelessly to manage and contain the impact of this virus for Australians and Queenslanders alike. You can access the latest information about the virus at health.gov.au.  Townsville Catholic Education (TCE) continues to work closely with the Queensland Catholic Education Commission and the relevant state authorities, including Queensland Health, to monitor the situation and identify and manage any impacts on schools. You can be assured that we have been preparing and stand ready to act should the need arise.

In addition to the advice of our State and Commonwealth health authorities we would like to advise the measures we will implement for Townsville Catholic schools as part of our duty of care and commitment to the safety of all members of our school and college communities. We will update this information as circumstances change in line with the professional advice we receive.

If a case is identified in a school

If a case is identified in our school, we will work closely with relevant authorities, including Queensland Health, in managing our response and our actions will be taken with community health at the centre of our decision making.

If there is a confirmed case at our school, it is possible our school may need to close for a period to allow Queensland Health to assess the situation and to perform contact tracing as required to identify people, staff and students who may have come in contact with the COVID-19 case. You may have already seen this happening in other states where confirmed cases have been identified.

If this occurs, we will also consider specialised cleaning of our facilities as required to ensure our school is safe for students and staff to return when clearance is given. A closure is likely to include any on-site services such as outside school hours care (OSHC) and other facility hirers.

Continuity of learning is extremely important to us and, as in other disaster and emergency events, we have options available to facilitate online learning to support your child’s learning. The Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) also has procedures in place to support senior secondary students.

If your child develops flu-like symptoms

If your child develops flu-like symptoms, please:

  • keep your child at home;
  • avoid close contact with others such as touching, kissing or hugging, or any mass gatherings, especially those involving other children;
  • seek medical advice if your child has other underlying medical conditions; and
  • call ahead to the medical centre or doctor’s surgery, advising of your child’s symptoms. You can also contact contact 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84).

It is also important to continue to encourage your children to:

  • wash their hands regularly with soap and water, particularly before and after eating, and after going to the toilet;
  • use alcohol-based hand sanitiser if soap is unavailable;
  • cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of their elbow; and
  • dispose of tissues in the bin immediately.

If your child presents at school displaying these symptoms, staff have been instructed to send that student to the office where we will contact you to come to collect your child. We will then encourage you to seek medical advice.

As a community, it may be timely for families to consider their own family and care arrangements should school closure be necessary.

Health and hygiene

We are currently heavily  promoting hygienic practices at all schools. There will be renewed emphasis on washing hands several times a day, the availability of hand sanitisers, and the correct protocols for sneezing and coughing. A range of material have been supplied to schools in support of this. Our school cleaners have been issued updated protocols for school cleaning practices that prioritise human contact areas – benches, handles, handrails, toilets etc.

If you are experiencing financial difficulty

Our schools are aware that with a local economy heavily dependent on tourism and travel as well as international education that there are already significant local economic impacts. If your family is suffering financial distress as a result we strongly encourage you to discuss this with your school Principal. Our schools will continue to provide support, including fee relief for families in genuine financial distress.

Ongoing communication

We have a variety of means of communicating with school families and we will use these channels to communicate with our school families as the coronavirus situation unfolds. Please look out for further communication from us and accept that this communication is an important part of keeping our school communities safe. We will update information provided as required.  

 If you have any concerns please discuss them with your child’s teacher or Principal. Please regularly check the following links to the most current and reputable information about the virus and related topics:

Update 06/03/2020: Letter to Parents and Carers

Term 4 Magazine

Student Protection