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COVID-19 update: Term 1 2021

20 January 2021

We received this information from the Department for Education this afternoon:

Remain prepared

While there’s currently no community transmission of COVID-19 in South Australia, it’s important we remain prepared to respond to the fast-changing nature of the pandemic.

We will continue to follow the advice from SA Health and Directions set by SAPOL.

Leaders must ensure they have up-to-date contact details for every child/student’s parent or carer, and be able to easily access these details in the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Please also ensure your staff and students will have access to sufficient ICT devices to allow for continuity of learning in the event of a temporary closure.

There are also some new initiatives and tools being provided to schools and preschools to help with minimising the risks of COVID-19 (see below). 

QR codes

The statewide rollout of the COVID Safe check-in system is ongoing.

Individual QR codes have been allocated to all public schools, preschools and children’s centres.

We will send them to you for use once we have the green light from the COVID-19 Transition Committee who are overseeing the staged rollout.

For now, please continue your site’s existing approach to record keeping for contact tracing purposes.

COVID-19 site safety plan

A new planning tool is available to help individual schools, preschools and children’s centres manage the risks associated with COVID-19 in the workplace.

Hygiene stations

To support schools and preschools in minimising the risks of COVID-19, each site will receive a delivery of two touch-free hand sanitiser stations by the end of week 1, along with two litre bottles of sanitiser.

These can be placed in a main entry to the site and at the entrance to the staff room, and refilled with your preferred sanitiser product. 

Term 1 2021

The following activities can resume/continue providing government health advice and physical distancing requirements are strictly followed:

  • parents, volunteers, departmental support and other service providers may enter school and preschool grounds
  • school assemblies, graduations and concerts
  • all intrastate camps and excursions (SA Health approval is not currently required)
  •  all school sport competitions, sports days and carnivals, including inter-school competitions
  • inter-school choirs, bands and other performing art activities
  • school formals, socials and discos
  • playgroups and occasional care
  • professional learning activities.

Please ensure you are familiar with current SA Health advice on gathering sizes and catering, particularly for offsite events.

For example, a gathering limit of 200 people with a maximum density of 1 person per 2 square metres is currently required for private functions at licensed venues. For events held both on and off site, please note food and beverages must not have shared utensils.

Requirements that remain in place

  • It’s important that students and staff stay home if they are unwell.
  • Daily student attendance reporting for all schools must continue to be reported by 4 pm each day, and weekly for preschools.
  • Adults, including parents must continue to physical distance wherever possible, including at school pick up and drop off or when attending school assemblies and concerts.
  • All overseas travel remains on holds
  •  Schools are advised against booking interstate camps due to the changing nature of border restrictions.
  • The current increased cleaning at all sites will continue.

Staff returning from NSW or QLD

People returning from the following areas of NSW - Greater Sydney (including Blue Mountains), Wollongong, Central Coast, OR people who have visited Greater Brisbane prior to 17 January are required to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days upon arrival in South Australia and have a COVID-19 test on day 1, 5 and 12 of the self-quarantine period.

These requirements are changing frequently and quarantine periods have been reduced for some people. It is important that staff who have travelled to those areas refer to the official public advice and/or speak directly with SA Health to understand requirements and how they apply to their circumstances.

Impacted staff should discuss arrangements for returning to work with their manager. The following broad options for return to work apply for those needing to self-quarantine:

Scenario 1: For travel that commenced before any requirement to self-quarantine upon return to South Australia

  •  Access to flexible working arrangements (work from home or accrued flexi-time) wherever practicable for the period of self-quarantine.
  • Where it is not practicable or appropriate to work from home, access to SLP COVID-19 (capped at a total of 15 days) for the period of self-quarantine.

Scenario 2: For travel that commenced after the requirement to self-quarantine upon return to South Australia

  •  Access to flexible working arrangements (work from home or accrued flexi time) wherever practicable for the period of self-quarantine.
  •  Where it is not practicable or appropriate to work from home, you must use annual/recreation leave, retention leave, long service leave, flexi balances, or special leave without pay for the period of self-quarantine.

You are not entitled to any special leave with pay for this period of self-isolation. You are unable to access personal (sick) leave to cover the isolation period unless you are unwell.

In either circumstance, if you become unwell while self-quarantining the period of absence from that point becomes personal (sick) leave.