Community

COVID-19: Information and Advice

The leadership team at Bishop Druitt College are working hard to manage the various challenges associated with the COVID-19 situation. Although there is inevitably disruption and concern associated with these matters, the college is well-placed to manage the situation. This page contains information, links and frequently asked questions to do with COVID-19 and Bishop Druitt College, in date order of publication.

Online Learning

How is the college preparing for students to learn online? 
Please take a look at the following slides on Student, Staff Wellbeing and an overview of BDC planning and learning online if a temporary shutdown.


Please follow this link to view our Distance Education and Online Learning webpage.

Logging Student Absences

Please read the below options for logging student absences.  
Option 1 - Parents "Choosing to Self Isolate" but there is no actual concern or sickness with children. It's "Precaution Only"

Action - Parents must log onto Parent Lounge and enter in the dates they are choosing to self isolate and list "Family Reason" (Not "Sick" as their children are not technically sick)

Option 2 - Parents keeping their child at home in isolation as they are showing signs of illness such as the flu etc. (But are not being tested for COVID-19) Action - Parents must log onto Parent Lounge as normal and list their child away as being "sick"

Option 3 - Parents are required to self isolate children due to medical / travel/government advice (If medical we have to be advised that they or a family member are being tested for COVID-19) Action - Parents have to notify the admin staff as they are the only people with access to log this type of absence as "Self Isolation". Parent's do not have access to do this on Parent Lounge.

Frequently Asked Questions
23rd March, 2020

Do students require a medical certificate to return to school? *UPDATED 20.03.2020 at 9:30am
Where staff or students remain without symptoms during the 14 days self-isolation period, NSW Health does not require a medical certificate to return to school after the 14 days. Schools should request parents/carers to explain the absence from school in the usual way. If a staff member or student has become unwell while in self isolation and is diagnosed with COVID-19 they will need a medical certificate confirming they are able to return to work or school. 

What if a parent refuses to comply with the request and send their child/children to school? *UPDATED 20.03.2020 at 9:30am If a student who should be excluded due to NSW Public Health advice attends school, NSW Health advises that appropriate steps should be taken to isolate the student while at the school. The parents should be contacted and asked to come and collect the student immediately.

16th March, 2020

We have just arrived back from overseas. The area we came from is all clear. Are we okay to return to school? No. If families have recently returned home from overseas we ask that they follow the Australian Government advice and self-isolate at home for 14 days.

If my child has had the test for COVID-19 and we are waiting for the results, should they stay home from school? If your child is sick, please keep them home from school. If your child has been tested for COVID-19, they should stay home from school until the results are available and confirmed negative.

If my child has been diagnosed with COVID-19, when can they return to school? NSW Health will provide guidelines on this matter to any people who are diagnosed; these will be available from your doctor.

Is the college going to suspend gatherings of more than 500 people? The NSW Department of Education (DoE) has revealed its latest measures to limit the impact of COVID-19 in schools. DoE secretary Mark Scott said schools would adopt social distancing measures requiring them to cancel assemblies, excursions, travel, some events and conferences. We are implementing required cancellations of assemblies and instead opting for video recordings to be distributed and smaller group meetings to occur. 

Is the college planning to cancel events or activities? The college leadership team are monitoring the situation and will follow the guidance provided by NSW Health. If advised by the authorities, or if our risk assessment indicates that it is warranted, events or activities may be modified, cancelled, or postponed. The college is keen to maintain the normal operations and learning experiences of the students until the expert medical authorities advise us to act otherwise. Recognising that the situation is fluid, the college will provide as much notice as possible of any such changes.

Events and activities that have been cancelled or postponed at BDC:

  • All NCIS sport
  • Assemblies
  • Whole-school worships and chapels
  • Year 4 and Year 6 Camps have been postponed to Term 4
  • All international tours and exchanges have been postponed or cancelled for the remainder of Semester 1. Please refer to the college calendar available through Parent Lounge for details. 

What strategies has the school put in place to mitigate potential risk? The college has developed the following strategies:

  • Assemblies, sporting events and large group gatherings occurring during Term 1 are in the process of being cancelled and/or postponed. A review of this will continue to occur as we know more information in the future. 
  • External visitors are being limited while students are on campus, this includes our volunteers over 65 years of age. 
  • Additional commercial cleaning services are being deployed.

We have planned to travel overseas in the April holidays. Should we go? Current government advice is to reconsider the need for overseas travel at this time. Apart from the risk of contracting illness, a 14-day period of self-isolation is legally required on return, which may have further impact on your child’s schooling.

I volunteer at the college regularly, what safety measures should I be taking? We value all of our volunteers; however, we recommend that those over 65 years of age please refrain from entering the campus at this time until further notice. 

Can my child still catch the school bus?  With the COVID-19 situation continuing to evolve in NSW, it is important to keep up to date with the latest information and advice. School and route bus services are currently operating as normal, however, should this change unexpectedly, our school bus operator, Busways, advises it will post updates to school and route bus services to its website. Parents are encouraged to regularly check the Busways website at www.busways.com.au for updates and announcements regarding bus services for our school in case changes happen unexpectedly outside of school hours. Regular checks to the Busways website will ensure you have the most up to date information.

13th March, 2020

What should my child do if they are sick on the day that a major assessment item is due to take place at school? If your child is unwell, they must not come to the college. Advise the college that they are unwell immediately, noting that an assessment is scheduled. An alternative arrangement will be put in place. The college has established processes to ensure that students are not disadvantaged due to illness. If your child is in Year 11 or 12 this information is essential, as NESA guidelines must be followed. 

If the college is closed does the college anticipate making use of online classroom streaming technology? The college is currently working with staff to ensure learning continuity is maintained for our students. At this point, the ongoing learning of students will primarily be facilitated through Education Perfect, See-Saw, Google Classroom, Edrolo, Zoom, Maths Pathways and via email. Our approaches will vary, reflecting the respective ages of the students. 

We are confident that Education Perfect, See-Saw, Google Classroom, Edrolo, Zoom, Maths Pathways and contact via email are safe, suitable and useful means of sustaining learning in the event of a shutdown.

Basic COVID-19 transmission, signs and symptoms COVID-19 is primarily spread through respiratory droplets, such as through: 

  • close contact with an infectious person 
  • contact with droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze 
  • touching objects or surfaces (e.g. door knobs, benches, hand-rails) that have cough or sneeze droplets from an infected person, and then touching your mouth or face 

People with coronavirus may experience: 

  • fever 
  • flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat, runny nose and fatigue 
  • shortness of breath

More information can be found here - https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/coronavirus.aspx

11th March, 2020

Should I keep my child home from school? If your child has travelled to an affected area, they legally must be kept home from school for fourteen days of self-isolation since arriving back in Australia to ensure that they are not infected with the coronavirus. The list of affected areas can be found here. In addition, if your child has been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, they legally must be kept home from school for fourteen days of self-isolation since their last contact with the confirmed case of COVID-19. If your child has travelled overseas in the past fourteen days and they have a fever or respiratory illness, please keep them home and seek medical advice.

Should my child come to school if they have cold and flu symptoms, such as a runny nose, fever or a cough, even if they have not had contact with an infected person? No. Your child must not attend school or school-related activities, on or off campus, until they are well. If your child is identified as being unwell in this way while at school they will be isolated and you will be asked to collect them from school. As always, if you are concerned about your child’s health please see your doctor.

How do I let the college know that my child will be absent from school for health reasons, or because they are self-isolating? Follow the usual channels for informing the college of your child’s absence for illness. If you have particular details relating to COVID-19 then please contact the college via telephone or email with the details. 

Has anyone at BDC been diagnosed with COVID-19?  No. At this point in time the college has not been informed of any positive diagnoses. In the event that a diagnosis is made and notified to the college there will be official communication from the school to the community. The NSW Public Health Unit will contact parents and the school directly of any confirmed or suspected cases.

Should I keep my child home from school because I am worried about COVID-19? No. BDC does not encourage this as an option, as students will miss out on all the usual benefits of learning at school. The current advice from NSW Health is that there is no reason why students who have not travelled to affected areas, or had close contact with a confirmed case, should not attend school. Participating in the normal rhythms of school life can be a comforting and stabilising experience for students. Please take a look at this special report: Coronavirus on School TV. 

What should I do if my child has other health concerns that may have implications for susceptibility to COVID-19? Please seek advice from your child’s health specialist regarding their individual circumstances. Please make sure that the college is informed of any matters to do with caring for your child’s medical needs.

If a student travels overseas during the approaching holidays and returns without cold or flu symptoms, can they return immediately to school? Any student who has travelled overseas and returned MUST NOT ATTEND SCHOOL and should self-quarantine by staying at home for 14 days after landing in Australia. This also applies to family members and friends, who must not visit the school before the 14-day self-quarantine period has passed. A list of affected areas can be found here

What can I do to protect my child from COVID-19? The best advice is to practice good hygiene, particularly in washing hands regularly and thoroughly. Soap and sanitiser are available throughout the college, as are signs reminding the students to make use of them. Teachers have also been asked to remind students to use soap and sanitiser. These have been discussed in classrooms and in previous assemblies. 

Take a look at this video on how to wash your hands from NSW Health. 

What is ‘close contact’? According to NSW Health, a ‘close contact’ is someone who has been face to face for at least 15 minutes, or been in the same closed space for at least 2 hours, with someone who has tested positive for the COVID-19 while that person was infectious.

What is ‘self-isolation’? ‘Self-isolation’ is intended to remove direct contact with other people, in order to ensure that the virus is not transmitted. If self-isolating, people should limit their activities outside the home, not go to school or to public areas. NSW Health provides more information at this page: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/factsheets/Pages/advice-for-suspected.aspx .

Is there a risk that the college could be closed because of COVID-19? Yes. There have been examples where a NSW school was temporarily closed in order to enable NSW Health to determine those people who had been in close contact with a confirmed case among the student body, and the NSW government has indicated that this is likely to happen again. It is possible that this could happen at BDC. At this point the government has not indicated that widespread or lengthy closures are planned.

In the event of a school closure, how will classes and learning continue? In the event of a very short closure, students will be encouraged to continue with independent study. If the closure lasts more than one or two days, the college will put in place arrangements for the ongoing learning of students. For older students, this will primarily take place through Education Perfect, See-Saw, Google Classroom, Edrolo, Zoom, Maths Pathways and via email. For younger students, classroom teachers will provide practical suggestions for learning that are age-appropriate. The college is preparing for this possibility. Particular attention is being given to the needs of students in Year 12 studying the HSC. Staff and secondary students are encouraged to ensure that they are taking their digital devices home with them each day. More details will be provided if and when it becomes necessary.

Will a school closure be disruptive? Yes. While academic learning will be able to continue, any school closure will be disruptive to the lives of students, families and staff. However, these are obstacles that we will be able to overcome through cooperative effort and a positive approach.

Will the community be informed if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 at BDC? In the event that a member of the BDC community is diagnosed with the coronavirus, the college will follow the direction of NSW Health. The priority of NSW Health is identifying those people who have had close contact with infectious people, which will necessarily involve informing affected individuals. The wider school community will be made aware if a member of the community is formally diagnosed. The health and wellbeing of each person in the college community is at the heart of these decisions. The individual identity of the person infected will be protected and not made public by the college. These decisions are with NSW Health. 

Where can I find out more? The links below are very helpful. In particular, the NSW Health websites provide up to date and accurate information.

What sources have been used to answer FAQs and establish guidelines? The college is closely monitoring the situation, placing the highest priority on advice provided by NSW Health. The independent school sector and the NSW Department of Education is providing additional assistance, and we are also talking to other schools as we determine the best way forward. We will continue to review and update our advice as new information becomes available.

Useful Links

Letter from NSW Chief Health Officer

The Department of Health has posted several publications here:
https://www.health.gov.au/resources/collections/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-resources

NSW Health FAQs:
https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/alerts/Pages/coronavirus-faqs.aspx

Guidance on home isolation:
https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/factsheets/Pages/hubei-contacts-and-travellers.aspx

Federal Government guidance:
https://education.govcms.gov.au/coronavirus-covid-19

The Australian Government has a dedicated COVID-19 health information line, which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week: 1800 020 080

SchoolTV Special Reports:
Preparing for homeschooling
Coronavirus: a guide for parents

Parent works, a free online program for Australian parents and caregivers of children 2 to 16. It provides evidence-based parenting strategies to improve parenting skills, confidence and child behaviour.

Video to help ease anxiety around COVID-19.