The response of all Australian governments to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve rapidly.
You may be aware that last night Education Minister Yvette Berry shared news about the impending actions due to COVID-19 for ACT government schools. I have had contact from our Director of Catholic Education Mr Ross Fox. He has called all Principals together for a meeting later today. By mid afternoon I will make contact and give you all a very clear picture of what impact this will have for our sector.
Please be assured that I will feedback all information you need and that we are committed to keeping your children calm, confident and happy.
I thank you all for your continued trust and supportive comments.
Know that you are in my prayers. Please stay safe.
Sacred Heart Primary School, Pearce
22 Mar 2020
We are monitoring the evolving COVID-19 response and are waiting on ACT Health to advise us through the CE Director of Education.
Currently Sacred Heart is open tomorrow.
We understand if you wish to keep your children home. Please advise us via SZApp notice or email if you are doing so.
We will keep you informed as the situation changes. As always our first concern is for the welfare of our students, staff and families.
“In this unprecedented situation, when everything seems to be vacillating, let us help each other remain steady in what really matters,” Pope Francis. Say a rosary for the world tonight, for our health workers and all those on the front line of dealing with this crisis.
Please look after yourself and those dear to you. Please use the resources shared previously, to keep your child informed and reassured during this uncertain time. We will work with you over the coming weeks to map a hope-filled way forward for our precious young people.
Regards, Anne Staines and the Sacred Heart Staff
March 19 Newsletter
19 Mar 2020
Click here to view the March 19 Schoolzine eNewsletter!
In response to communication from Catholic Education and to help minimise the risk of community transmission at SHPS we will adopt the following adjustments.
When students arrive in the morning students will place their bags in the following areas
Stage 1 and 2 in their eating areas as explained to the children today
Kinder and S3 in their normal morning assembly lines
When the bell goes children will stand at their bags. Teachers will bring them into the classrooms from there.
Any morning announcements will be given over the internal PA at 9am.
Parents are encouraged not to wait after dropping off, unless your child needs the support.
We ask parents waiting in the Kinder courtyard to practise social distancing – 1.5m apart.
We ask families to consider using drive through during this period. Additionally, at pick up time parents are asked to wait outside the building, not in the Front Foyer or Maker Space during this time. Please let your child(ren) know of any changes in your routines due to this advice.
During this time Sacred Heart will be not be hosting our traditional awards assembly in the hall. Awards will be presented over the school PA system on Friday morning with our award-winning students receiving their award in the Front Office and posing for a photo with a member of the school leadership team. This photo will then be shared with our community.
School Sport ACT has advised
No School Sport ACT Calendar events will be taking place until the restrictive measures are lifted, at this stage no one is certain of that date, this includes PSSA events in Term 1, such as swimming.
We are suspending home readers and library borrowing. Please enjoy literature and information gathering with resources from home and readily available digitally.
Resources to Support Families
Further to the links in Friday’s update, we have three sites to support families in talking about COVID-19, from our wellbeing networks.
SchoolTV’s special video report on how parents, carers and teachers can help children and young people deal with any anxiety they may be experiencing as a result of media coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak is clear and fact based. With thanks to APPA, this important video from Dr Michael Carr-Gregg is available to for our school community. https://schooltv.me/wellbeing_news/special-report-coronavirus
Deborah Farmer Kris wrote in PBS about 'How to Talk to Your Kids About Coronavirus' Click Here
From Lisa Damour in the NY Times ‘5 Ways to Help Teens Manage Anxiety About the Coronavirus’ Click Here
We will continue communicating with you around any other changes or adjustments as needed.
13 Mar 2020
With the many announcements yesterday around COVID-19, particularly with the first case being diagnosed in the ACT, it is timely to let you know what is happening in our school to maintain a healthy environment and prevent the spread of any cold and flu between students and/or staff.
Catholic Education System Response
Catholic Education for the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn have been providing guidance and support to all our schools throughout this time. They have been providing Principals and schools with specific, practical guidance based on the information received from relevant Health and Education Authorities. They have also set up a COVID-19 Emergency Response Team who meet daily to examine and respond to any issues that arise in schools and new information that is provided by authorities.
School Operational Plan
Catholic Education has provided schools with an Operational Plan to adapt to our school context. It provides us with guidelines for preventing and responding to a variety of situations that may occur at the school as well as ensuring a consistent approach across all our schools.
Some current questions
Will the school be closed at all? Current advice is that mass school closures are unlikely. The Director is the only person who has the authority to close a school. The school will only close for the minimum necessary time after consultation with the Director and ACT Health.
Will events/excursions/gatherings be cancelled?Our School will take a risk-based approach to any excursion, school event, public meeting etc. over the next few months. This may require postponing or cancelling events and we will provide plenty of notice when possible. We will be changing some of our practices in liturgies and masses to reduce risk, e.g. at the sign of peace, in the distribution of communion, etc.
What hygiene practices will be followed?Good hygiene practices remain the best protective measure against the spread of the virus. Students are encouraged to wash hands frequently with soap and water (minimum 20 seconds). When available, hand sanitiser is being placed strategically for use by students, staff and visitors at appropriate times. (This is in no way replaces good hand washing practices). Our cleaners are maintaining supplies that support these practices and are undertaking some extra cleaning in high traffic areas, especially toilets, taps and doors. Posters around the school provide continuous reminders and guidance on good hygiene practices.
What will happen if my child or a staff member is unwell? If a child or staff member displays symptoms of cold or fever such as temperature, runny nose and coughing they will be considered unwell. Children will be sent to the Front Office sick bay and you will be contacted to pick them up. We expect that an unwell person will remain away from school until they are considered well again. With these particular symptoms children will be isolated from other students in a supervised space until they are picked up.
What will happen if a student/staff or community member is diagnosed with COVID-19? Our first action will be to contact Catholic Education who will work together with ACT Health to understand the situation, identify the risks, form and undertake an action plan and most importantly communicate in a timely manner with parents. Catholic Education and ACT Health will coordinate this communication. We will maintain the privacy of students and families at all times.
What can you do to help?
Keep your child home from school if they are unwell.
If your child becomes unwell and you are called, come to collect your child promptly.
Teach and/or encourage hand hygiene practices at home. There are some great Youtube videos. Some that might be useful include:
Handwashing songs for younger students: Handwashing song
Keep your contact details (especially email) up to date with the Front Office.Health authorities and Catholic Education will rely on this to alert you to any broad actions our school is required to take.
As the number of incidents is changing each day, it is anticipated the advice of relevant agencies will change also. We will update you if, and when, we receive information from Catholic Education.
COVID-19 most seriously affects those most vulnerable in our community. We call on you to do your best to follow all of the advice given by health authorities, not only for your own benefit but also for the benefit of those most vulnerable in our community.
We continue to be guided by the State and Federal Departments of Health and the CE’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Team as we navigate the evolving Novel Coronavirus issue. We appreciate your support and thankyou in advance for your cooperation, as we prioritise community safety and work to minimise any potential for widespread infection.
More information on the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) for the ACT is available at: