Two days ago, the Victorian Government announced further measures to control COVID-19, including the mandatory requirement for face covering in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire.
In summary, when people in those areas leave their homes for permitted reasons – to shop for essentials; to provide care; for exercise; and to work and study if it can’t be done at home – they will be required to wear a mask or face covering. This applies from 11.59 pm on Wednesday 22 July. The fine for not wearing a face covering will be $200.
The announcement and a subsequent statement by the Premier and the Victorian Government Chief Health Officer included details regarding schools, teachers and school-age children which included:
- This requirement applies to all students aged 12 years or older attending school for on-campus learning, including VCE classes, or onsite supervision.
- This requirement applies to all teaching and general staff while they are on campus with the exception outlined below.
- This requirement does not apply to primary school students.
- Teachers of all levels do not have to wear a face covering while teaching on campus, but it should be worn at other times while on campus. (We are seeking clarification on the precise requirements for primary teachers, when on campus learning resumes, and will provide updates when available.)
- Everyone will be expected whenever possible to wear a face covering when travelling to and from School with some leeway given for private car travel.
In keeping with our commitment to the health and welfare of our staff and students, we will implement the above direction from the Victorian Government. As such, all teaching and general staff and all students in Years 7 – 12 who are on site must wear an appropriate face covering from this Thursday and are encouraged to do so earlier. Teachers can choose to remove their face covering whilst teaching.
Given the responsibility of wearing a face covering that best suits each individual’s needs and preferences, the requirement that these be worn both within and outside the School setting, and logistical constraints, staff and students will be responsible for supplying their own face coverings.
Given the short notice of this change, and to support staff and students, the School has a limited supply of disposable masks which will be available on Thursday 23 July and Friday 24 July from each school reception point at Senior School, Wadhurst and Grimwade House, for those who have not been able to make the necessary arrangements to source a face covering. After Friday 24 July the supply, correct wearing and responsible disposal of face coverings becomes the responsibility of each student and staff member.
After that time, students who arrive at the South Yarra campus without an appropriate face covering will not be permitted on site.
The State Government has made a commitment to provide some face masks to schools, but the type of masks and their delivery date are unknown. When these arrive, the School will make them available to staff and students who are required to be on site and in the meantime staff and students should source their own face covering.
There will be some instances where, due to the nature of their roles, staff will be required to wear suitable grade commercial masks when working (e.g. cleaning staff, catering staff) and these will continue to be provided by the School for use during working hours.
The Boarding House presents issues, and these are being resolved by Boarding House staff, who will provide separate advice to boarding staff and students.
The School will continue to follow the recommendations of the Chief Health Officer. I ask for everyone’s co-operation in maintaining measures such as face covering, increased cleaning, regular hand washing and sanitation, social distancing, working from home if you are able to, staying away from school if you have COVID-19 symptoms, which will in turn support our work and the learning and welfare of our students with either on campus or off campus learning.
I do appreciate the challenges for each of you associated with yesterday’s State Government’s direction and thank you for your understanding, commitment and support.