Learning at School – Parents and Carers Guide

In line with health advice, schools are operating full time, and many additional activities are now able to recommence.

Learning at School – Parents and Carers Guide (PDF, 7.4MB)

All schools have returned to full-time learning at school. With updated health advice and changes to state and national restrictions, schools are currently able to undertake a number of school-based activities. More activities will restart from the start of Term 3 (21 July 2020). Some activities are continuing to be considered.

The following principles underpin these guidelines:

  • Schools continue to be safe. Operations are in line with Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) and Tasmanian Health guidelines
  • There are existing infection control protocols at schools. We put in place new health and safety measures. It will help maintain the health and safety of students and staff.
  • All activities permitted at school are safe and appropriate in a living with COVID-19 environment.

School students do not need to follow strict adult physical distancing guidelines. They should follow good hygiene practices like:

  • staying home when you are sick
  • regularly washing your hands
  • avoid sharing drinks or food
  • cough or sneeze into your elbow, or a tissue which should be discarded immediately

School attendance

All students should be at school unless:

  • they have medical advice which states that they are unable to return to school due to an ongoing medical condition and the expected timeframe
  • they are currently unwell.

COVID-19 and Hay Fever

The symptoms of hay fever are similar to that of a cold, flu and COVID-19 so it’s hard to tell them apart without testing. Students experiencing symptoms of hay fever (such as runny/blocked nose, sneezing, itchy eyes or cough), even mild symptoms, should get tested. They should stay home until they get their results.

Students can return to school once they have:

  • been tested for COVID-19 and returned a negative result;
  • consulted their doctor to discuss a treatment plan; and
  • received a medical certificate or letter from their doctor advising that they can attend school.

If symptoms worsen through hay fever season or new symptoms develop, you should consult their doctor.

School activities/ school site usage

Most school-based activities can restart, as long as the following measures are observed:

  • all visitors and external providers must adhere to relevant hygiene, distancing and safety protocols
  • principals may continue to restrict, limit or prohibit activities if they are seen as contrary to the current health advice
  • external providers and visitors are required to demonstrate compliance with health and safety requirements including adhering to strict guidelines and completing relevant forms

School celebrations and social events

The Department of Education and Public Health has developed some clear guidance to allow celebrations, social events and end-of-year functions to occur on school sites.

These events will be able to go ahead but will need to be held in accordance with current Public Health directions. This means that it will be required that these events are undertaken within the venue density requirements (one person per 2 square metres, up to a maximum of 250 people) of the site on which they are planned to be held.

Dancing will be able to occur as part of such events. The requirement to have two separate areas for eating/drinking and dancing has now been removed for end-of-year functions ONLY (ie. leavers dinners), provided that only students and teachers from that school are in attendance and no alcohol is consumed. All other school social or celebration events will need to adhere to the requirement to have two separate areas for eating/drinking and dancing.

COVID safe behaviours including hygiene measures and visitor screening will need to be applied to such events.

Celebrations taking place off site will need to comply with the venue’s COVID Safety plan.

Physical distancing

Physical distancing of children in schools is not required under the Australian AHPPC guidelines. Research has shown limited transmission risk associated with school children in the school environment.

All adults must maintain physical distance from each other (1.5m) including teachers and support staff, and parents/carers.

Schools will continue to manage school pick up and drop off arrangements to help parents to physically distance from one another and from staff.

School cleaning and hygiene supplies

Your school will continue to receive extra cleaning in line with the AHPPC guidelines and advice from Tasmanian Health. Target areas include:

  • high-touch areas and other hard surfaces
  • door handles
  • lockers
  • light switches
  • handrails in stairways and movement areas.

There will also be extra cleaning of toilets and topping up of supplies like soap.

Your school has appropriate supplies of soap, hand sanitiser, toilet paper, paper towels and disinfectant wipes. The school is able to order more as needed.

School activities return and timeline

Activities/site usage that can already take place:

  • Using the school library.
  • Playing non-contact sports and non-contact training in line with established guidelines.
  • Canteens and uniform shops can open at principal’s discretion.
  • VET and work placements that are essential to the course can take place subject to appropriate risk assessment and parent/carer approval.
  • School based apprenticeships and traineeships can restart when the relevant workplaces are back in operation.
  • Trade Training Centres can operate on school sites.
  • Student wellbeing activities including breakfast club, speech and language support and school nurse program.
  • Choirs and performing arts at school, with safety protocols in place.
  • School Association meetings – with a strong preference for online where possible.
  • Students may attend other schools for essential curriculum related reasons or placements. For example auditions or placement tests.
  • Using Hydrotherapy pools.
  • External providers can provide activities that support delivery of curriculum. For example music tutors, science demonstrations, drama tutors.
  • Community use of school facilities outside of school time subject to cleaning, hygiene, venue density and physical distancing requirements.
  • School photos.
  • Department of Communities Tasmania services.

Activities/site usage that can take place from beginning of Term 3

  • All school sport and activities including competitions aligned with current health advice. It applies also to activities run by external organisations.
  • Inter-school student events and competitions (sport, debating, public speaking, performing arts)
  • School assemblies (external visitors restricted by and physical distancing requirements).
  • Parents and carers can drop off and pick up students on school grounds including classrooms. Please ensure that your time on school grounds and interactions are brief.
  • Excursions can occur with consideration to gathering restrictions, physical distancing and hygiene requirements.
  • Launching into Learning can start on the school site. Parent/carer numbers are restricted by physical distancing requirements.
  • School swimming pools can open.
  • Work experience for students (with appropriate risk assessment).
  • VET and work placements can proceed subject to the availability of placement and appropriate risk assessments.
  • Parent/teacher meetings, with a focus on physical distancing and hygiene practices.
  • Subject to principal approval, volunteers can recommence volunteering activities subject to physical distancing and hygiene practices.

Activities that can take place in Term 4

  • School camps and overnight excursions that are related to student learning
  • Larger gatherings such as parent functions, school fairs and information evenings, provided that public health directions are followed.

Activities that are cancelled, delayed or not permitted

Certain large arts and sports events have been delayed or cancelled because they have long-lead time organisational arrangements. Please speak to your school if you would like to know more.

Interstate and international excursions are cancelled until further notice.

Reporting and assessment

Schools will not be required to produce the usual mid-year report. This is being replaced by a requirement for teachers to communicate with parents/carers by the end of July. This can be done through either a telephone or online conversation, or in writing.

Responding to COVID-19 cases

There is a clear plan in place for schools to respond to any suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our schools. We are working closely with Tasmanian Public Health and will communicate with parents and carers if a situation arises.