MARCH 22, 2020

Important Information: Novel Coronavirus (UPDATED)

Sunday 22 March 7.00pm

School Holidays Brought Forward

Dear Parents and Guardians,

The Premier of Victoria issued a media statement this afternoon. In this statement he indicated that "school holidays will be brought forward in Victoria, starting on Tuesday 24 March". 

Throughout this public health crisis, Avila College has followed advice from the Department of Education, DHHS and CECV.

As a result, tomorrow (Monday 23 March) will be the last day of term for Avila College students. The decision whether to re-open schools after the Term 1 holidays will likewise be determined following advice from the Chief Health Officer.

We encourage all Avila College students to attend school tomorrow as usual - unless they are unwell, in which case they must not attend. Further information about collection of resources and books for absent students will be provided once it is known.

On our last day of term, we will be implementing the following processes:

  • Any SAC's scheduled for VCE students on Monday will continue as planned. All other SAC's are at this stage postponed, awaiting VCAA advice. 
  • Students are required to take essential books, folders and their Macbook home at the end of the day.
  • Musical instruments (except Piano, Harp and Percussion) will also be distributed to Year 7 and private music tuition students to take home over the school holidays.
  • Teachers will discuss the Continuity of Learning plan that has been prepared and the expectations and resources for students in the event of a school closure in Term 2. When Avila needs to move to a blended learning model, more details and specifics will be provided to students and parents.

We understand that whilst our community has been working with the assumption of an inevitable school closure, this early school holiday announcement may feel sudden. Be reassured that our extensive planning thus far has been leading up to this, and we can switch over to our blended learning model as soon as required. Moreover, we are in constant communication with VCAA about the specific needs of our VCE students. We acknowledge that it may take some time to adapt, but are confident that our students and teachers will learn together along the way.

I encourage you to speak openly with your daughter(s) about the reasons why the school holidays have been brought forward and the plan for their continuity of learning. Please also check your emails regularly, as we will continue to send through updates as this rapidly changing situation unfolds. 

Warm Regards

Dr Michelle Cotter
Avila Principal

 

Thursday 19 March | 5.15pm

 Updated Advice from CECV

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Avila College has received a special message from the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria regarding new advice from the Victorian Chief Health Officer, Prof Brett Sutton. I have included this below for your reference. 

At Avila College we continue to deliver classes as normal and have no confirmed case of COVID-19 within the school community. Our staff have been preparing resources for our Continuity of Learning plan (in the event that the College is directed to close) and adapting school activities in line with government directives. Heightened hygiene practices have been implemented across the campus and both students and staff have been educated about hand washing, social distancing and healthy habits.

Thank you to all the parents and students who have sent through positive messages of support. We understand that the cancellation or postponement of certain school activities has been disappointing but appreciate the spirit and flexibility exhibited throughout our community during these challenging times.

We will continue to keep you informed and updated with the latest advice we receive.

Warm Regards

Dr Michelle Cotter
Principal

19 March 2020 CECV Special Message

Victorian Chief Health Officer, Prof Brett Sutton, has put out new advice detailing the reasons for continuing to keep schools open.

Responding to the COVID-19 outbreak continues to be a challenge for everyone in education and our broader communities.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Education, James Merlino, also wrote today to express his appreciation for the work you and your teaching staff are doing.

‘Thank you for the outstanding work you continue to do in these very challenging times.’

‘Across Victoria, we are seeing countless examples of schools supporting, reassuring and informing their local communities, and ensuring our young people continue to receive the quality of education we pride ourselves on in the Education State.’

Read the DHHS Statement here.

Tuesday 17 March - Update

Dear Parents/Guardians,

The nature of the coronavirus is dynamic and changing rapidly. Our aim is to keep our school community as well informed and up to date as possible. We are following advice and directions from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria (CECV).

In light of the state of emergency declared in Victoria yesterday, please see the latest updates from Avila College. 

No confirmed cases of coronavirus

Whilst we are actively modifying our school calendar, (with a number of events cancelled or postponed), daily classes at the College continue. There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the College. You can follow the current event schedule through our Monday morning Status Update email.

Travel Restrictions and International Arrivals

Everyone arriving in Australia from overseas from midnight on Sunday 15 March will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. This includes students, staff and any family members who may be returning from overseas travel.

Please remember, if a family member is required to self-isolate, they must not visit the school to pick up students or for any other reason.

Continuity of Learning

Avila College is currently finalising a continuity of learning plan to minimise disruption for students in the event of an extended school closure. The plan facilitates ongoing learning experiences and is designed to encourage new ways of working and interacting remotely, through a blended learning model.

Health and Safety at Avila

As a school community, we are actively reminding all students, staff and families to pay extra attention to our personal hygiene practices. This poster from The Department of Health and Human Services acts as a good visual cue, and has been circulated throughout the school. 

CANCELLED Parent-Student-Teacher Meetings
Tuesday 24 March - Normal Timetable with 3.15pm dismissal


The Parent-Student-Teacher Meetings originally scheduled for 24 March have been cancelled. Students will not be dismissed early on this day. Classes will run until 3.15pm as usual.

Thursday 12 March - UPDATE

Dear Parents and Guardians,
 
Our first priority at Avila College is the health and safety of our school community.
 
I want to reassure you that the school is well-prepared for the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus).
 
We are being provided the latest advice from the Australian and Victorian Chief Medical Officers by the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria Ltd to ensure that our school practices are helping to keep our school community safe from the outbreak.
 
Any incidents that arise will be addressed in accordance with our Critical Incident and Emergency Management Plan. We will also have access to resources and support from Catholic Education Melbourne and the Department of Health and Human Services.
 
I am aware of concerns about the disruption to teaching, especially among families of students in Year 12. The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority, which is responsible for the VCE, is aware of the situation and has advised that it will work with schools to ensure continuity of learning for all students.
 
As parents, you have a critical role in helping the school manage this situation:

  • Exercise good judgment by keeping children home if they are feeling unwell for any reason.
  • Talk to children about the situation, as they may be feeling anxious or stressed. You have a key role in helping students feel prepared and safe.
  • Encourage children to be proactive and committed to their schoolwork, and to stay connected with the school and their teachers.

 
The Department of Health and Human Services has a number of resources on its website, which explain the virus, detail risk-reduction practices and behaviours, and answer frequently asked questions. These are available at www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus.
 
You can also find information about Catholic education’s response at http://www.cecv.catholic.edu.au/Coronavirus-information-for-parents.
 
This is an evolving situation, but we will keep you updated as things change. I ask that you continue to work closely with the school and to contact the College should you have any new concerns.
 
Thank you for your support as we work to keep our students safe.
  
Dr Michelle Cotter
PRINCIPAL

 

Friday 6 March - UPDATE ADVICE (4.30pm)

Avila College has received updated advice from the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria regarding the coronavirus and international excursions. In light of this new advice we are in the process of reviewing already scheduled international trips in 2020. 

The Catholic Education Commission of Victoria Ltd (CECV) has received updated advice regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus).

Yesterday evening, Victoria’s Chief Health Officer issued updated advice that overseas school excursions should cease, except to New Zealand and Canada.

Based on this advice, I strongly recommend that you follow the Chief Health Officer’s advice and cancel any overseas school excursions until further notice, except to New Zealand and Canada.

The Australian Government also updated travel restrictions this week.

The extension to existing travel restrictions now applies to visitors from South Korea, Iran and mainland China. Visitors who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents, or their dependants, will not be allowed entry into Australia.

The Australian Government has advised that visitors from Italy will be subject to enhanced health screening and temperature testing arrangements.

Please refer to the Department of Education and Training (DET) coronavirus webpage for further advice and information. The CECV will continue to review health and travel advice in collaboration with the DET and health authorities as the situation evolves.

Friday 6 March - UPDATED ADVICE (11am)

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Avila College has received updated advice from the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria regarding the coronavirus. Please read the latest advice below:

The Catholic Education Commission of Victoria Ltd (CECV) has been provided new information regarding the emerging outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

The Australian Government has updated existing travel restrictions to include visitors from Iran who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents.

These restrictions were implemented from 1 March 2020.

The extension to existing travel restrictions for visitors from mainland China remains in place. Visitors from mainland China who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents, or their dependants, will not be allowed entry into Australia.

These restrictions will be reviewed by 7 March 2020.

Parents/guardians/carers should ensure that any child returning from mainland China (not including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) from 1 February, and from Iran from 1 March, is isolated at home and should not attend school until 14 days after they were last in mainland China or Iran.

The Department of Education and Training’s coronavirus webpage is the key source for the latest advice and information, including translated advice.

Sunday 2 February - UPDATED ADVICE

Dear Parents/Guardians,
 
Further to my message last week, I am writing to provide you with updated advice about the novel coronavirus outbreak relating to people arriving in Australia from mainland China.
 
Any child returning from mainland China (not including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) who was in mainland China on or after 1 February 2020 is to be isolated at home and should not attend school until 14 days after they were last in mainland China.
 
This recommendation applies only to children who were in mainland China on or after 1 February 2020. It does not apply to students that left mainland China before 1 February 2020.
 
As previously advised, parents of students that have been exposed to a confirmed coronavirus case or that have arrived in Australia from Hubei Province should ensure that their child is isolated at home and does not attend school for 14 days.

Please click here for the latest factsheet from the Victorian Government.

 

The well-being of your child continues to be of paramount importance to me and our school staff. I will continue to share information and advice about the coronavirus outbreak as it becomes available.
 

Please see below for links to factsheets and updates.

 

Thursday 30 January 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians,

The safety and care of your children is paramount to me and our school community.

I am writing to you following new advice from the Australian and Victorian governments regarding the novel coronavirus.

All children who have travelled to Hubei Province of China, are advised to stay at home and avoid public settings, including attendance at schools until 14 days after last being in Hubei province, China. This applies to any and all students even if they do not show any symptoms of the virus.

Children who are well and have travelled to other provinces in China, or any other areas where there have been reported cases, are NOT recommended to be excluded from schools unless the following applies:

The person is a confirmed case of novel coronavirus 
The person is a close contact with a confirmed case of novel coronavirus in the past 14 days

If you think your child is showing any relevant symptoms of the novel corona virus, please call the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to discuss further actions on 1300 651 160.
 
This advice is also being provided to teachers and other school staff to ensure we mitigate any risks associated with the spread of the virus.
 
Please click this link for a factsheet provided by the Victorian Government for advice and information about the novel coronavirus, including what actions to take if your child is feeling unwell following travel to the Hubei province, and practical steps to avoid the spread of the virus.

You can also access further information and updates from the following websites:

For Victorian updates to the current incident, go to: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/novelcoronavirus
For national updates: https://www.health.gov.au/news/latest-information-about-novel-coronavirus
For international updates: https://www.who.int/westernpacific/emergencies/novel-coronavirus
WHO resources:  https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus

In circumstances like these, there can understandably be a lot of concern and uncertainty about the safety of your child. Please be reassured that we are proactively monitoring the situation and will provide any revised advice to you as soon as it becomes available.
 
Dr Michelle Cotter
PRINCIPAL