Acting Principal’s Message
July 24, 2020
By Acting Principal, Mr Stephen Hill
Our return to Term 3 has been marked by daily updates from key members of the government regarding the ongoing issues and concerns surrounding COVID-19. As we all know, none of us remains unaffected by this pandemic and as a consequence we are all now acutely aware and attuned to how the news of each day is impacting on us as individuals, as families, as members of the St Patrick’s community and as part of the wider community of Ballarat.
The increase in the number of suspected cases of COVID-19 in and around Ballarat has seen a subsequent increase in the sense of concern from the community. While this concern is understandable, the College believes that it is important to follow the various directives issued through the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria (CECV) and the Catholic Education Office, Ballarat (CEOB) in liaison with the Department of Education and Training Victoria (DET) and the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
As we communicated yesterday, St Patrick’s College has asked that all staff and students wear a face mask while on College grounds from Monday, July 27. Teachers have been notified that they may remove their mask while teaching. We stress that, at this point in time, we are asking students and staff to co-operate with this direction, but we are not mandating this request (as per the directives). The College will be requesting all visitors to the site to wear a mask and be temperature checked.
For some parents, this concern has been reflected in a wish to keep their boy(s) away from school. As described in the current directives from CEOB, parents who choose to keep their boy(s) at home should know that while we will continue to support him pastorally, he will be recorded as absent and that it is not the school’s responsibility to prepare work for them to be completed at home.
If a member of the school community (staff or student) every tests positive for COVID-19, the school may be closed to allow time for staff from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to carry out contact tracing (to identify any staff and students who have been in contact with the confirmed case) and take necessary steps to contain and slow the spread of COVID-19 in the community. Such action will be at the direction of DHHS and only after a positive test has been returned.
Please know that the College has an action plan in place in the event of any significant development relating to COVID-19 and that you will be notified by phone and/or email in the event of a critical announcement that requires an immediate response.
I remind you to check both your emails and the College’s website regularly for the most up-to-date information relating to the College’s responses and actions to COVID-19 announcements.
Your questions and concerns are all important. Your need to know or clarify how we at St Patrick’s are meeting the health and hygiene needs of your son is completely understandable and we are prepared to respond accordingly.
All in the community should know that your emails and phone calls regarding any aspect of the College’s responses to COVID-19 are welcomed. If you require further clarification about any issue related to COVID-19, please contact us.
Mr Stephen Hill
Communication from EREA
Included are two recent communications from EREA:
- EREA Statement Of Commitment To Child Safety 2020 Jun 1
- Ereacommunity Wtin Directorpartnerships 2020 Jul 14
The following introduction from Wayne Tinsey accompanied the EREA Statement of Commitment to Child Safety:
The warmest of greetings from EREA.
Edmund Rice Education Australia is committed to embedding a culture where the safety, wellbeing, and participation of all children and young people under our care is paramount. The EREA Statement of Commitment to Child Safety clearly demonstrates how that commitment is evidenced.
The EREA Statement of Commitment to Child Safety, was originally developed in 2016 based on the seven standards in Victorian Ministerial Order 870. Since 2016, there has been considerable attention given to the development of nationally accepted Child Safe Standards and in July 2019, the EREA Board and Council endorsed the EREA Child Safeguarding Standards Framework. The Board recently reviewed the 2016 Statement to reinforce EREA’s commitment to the original seven standards of MO870 while accommodating those of EREA’s Child Safeguarding Standards Framework.
The revised statement places particular emphasis on EREA and its schools having in place strategies to embed and enhance a culture of child safety and wellbeing through the leadership, governance and culture of the organisation.
On behalf of the EREA Board, I commend this statement to you and ask that you make it available through the various means used to communicate with your community.
With every best wish and much appreciation for all you do.
Dr Wayne Tinsey