July 30 – College update on COVID-19 and masks

July 30, 2020

Dear Parents, Guardians and Carers of St Patrick’s College,

As you may be aware the State Government, on the advice of the Chief Health Officer, has introduced the mandatory wearing of masks and/or facial coverings for all Victorians from 11.59pm on Sunday, August 2.

This means that as your son arrives at the College on Monday, August 3, he will be required to wear a mask and/or facial covering. We ask you to supply your own as the College cannot provide enough for all students in an ongoing capacity.

According to Department of Health and Human Services advice, “a face covering needs to be worn covering both your nose and mouth.

  • A face mask is recommended, and includes any paper or textile covering designed or made to be worn over the nose and mouth to protect the wearer. It does not have to be medical grade and you can make your own. There are instructions on how to make a mask on the Department’s website – How to make a mask.
  • If a face mask is not available other forms of face covering may be used such as a scarf or bandana.
  • A face shield means any film made from plastic or other transparent material designed or made to be worn like a visor, covering from the wearer’s forehead to below the chin area and wrapping around the sides of the wearer’s face, to provide the wearer protection.”

Boys arriving at school on Monday without a face covering will not be allowed to join classes. Rather they will wait in a room while the College contacts you to either come and pick him up or supply him with a face covering.

Again, according to DHHS guidelines there are some legal exemptions for not wearing a face covering:

“A face covering is not required in the following circumstances:

  • Infants and children under the age of 12 years.
  • A person who is affected by a relevant medical condition – including problems with their breathing, a serious skin condition on the face, a disability or a mental health condition. This also includes persons who are communicating with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.
  • Persons for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to that person’s health and safety related to their work, as determined through OH&S guidelines.
  • Persons whose professions require clear enunciation or visibility of their mouth. This includes teaching or live broadcasting.
  • Professional sportspeople when training or competing.
  • When the individual is doing any exercise or physical activity where they are out of breath or puffing; examples include jogging or running but not walking. You must have a face covering on you and wear it when you finish exercising.
  • When directed by police to remove the face covering to ascertain identity.
  • The person is travelling in a vehicle by themselves or with other members of their household.
  • When consuming food, drink, medication or when smoking/vaping.
  • When undergoing dental treatment or other medical care to the extent that the procedure requires that no face covering may be worn.
  • When required to remove a face covering to ascertain identity, for example at a bank or bottle shop.
  • During emergencies.”

Students who are affected by a relevant medical condition which may prevent the wearing of a face covering must contact Deputy Principal Elizabeth Ryan or Director of Human Resources Lisa Oldham directly, to inform the College of this exemption.

More information about the DHHS recommendations around face coverings can be found at this link.

At the completion of each day students are asked to take their face coverings home with them to wash or dispose of them safely in your own rubbish bin.

By wearing a mask our students will be not only complying with State Government legislation but will also be contributing in some small way to helping our state overcome this dreaded disease.

Thank you in advance for your understanding and co-operation.