October 5 – College update on COVID-19

October 5, 2020

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

Welcome to the first day of Term 4. We hope this term witnesses some return to normal operating procedures and that our students, from next week, can start to enjoy returning to on-site learning alongside their classmates and teachers.

We thought it was important to send you a brief message today reminding you of some of the important protocols and key dates you will need to be aware of in the coming weeks.

As we prepare for the return to teaching in Term 4, I ask you to take some time to refamiliarise yourself with previously published arrangements for the first two weeks.

Week 1 of Term 4 (Monday, October 5 – Friday, October 9)

As per the Victorian Government Roadmap to easing coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions in schools, the following will apply for Week 1 of Term 4:

  • Remote and flexible learning will continue for all students, except in specialist schools in rural and regional Victoria.
  • VCE and VCAL students can only attend on-site for essential assessments during this week, including the General Achievement Test (GAT) on Wednesday, October 7.
  • On-site supervision for children of eligible workers and vulnerable students will continue to be provided consistent with existing guidelines except for Wednesday, October 7.

With this information and scheduling now confirmed, the following will apply for Week 1 of Term 4:

  • Remote and flexible learning will continue for all Years 7-12 students.
  • Years 7-10 students will participate in remote classes each day from Monday, October 5 through to Friday, October 9.
  • Years 11 and 12 students will participate in remote classes on Monday, October 5, Tuesday, October 6, Thursday, October 8 and Friday, October 9.
  • There will be no remote classes for Years 11 or 12 on Wednesday, October 7 due to the General Achievement Test (GAT).
  • Subject to further scheduling, VCE and VCAL students will be permitted to attend on-site for essential assessments during this week. This will be very limited based on the essential assessments program completed at the end of Term 3.
  • Teachers and classroom support staff will continue to deliver remote and flexible learning classes as per the Term 3 arrangements for this week only.
  • As per Term 3 arrangements, remote and flexible learning classes can be delivered either off-site or on-site.

On-site supervision for children of eligible workers and vulnerable students will continue this week on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday but will not be available on Wednesday, October 7.  On-site supervision during this week will be conducted in ERC003/004.

General Achievement Test (GAT) – Wednesday, October 7

The GAT will primarily be conducted in the OCA Pavilion and the Br W.T. O’Malley Sports Centre. On-site supervision for children of eligible workers and vulnerable students will not be available on this day.

Note that due to changes in government directives received today, attending students will not need to undergo temperature screening on arrival at school on the day of the GAT.  This means students will be able to enter from any of the pedestrian gates and make your way to your lockers to store your phones etc.

Students are still advised to arrive at the College in a timely manner:  not later than 9:30am, reading time commences at 10:00am.

All other directions are as previously advised.

Week 2 of Term 4 (from Monday, October 12)

St Patrick’s College will welcome all staff and students back on-site for all classes and College business on Monday, October 12.

As per Term 3 arrangements, students travelling to the College from suburbs within the Melbourne metropolitan area will be required to have their temperature checked on arrival.

School buses will run as scheduled from Monday, October 12. The Department of Transport continues to work closely with DHHS and transport operators to implement measures to limit the risk of COVID-19 so that students can feel confident travelling on public transport to school.

All students and staff will be required to maintain exemplary hygiene practices and abide by social distancing recommendations.

As per arrangements in Terms 2 and 3, the College is discouraging people other than students and staff from attending on-site. Any visitor attending the College for any reason must report to front reception and will be required to have their temperature checked.

At the end of Term 2 Director of Students Mr Mike Silcock published an article in The Crest providing parents with a summary of College expectations around the return to on-site learning as well as providing details around a new College Pastoral Care program, entitled RESPECT. We encourage all parents to ensure they read this article at this link.


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

This means that as your son arrives at the College on Monday, October 12, he will be required to wear a mask. We ask you to supply your own as the College cannot provide enough for all students in an ongoing capacity.

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:

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.

All staff at and visitors to St Patrick’s College must wear a mask and/or facial covering. Teachers and education support staff are not required to wear face coverings while teaching, but those who wish to do so, can. Teachers should wear face coverings in other areas of the school when not teaching (for example, in the staffroom, on yard duty and when providing first aid or taking temperatures), and when travelling to and from school.

Key dates

Monday, October 5 – Friday, October 9: Remote and flexible learning for all students.

Wednesday, October 7: VCE General Achievement Test (GAT) on-site. No remote classes for students in Year 11 or Year 12. On-site supervision for children of eligible workers and vulnerable students will not be available on this day.

Monday, October 12: All students and staff return to on-site learning. Students to wear summer uniform.

Tuesday, October 13: College roll call photo day. All students must wear winter uniform on this day.

Friday, October 23: Public holiday ahead of the AFL Grand Final. The College will be closed on this day.

Monday, November 2 and Tuesday, November 3: The College will be closed on both of these days for our scheduled Term 4 boarders’ exeat weekend, coinciding with the Melbourne Cup.

School fees

As always at St Patrick’s College we aim to keep the fees as modest as possible and whilst it is true that there have been savings this year, it is also true that the vast majority of our costs are fixed and some expenses have risen as we have moved to delivering educational outcomes to your sons in an online format.

Overall we have increased our provisions to assist families in genuine need and we believe the needs of our community will be best served by responding to families on a case by case basis, rather than by offering general discounts across the board. If you are in need we encourage you to reach out to our Business Manager, Andrew Ballesty through aballesty@stpats.vic.edu.au.

Additionally, we are also working towards minimising any fee increases in 2021. As a Catholic school in the Edmund Rice tradition – no child will be denied ongoing enrolment due to inability to pay fees.

We are committed to working with all our families throughout this complex time and will continue to monitor this situation throughout the year and thank you for your ongoing understanding.

On behalf of all staff at St Patrick’s College, thank you for your ongoing support throughout this most challenging year. Let us hope that Term 4 provides some wonderful opportunities to celebrate all that it means to be an integral part of our terrific SPC community.