With NSW’s Opening Up now in full swing, we look forward to welcoming students back onto campus over the next fortnight. Our Years K, 1, 2 and 12 return on Monday 18 October and all other year groups on the 25th. We will be on level 3 restrictions, which means that staff and students will be at school, but the campus will be closed to parents and non-essential visitors. We will have the following protocols in place, many of which will be familiar from previous terms:
- We will follow the usual hygiene routines and social distancing practices
- Year groups will be kept separate where practicable
- Chapels and assemblies will be in single year groups
- Students and staff will wear masks inside and outside for the moment, although this is likely to change over the course of the term
- Windows and doors will be open as needed to aid ventilation.
- Air purifiers and CO2 monitors will be places around the school. Our facilities manager, Barry Madden, and his team have done a brilliant job sourcing and installing these. I attach a letter from him outlining what we have in place, which you may find interesting. I also include a datasheet on our CO2 monitors.
From Monday 18 October, all school staff onsite will be fully vaccinated. Given that student vaccination is not mandatory, we will not be requesting the girls’ vaccination status. Our understanding is, however, that the vast majority of eligible students have been vaccinated. There will be a small minority of students who have not been vaccinated for various reasons, and I ask that we all respect their decision and their privacy.
In the senior school, for the first fortnight back (Weeks 4 and 5: Monday 25 October – Friday 5 November) we will follow the at-home daily timetable. This means that mentors will be able to touch base with their mentor group at the start of each day to check all is well, and there will be a five minute gap between lessons to help with social distancing. We will review the timetable for Weeks 6-9.
Because we are returning to school with almost 80% of the eligible population vaccinated, the COVID landscape is different from that of the past. With people moving round more it is likely that COVID will become more prevalent, but the high vaccination levels of our school community should offer fewer avenues of transmission for the virus, with (hopefully) less likelihood of disruption to our community and less serious illness for individuals. We do not envisage closing the school each time there is an infection, but we will work closely with NSW Health to manage each outbreak in the context of the particular circumstance. Our job now is to get on with educating our girls, while doing all we can to protect the health and safety of our school community.
We look forward to seeing our students back on campus soon!
Dr Julie Townsend