From one marathon to the next - Glasshouse Christian College

From one marathon to the next



  • February 10, 2022
marathon
One marathon ends as another begins.

The Christmas school holiday is usually a six-week long-distance race but when you have an additional two thrown in for good measure it becomes a marathon! 

I want to take this opportunity to congratulate you all for finishing this marathon. It is wonderful to have the students back for face-to-face learning this week. 

I would also like to take this opportunity to warmly welcome all of our new families to the GCC community. 

So as one marathon ends another has already begun and it will be a few more weeks before we can take off our runners and truly relax. I’m talking about the marathon of being hyper-vigilant about your family’s health in the coming weeks. 

Last week I emailed all of our parents and caregivers with the back to school plan and how the first few weeks will look. Our goal for this term and for the foreseeable future is to keep the school running in as optimal a way as possible, to stay open and, to keep our students and staff as infection-free as possible. The only way we will meet this challenge is through a great cooperative effort from the whole College community.

Most people seem to recover well from Covid so the main challenge is when the whole family has to isolate for seven days if just one family member tests positive. I’ve been through this myself and can’t imagine how difficult it must be for people who can’t work from home or who don’t have much personal leave up their sleeve. 

In order to protect you, your family and all of our staff and students, we need to treat this time as a marathon. It will end eventually but in the meantime, we all have to be disciplined to monitor our family’s health and adhere to all the guidelines in place by our government and GCC. The rules are here to protect you and your children.

My email to families included a section on the most commonly asked questions and I thought you might find it helpful if I included an extract here.

Does my child need to be vaccinated before returning to school?  

No, there is no requirement for your child to be vaccinated. 

What rules do parents/caregivers have to follow during this time upon entering the campus? 

An important part of limiting the risk to students and staff of COVID infection is to limit the number of people on campus, particularly visitors to the campus. The most frequent visitors to campus are parents and caregivers. 

health marathon

According to the government rules only parents of Prep and Year 1 children will be permitted to enter the campus for the purposes of dropping off and collecting their Prep and Year 1 children. No other parents will be permitted on campus except for the purpose(s) of visiting the Main Administration, the Uniform Shop and Helping Hands Out of School Care. 

While Prep and Year One parents are on campus the following rules will need to be observed;

  1. Do not enter the campus if you have any COVID symptoms.
  2. Do not enter the campus if you should be isolating according to government regulations.
  3. Practice physical distancing while you are on campus.
  4. Wear a face mask.
  5. Try and limit your visit on campus to as short a time as possible.
  6. Do not enter the classrooms.

Unfortunately, this means we will need to continue our hiatus on parent volunteers. 

Parents and caregivers do not need to be vaccinated to enter the campus. 

What if my child is displaying COVID symptoms? 

It is vitally, vitally important that you do not send your child to school if they have any of the COVID symptoms, this includes but is not limited to

  • Runny nose
  • Cough 
  • Fever
  • Loss of taste or smell

If your child presents with any of these symptoms at the College, and they are somewhat persistent, they will be sent home. I apologise if it does turn out to be “just a cold” or something more innocuous but this is something that we must be hyper-vigilant about. I am asking you to do the same. 

I know all too well the inconvenience a sick child presents when there seem to be no options to keep them at home, but where there is a will there’s a way. If you are in this situation I would encourage you to ensure your support networks are ready now so that someone such as a neighbour, friend, grandparent, relative, etc. will be able to look after your child should that need to be the case. 

It is important that if your child is sick, they are tested for COVID as soon as possible. 

My child is displaying the symptoms above. When will they be able to return to school?

When the symptoms abate and;

  • The child has tested negative for COVID in the last 24 hours or 
  • They have been absent from school for five consecutive school days (this will also cover any weekend isolation making up the seven days as required by the government)
  • They are symptom-free for 48 hours before returning to the College.

Should I inform the College if my child has tested positive for COVID? 

Yes. This is done by contacting either Main Admin or Secondary Admin as soon as possible.

If a child in my son/daughter’s class tests positive, will I be informed?

  • If the student is in Primary, then the parents and caregivers of all students in their class will be informed. 
  • If the student is in Middle or Senior School, then the parents and caregivers of students in their year level will be informed. This is because Middle and Senior students can inhabit many classrooms in the space of a day.
  • The student will not be identified to protect their privacy.

If a child in my son/daughter’s class tests positive, will my son/daughter be considered a close contact? 

The short answer is no. The government is clear about who should be considered by definition to be “close contacts” and they are the members of the same household. Even if your son or daughter has spent significant time with the infected student in the time leading up to their positive test, they are not considered a close contact by the government. For more information please refer to this website, https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-COVID-19/stay-informed/exposed-to-COVID/close-contacts

However, if your son/daughter starts to present symptoms then you must keep him/her at home and get them tested as soon as possible. 

One of my child’s immediate household members has COVID. When will she/he be able to return to College? 

Everyone in the family except for the actual person with COVID is considered a Close Contact according to the definition if they live in the same house. All Close Contacts will not be able to enter the College until; 

  • They have been absent from the College for five consecutive school days (making seven from school in total counting weekends) 
  • They have been symptom-free for the last 48 hours 
  • They return a negative COVID test on Day 6. 

Please note that a child will not be considered a close contact if he/she has returned a positive test result for COVID in the last four weeks. 

Please contact the College if your child is a close contact. 

What measures will the College implement to keep everyone as infection-free as possible?

  • We will be taking all students and staff temperatures at the beginning of the day via an infrared thermometer on the wrist.
  • Windows and doors will be open in all classrooms to assist with ventilation.
  • Hand sanitiser will be available for all students along with daily reminders to practice good hand hygiene.
  • All staff working on campus are doubly vaccinated except for a very small number (less than five) who have received a government-issued exemption for medical contraindications. Those exempted staff members will need to be regularly tested. For more information please refer to the following website; COVID 19 Vaccination Requirements for Workers in a High Risk Setting.

Will my child have to wear a mask while at school?

All Middle and Senior students will need to wear a mask except for the following circumstances;

  • They are seated. 
  • They are eating or drinking.

Primary school students will not be required to wear masks but the government recognises that masks are an excellent and important way to keep free from infection and would encourage students to wear them. We will support any parent/caregiver’s desire for their child to wear a mask. We will also have a supply of masks available for this purpose. 

How is my child exempted from wearing a mask?

You provide the College with a letter from either yourself or a doctor exempting the student from wearing a mask quoting the reason according to the website on mandatory mask-wearing here.

Please note that if a student of any age presents with symptoms and has been sent to the sickbay, they may need to wear Protective Personal Equipment while they are in there to protect the health and safety of staff and students in the sickbay. There will be no exemptions applied in this case.

I have heard that RA Tests will be supplied to all schools in Queensland. Is this true? 

Yes, this is true but they will be few in number. The purpose of the RATs will be to issue to the parents/caregivers of any students who will need to be sent home due to displaying symptoms so the test can be performed at home. College staff will not be performing the tests on any students outside of their own family. 

Please note that we are not permitted to distribute these except for the purposes outlined above. If you need a RA test for any other reason, you will need to acquire this using some other method. 

If my child needs to be absent from school for a period of time how will their education be supported? 

We are envisaging that there will be a number of children absent from the College at any time either as a result of them or a member of their family being COVID positive. We are committed to ensuring that no student will fall behind due to COVID absences.

Work will be provided for all students via our online Gateway platform. Most students will be well versed in the ins and outs of Gateway but for those of you who are new to the College, we will be releasing some instructional videos on how to access information on the platform soon. It is very easy. 

Will camps be going ahead? 

The camps that are scheduled for the end of the term will still be going ahead at this stage. This is because it will only be our students at the camp venues and we believe the chances of contracting COVID at these venues are only very slight assuming that all families are diligent at making sure that children do not come sick to camp. 

Will sport continue? 

At this stage, it seems that sport will be able to continue but a risk assessment will be conducted for each venue. It is most likely that spectators will not be permitted at most venues.

I know that your family’s health and education is as important to you as it is to me so thank you for joining us in this vitally important marathon.

Mike Curtis, Principal

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