This page was updated at 15:50, 25 March 2020 (added FAQ categories)

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Up-to-date information about Catholic Education’s response to novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

A special prayer from Archbishop Prowse


Current advice

In a statement released Monday 23 March, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian provided the following advice –

“As confirmed last night by the Prime Minister schools will remain open, based on health advice, which has not changed. But from tomorrow, in NSW, for practical reasons, parents are encouraged to keep their children at home.”

“Because nearly 30 per cent of children are already being kept out of school, for practical reasons NSW is encouraging parents to keep their children at home,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“This will ensure there is only one unit of work, whether the student is at home or at school.

“No child will be turned away from school.”


Catholic Schools in NSW will remain open, noting the direction from the National Cabinet and its advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee.

Catholic Schools NSW remains committed to working closely with the government to ensure that NSW and Australia can respond as best as possible to COIVD-19, and this means prioritising the health and safety of our students and families.

While our gates will continue to be open for students as per Government advice, as of today (Tuesday 24 March), our schools will begin to release Chromebooks/iPads and other learning materials to our students to enable Learning from Home to commence as required.

We would particularly direct families to the FAQ for Parents and Carers below. These resources currently provide some guidance around how learning from home environment will be provided for your child. These resources will be updated in the coming days to provide further information on this important topic.

Given our commitment to the learning of students on-site and in the home, teachers will begin delivering learning flexibly from the classroom. This will cater for all students both face to face and in the home learning environment by providing the same learning program. We will continue to update parents and the wider community with further news as it comes to hand.


Catholic Education, Diocese of Wagga Wagga (CEDWW) has introduced proactive measures to help limit the impact of COVID-19 in our schools and communities.

In line with the advice of the Australian and State Governments, our schools have agreed to implement social distancing. This social distancing is hoped to slow the spread of the virus, reducing the impact on essential services, especially health services.

Part of these measures include banning events that gather more than 10 people in one place. This does not include regular school attendance.

In supporting these social distancing steps by the Government, and in line with our colleagues in the State Education system we are implementing changes to some of our normal educational activities.

This includes, for the rest of the term, the cancelling of:

  • school assemblies
  • travel outside of the Diocese
  • excursions outside of the Diocese
  • overnight excursions and school camps
  • major events – including fetes
  • conferences

Where possible, our staff have been asked to use online tools to facilitate many activities affected by the COVID-19 containment measures. This includes where we would normally bring school staff and leaders together for professional development beyond their school community.

Following the advice of the Department of Health, every student returning to Australia must undertake a 14 day isolation period.  Students will also be given information about how to obtain medical attention if they experience symptoms whilst in self-isolation.

Students are welcome to return to school once the 14 day isolation period has been observed. We are asking families planning overseas travel to follow the current advice of the Department of Health and keep their schools informed of their itineraries. 

CEDWW continues to work with Catholic Schools NSW and Government agencies on our response. We are holding regular response group meetings and briefings to further update school communities on planning activities, including preparations should a school be required to close.


Frequently Asked Questions

Below are responses to some of the Frequently Asked Questions that we have received from parents and carers in our school communities. Click on any of the questions to view the answer.

Please check back regularly as this information is subject to change.

If you have a question that is not answered here, please contact your school in the first instance or send us an email.

Administration

Yes. As a parent/guardian of a student, if you have chosen to keep you child/children at home, you still need to complete an attendance note in Compass.

Any student who is not at school without a valid attendance note added to Compass will be recorded as an unjustified absence.

For instructions on completing an attendance note in Compass, download the relevant document below;

Your school may be closed for a set period of time to comply with Government and Health recommendations for the containment and management of COVID-19 virus.

The closure is to help ensure the safety of your child and family, and to minimise  potential contact contamination and spread of the virus in the broader community.

This link will take you to the Health NSW website for the latest information and updates on COVID-19 – Health NSW

Yes, all school staff will be following CEDWW’s working from home guidelines.

Your school principal should be able to be contacted via the usual school protocols for contact.

Home Learning Support

Where possible, learning content, activities and assessment will be available online through your child’s learning management system (LMS).

In CEDWW primary schools the LMS used is Google Classroom, with SeeSaw used for Early Years to Stage 1 Learners.

 In the secondary schools the LMS includes:

  • Kildare Catholic College-Google Classroom

  • Marian Catholic College-Google Classroom

  • Mater Dei Catholic College-Canvas

  • St Francis Catholic College-Google Classroom

  • Xavier Catholic College-Schoology.

These learning management systems provide access to online classrooms, where teachers can post lessons, content, assessment, activities, links to resources and video clips.

Teachers can send out emails to all students, post quizzes and self directed learning activities and update content daily. Some of our secondary colleges also use the school LMS to provide continuous assessment and feedback to students and parents. All secondary students will have passwords and should already be able to access their devices and school learning  from home.

Our primary schools will release the student school Chromebooks/iPads to all students in Year 3-6 to help students access online learning in the event of school closure.

You will need to complete the ICT Usage Agreement, which will be pushed out to you via Compass, our system management program. Along with the agreement, we will provide instructions on how to access the Chromebook/iPad and Google Classroom from home.

For younger students (who cannot access a home device) and/or all students who may not have reliable internet access, your school will provide downloadable or hard copy packs of learning activities, workbooks and instructions to help you ensure your child remains engaged in learning during the period of closure.

The CEDWW ICT department will provide support and guidelines to assist you with this process. This information will be sent out via compass in the event of school closures.

During school hours, our teachers will respond to questions and provide regular feedback or instructions on learning activities via email or updates on  Seesaw, Google classroom, Google hangouts, Canvas or Schoology.

Teachers will also post a regular message to the students in their class that provides guidance, encouragement and support using a whole class email or one of the learning platforms listed above.

Teachers will use their professional judgement in the management of multiple inquiries or emails on similar topics. They may choose to respond to multiple emails on the same topic with a post on the LMS that addresses this.

It is important that you encourage your child to check their online classroom or school email each school day for updates prior to sending an email . This will encourage the development of independent online learning skills.

There may be some teachers who are unable to get internet access consistently during a closure. If this is the case, the teacher or school will let you know of this circumstance and will communicate what provisions are in place if this occurs.

Where teachers and students can access the school online learning platforms and digital classroom, the content of the learning will be very similar to what is presented in the classroom. Some teachers may even record themselves or live stream at times.

However, continuous live streaming of learning during school hours or long periods of uninterrupted screen time during the school day is not  recommended for either teachers or students during a period of closure. The majority of learning presented will be via text, links to stimulus resources, assessment activities and/or online learning programs such as Mathletics, Maths Pathways, or ABC Reading Eggs (if these are used by the school).

While the content will be similar, the pedagogy, the activities, the timing and how the learning is presented, will be different. Teachers will be aware of this and will have designed the activity to suit current contexts (including distance education methods, available home-school support and limitations of media and technology).

For students who need to access print version or downloadable learning packs, (other than students completing senior secondary studies), the learning activities may be more generic. This will be most likely for learners from Early Years through to Stage 4. The provision of learning packs will be ultimately aimed at maintaining engagement with schooling, learner readiness and assisting to maintain year level learning gains as much as possible during the period of closure.

Secondary schools follow all NESA recommendations for provision of learning and course materials for students in Year 11 and 12 during a school closure. Please refer to the NESA link which is updated daily: NESA COVID-19 Provisions Year 11 and 12.

You may also wish to contact in the first instance-your child’s teacher- followed by the year advisor, pastoral or curriculum coordinator to discuss further.

Unless you are notified otherwise, your child’s teaching team will be available during school hours during school closures.

Your child’s teachers are likely to be as busy online during a school closure, as they are when working in a school. Please allow teachers adequate time to read and respond to queries, as they also manage the balancing of distance learning requirements and working from home restrictions.

Please also keep checking your school’s newsfeed, social media updates and other online information platforms. Many teachers will post information on these sites that provides support and information that will help with your questions.

Following a schedule or timetable for Distance Learning is similar to a homework or study timetable that your child might follow after school.

When students are learning with their peers in a classroom, time tends to be allocated in chunks to allow for a planned learning model to occur.

Eg: In a typical school-based 50 minute class or block, your child will complete a range of activities, including an introduction, followed by a collaborative activity and then an independent activity.

Distance learning at home, has more similarities with a personal or small group tutoring or study session.

Senior students will generally have the organisational skills and competencies to set up comprehensive study timetables. Younger students usually need prompts or guidance when learning from home.

The most helpful way to manage this would be to think of the day’s learning in 3 blocks for primary and junior secondary.

  • Each block would run for between 30 minute to an hour and focus on one type of learning activity, task or subject.

  • In between blocks your child would have a break for between 15-20 minutes, with a longer break for lunch.

  • For Early Years students this might be simplified into 2 different activities in the morning with free or semi-structured play after lunch.

Parents are able to access this link with advice on adjustments for  students who have learning difficulties or barriers.

No. With the exception of some Senior Secondary classes, CEDWW system recommendations is that teachers maintain regular contact with students and run an alternative curriculum during a period of school closure.

While the content, activities and assessment will be in-line with NSW syllabus recommendations for each year and stage level, the delivery via distance education is very different. Much of the learning will be self-directed and self-paced, with communications, feedback and monitoring happening through online mediums regularly or-in the case of primary students-daily.

Some teachers may not have consistent internet access and schools will advise you of alternative arrangements or learning packs where this is the case.

Students who are receiving Reading Recovery intervention may receive up to 20 weeks of intervention.

If your child is unable to attend Reading Recovery lessons due to a school closure, their lessons will be put on hold until school resumes.

Student Wellbeing

Expert advice suggests that it is helpful  to keep things as simple and close to normal as possible in times where challenging emotions may be experienced – Please click here

ReachOut have a comprehensive library of wellbeing apps. You can sort through a variety of different wellbeing tools and apps for a range of mental health and wellbeing issues to find the one that suits you best.

Safety Online is an important part of keeping students safe. The eSafety Commissioner provides excellent information for parents with guidelines around online safety and supports.

Click here to visit the eSafety Commissioner parent resource website.

In the event of pastoral concerns related to your child and their schooling, including online presence, please follow your school’s  guidelines for home-school contact.

In the first instance this might be your child’s teacher, followed by either assistant principal or principal (for primary schools), or pastoral coordinator or year leader (for secondary schools).

Extra Curricular Activities

All face-to-face  lessons will cease during a school closure and this includes primary school tuition through the CEDWW Primary Years Music Program.

Where possible, tutors may email or suggest conference lessons during a period of closure, although this may be difficult to coordinate on a system basis.

If you have concerns regarding Music, please contact your child’s tutor in the first instance. The tutor will pass concerns onto the relevant Ed Services Officer and we will get back to you with a response when we can.

Based on the latest advice from Catholic Schools NSW, all school athletics carnivals and cross country events are to be postponed until further notice.

See list attached of Diocesan and Inter-Diocesan events that have already postponed-Suspended sports –  link.

Resources

Maintaining good hygiene standards is an important way to reduce the risk of acquiring and spreading respiratory infections. We ask parents and carers to promote good hygiene including handwashing with soap. Together with good cough etiquette, handwashing (external link) is the single most effective way to reduce the spread of germs that cause respiratory disease.

The NSW Ministry of Health has advice and resources about COVID-19 in:

The World Health Organisation has also publisheduseful advice on social distancing: WHO advice


Australian Government Advice

The Australian Government has published a daily alert with the latest medical advice and official reportsExternal link.

SchoolTV Report

Click on the image below to watch Dr Michael Carr-Gregg’s video on discussing Coronavirus with your children.