As you all know, on Sunday and Monday the State Government announced a raft of changes that are (even now) only slowly taking shape. We are still finding out what the requirements are for school operations and who can attend on any given day. We are expecting more information later this week, for example.
Please be aware the current Stage 4 Restrictions are far stricter than the previous round of restrictions. We are still receiving information and have spent much of today trying to work through the requirements (which were only released late yesterday). We are expecting more over the coming days. If this changes our interpretations of things, we will let you know.
Be very aware of the acceptable reasons for you to leave your home now. You can only leave to shop for essentials or exercise within 5km of home (with exceptions), for health or care needs, if you are a prescribed worker (with a permit), or for some personal reasons.
For your information, all workplaces are now required to provide their employees with a Permitted Worker Form (I have attached this for those of you who are interested). This places enormous obligations on the employer to ensure that only workers who need to be at the workplace, are at the workplace. As you can see at the top of page 2, the penalties for breaches are nearly $20,000 for individuals and nearly $100,000 for the workplace. This is just one of the major remedies we can be hit with for non-compliance at this time. As a result, we need to point out we will only have a skeleton work force in place to maintain operations at the College.
On top of this, we received a letter from the Assistant Chief Health Officer which applies to all schools (the one that’s attached was sent to us from the Department of Education, but we are getting one too). It clearly states that due to the escalating health risk, this time (unlike last time) the move to remote learning is legally enforceable. (See attached letter.) It is not clear whether this means enforceable against the school and or the students/parents.
In any event, this all means we are now required to strictly enforce who can come in and when. The criteria are:
- The children of permitted workers. Our understanding is both parents must hold an exemption (or a clearly identifiable ID indicating place of work if you are a medical or emergency worker). We would need copies of either the forms and/or the ID for our records if you fit this category.
- Children with a disability or who the College identify as vulnerable. This is something the College determines. The criteria here is very strict. Relevant parents will be contacted, but please be aware this only applies to a few students.
- Children in families experiencing significant stress. At the moment our understanding is that this would need to be supported by some sort of medical documentation.
We will provide an exemption letter to those families who are approved to come in. We do not recommend anyone travels from tomorrow without either a permitted worker form or some form of letter explaining why you are travelling from the school. (Be aware, it is possible some sort of form will be released by authorities for this purpose in the coming days.) In the meantime, please do not come to school tomorrow until you receive a specific exemption letter from the College either this afternoon or over the coming days.
For those of you in prescribed jobs, please ensure we have copies of the required documents so we can prove your child’s need to come in to school to authorities if we are challenged.
Be aware, travelling to school to pick up or drop off work is no longer allowed under the current laws. Our solution to this problem will be communicated to you over the coming days. Stay tuned.
The new requirements are strict and significant. The fines in place for individuals who break the rules are significant. The College is obliged to follow the Laws.
We appreciate your support at this time and we are here for you if you need to reach out to us for support. Please understand the current circumstances have not been chosen by us. We understand it is difficult. But we can get through this – apart but together.
Regards and God Bless