13 March 2020

While the situation regarding the COVID-19 continues to evolve, the Department of Education has established a team to support schools. It is important that as a school community we apply factual information and a practical approach to COVID – 19.

I have been asked about media reports regarding school closures.

If a WA school has to close due to a confirmed case, it will be on advice from the WA Health Department’s Chief Health Officer. The Chief Health Officer may, if there has been a positive COVID-19 test result in our school community, close our school temporarily while assessment and tracing of exposure is conducted. A thorough school clean will then be carried out by the Department of Education to make the school safe for the return of students and staff.

In this situation I will receive direct advice from the Department of Education’s coronavirus support team.

Upon the school being notified, all families will be immediately contacted via my blog and SMS and provided with the relevant information. This contact may be during the school day, or before or after school. It is therefore important that we have up-to-date contact details for you, please notify the front office if your email address or mobile number have changed.

Parents will also be advised of the extent to which class work can be completed at home during this temporary closure and provided with the details of how this will work.

While it is acknowledged that this may be a difficult time for the community, we are reminded that schools open and close all the time and that the reason for any school closure will be to ensure the safety of all students and staff.

The best defense remains hand washing and not touching your face.  All students have been spoken to about best practice and continue to be guided on this. All classrooms have bottles of hand cleaner and spray disinfectant for keypads and screens; seven sinks around the school have soap dispensers; and many students also have small bottles of personal hand-gel attached to their bags, which is an excellent idea.

COVID-19 symptoms

People with COVID-19 may experience:

  • fever;
  • flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat and fatigue; or
  • shortness of breath.

For the latest health information and health related enquiries please visit WA Department of Health or access the helpline 1800 020 080.

COVID-19 testing

The WA Chief Health Officer, Dr Andrew Robertson, has advised people should not go to be tested for COVID-19 to either COVID Clinics or GPs unless they are currently experiencing symptoms and meet the testing criteria.

To be eligible for testing people must:

  • be currently experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough or sore throat AND have
  • returned from overseas travel in the last 14 days
  • OR be currently experiencing symptoms, and be a contact of a confirmed case
  • OR be currently experiencing symptoms and believe they have been in close contact with a person infected with COVID-19.

For more information, please also see my blog of 11 March.

Lisa Dentith