Update: Return to face-to-face learning from Monday 18 October 2021
As previously indicated last Friday, Snowy Mountains Grammar School will commence face-to-face learning from Monday 18 October for all year level cohorts (K-11, with special arrangements for Year 12 already communicated by Dr Nelson). An updated PHO has been released this week which impacts on school operations, and we have outlined these in this letter. Specific guidelines are provided for the safe return to school on Monday, 18 October, as per a Level 3 school.
Guidelines for Level 3 Schools
Please refer to https://education.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/advice-for-families/level-3-schools for more information. Snowy Mountains Grammar School is currently under Level 3 restrictions as of writing this letter. School-based activities that are presently permitted, with modifications, will proceed with these current restrictions.
Further, school sport is now permitted, but with very specific requirements, which impose some restrictions. Director of Sport (DoS), Mr Philpott will be organising all sporting groups to accommodate these requirements. Please be aware, some providers, under the current PHO, are requiring that all 16+ persons involved in sport must be vaccinated for COVID –19. Separate communication from the DoS will be sent to organise our students into appropriate sports and selected groupings.
A reminder for all families
Students must not attend work or school if unwell, even with mild symptoms of COVID-19. Any person with any COVID-19 symptoms must be sent home and cannot return to school unless:
• they have been isolated for ten days when no medical certificate was available
• they have had a negative COVID-19 test result and are symptom-free.
If children have other medical reasons for recurrent symptoms, a letter from their GP is sufficient to negate the requirement for a negative test.
Anyone unwell with COVID-19 symptoms is strongly encouraged to get tested and self-isolate until a negative result is received.
In the event of a positive COVID case within the school community, SMGS will take guidance from NSW Health and enact our COVID Action Plan. The latest advice indicates a current positive case must isolate for 14 days and obtain both a negative covid result and a Medical Certificate to return to school.
If Your Child is NOT Attending School or is Accessing Learning from Home*
Please telephone the SMGS Absentee Hotline and leave your child’s name / year level on the recorded message by 10am each day (or specify the consecutive days period to avoid the need for a daily call). Each message is checked and processed at 10am every day. This avoids the need for our staff to call parents to enquire about absent children, and helps greatly as we account for every student, every day.
The SMGS Absentee Hotline (separate) contact number is 02 6451 2401 (to leave a message about your absent child, or a child learning from home).
Hybrid teaching model
Schools should continue to support vulnerable staff and student cohorts, with vulnerable staff supported to work from home. SMGS will provide a hybrid approach to learning until 8 November* for those students who require it. Please email any learning needs to Head of Junior School, Ms Heidi Shvetsoff (K- 6) or Director of Academic Development, Mr Paul Horvath (Yr 7-12) – email addresses are provided below.
Masks or face coverings are mandatory in all indoor and outdoor settings for all staff and indoor settings for students in Year 7 and above.
Masks or face coverings are recommended for:
• outdoor settings for students in Year 7 and above (unless eating or exercising)
• indoor and outdoor settings for primary students (unless eating or exercising)
It is also mandatory for all staff and students to always carry a mask – in playgrounds and on school grounds.
Some exemptions apply:
• Staff are not required to wear a mask or face covering where it may affect the ability of a student or students to hear or engage with them, such as where students are hard of hearing.
• Staff and students are not required to wear a mask alone in an office or classroom.
• Masks or face coverings are not required to be worn by a staff member or student who has a physical or mental health illness or condition, or disability, that makes wearing a mask unsuitable. For example, if they have a skin condition, an intellectual disability, autism or trauma, they are not required to wear masks. Refer to the Face Mask Rules on the NSW Government website.
Masks are mandatory on public transport. This applies to students aged 13 years and over and staff when travelling to and from school and during school excursions by public transport or chartered or private transport services.
The School will continue to ensure that cleaning takes place in the residential areas, including:
• an additional focus on high-touch surfaces in common areas and recreational spaces
• daily cleaning of all residential rooms, with a particular focus on touch surfaces
• vigilant cleaning and personal hygiene practices in all canteen and food preparation areas, including the use of masks by staff while preparing and serving food (CaterCare are aware of these guidelines)
• enhanced cleaning arrangements in bathrooms
• sufficient soap and hand sanitiser are available at all times.
Students will be reminded at weekly meetings of the importance of rigorous appropriate personal hygiene practices.
Information will include:
• washing hands for 20 seconds with soap and water at regular intervals throughout the day, particularly before and after eating and after going to the toilet
• regularly and appropriately using hand sanitiser throughout the day and particularly after contact with touch surfaces.
• respiratory hygiene – covering a cough or sneeze into the crook of the arm, not into the hand
• Advise staff immediately if they feel unwell or have any COVID-19 symptoms. Note that the symptoms of COVID-19 infection can include but are not limited to headache, sore throat, tiredness, diarrhoea, fever.
• Place used tissues and other personal items straight into a bin and then hand washing
• Avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth
• Not sharing food or drink
• Not sharing personal items such as mobile phones, pens and pencils, etc.
• Physical distance to reduce contact with other students and staff.
Non-essential visitors are not permitted in schools. Parents and carers must follow their school’s advice regarding changes to drop-off and pick-up, including staying in the car when dropping off and picking up children if safe to do so.
• maintain physical distancing by avoiding gathering outside of school gates
• remain outside of school grounds (note some exceptions may apply regarding schools for specific purposes, vulnerable students, or students with disabilities)
• follow mask-wearing requirements and sign in using the Service NSW QR code, and the SMGS Visitors QR code when entering the school.
Please be aware various school leaders and staff will be communicating more directly with different groups to narrow and focus the information further such as Year 12 or Boarding students.
Thank you again for your support and understanding. Please rest assured we will be doing everything we can do to support every student.
IMPORTANT: Superseding all advice remains that if any staff, student or parent present any COVID-19 symptoms, they may not be physically on-site and will be promptly asked to leave the site if arriving.
All other NSW Health advice regarding visiting venues of concern and identification as a close or casual contact remain in place.