To read the latest COVID-19 information from CBC Fremantle, please click here.

COVID-19 update - Friday 28 January 2022

Dear CBC Fremantle families,

Welcome back to most of you and a special welcome to our new families and their sons who join us for the first time next Monday. 2022 will hopefully be a wonderful year on many fronts, but my greatest hope is that it sees the end of this pandemic that has wrought destruction on many levels, in some cases physical, in many more cases emotional and financial but sadly most of all in the cohesion of society. I have, over the vacation, witnessed first-hand the rupturing of long-standing relationships over diverging opinions around COVID-19 and COVID-19 management and that has saddened me deeply. As Principal of this College, I try to chart a course that doesn't diminish anyone's right or opinions, whilst at the same time, be punctilious about effecting Government mandates.

I will continue to do my best, and with your help and goodwill and the help of my colleagues, I'm sure we can deliver as seamless, safe and enjoyable school experience for your beautiful sons as possible. Knowing what to do in an acute crisis is often a matter of putting in front of you all the details and using the collective wisdom to come up with a solution or way forward. Acute crises generally are characterised by certainty. The perpetual uncertainty that has surrounded the pandemic has put the people who have to make decisions around COVID-19 in a chronic state of uncertainty and I can assure you it weighs you down. Thank you to everyone who has eased that burden for me and the College Leadership Team, for the empathy you have shown towards us. We couldn't do it without you.

As I write to you, we find ourselves facing uncertainty once again. However, we are well-placed due to the preparation and planning undertaken by the College both last year and throughout the first weeks of 2022.

This year, our focus is on two things: firstly, the well-being and safety of the students, staff and families that make up our College community. And secondly, maintaining continuity of teaching and learning. As much as possible, the school year will be normal and routine for students.

We have delayed sending out information to families regarding COVID-19 until the 'Western Australia's Safe Return to School Plan for 2022' briefing from Catholic Education Western Australia to avoid any confusion. The College follows advice from the Western Australian Government, Department of Health Western Australia (DOHWA), Department of Education Western Australia, Catholic Education Western Australia (CEWA) and Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA).

We ask that you work with your sons to understand their role and responsibility in keeping our College community safe.

Masks

It is mandated that all students, staff and visitors wear masks indoors unless exempt. Students will need a good supply of masks and we ask for your assistance with this. The College has an emergency supply.

We recommend students bring to school at least two disposable masks or one clean cloth mask per day plus spares as masks can break, get dirty, damp etc. There are certain times students and staff can remove masks such as when presenting or teaching, eating, drinking, performing etc.

All students in Years 7 to 12 are required to wear a mask indoors and on public transport unless they:

  • have a physical, developmental or mental illness, injury, condition or disability which makes wearing a face covering unsuitable;
  • are communicating with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing and visibility of the mouth is essential for communication;
  • are engaged in swimming as a form of physical exercise;
  • performing other forms of physical exercise; or
  • are consuming food, drink or medicine.

Increased Hygiene and Cleaning Regimes

All students will be required to use hand sanitiser on entry into classrooms. There will also be hand sanitising stations around the College and we encourage regular and thorough handwashing. Posters and information are being displayed on the school grounds.

There are increased cleaning regimes in place and we continue to review and respond to cleaning and hygiene protocols in line with advice from DOHWA.

Ventilation

The College has sourced a licensed contractor to conduct a ventilation audit. This will be reconciled with our own internal audit. Additional air purifiers and filters will be installed as required to ensure we meet regulatory standards. Where possible, windows and doors will be left open, and some classes may be held outdoors. All the classrooms at 223 High Street and the refurbished Year 7 classrooms have ducted air-conditioning as well as a fresh air source, and this will be the minimum specification for the other updates due later in the year.

Confirmed COVID-19 Students or Staff

In the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19, any temporary school closure will be advised by the DOHWA and the school will enact its Six Step Response Plan before it reopens. All Catholic schools in Western Australia have dedicated School Response Plans which contain detailed information about how they are to respond to a confirmed case in their school or school community. CBC Fremantle has formed an Incident Response Team and has been provided with a detailed resource pack to help them deal with a confirmed case.

There will be a designated isolation space at school for symptomatic students where they will be supervised by a staff member in PPE until they are collected by a parent or carer.

Students or Staff Isolating/Close Contacts

In the event that students or staff are required to isolate for any length of time, the school will adapt teaching and learning practices with a flexible, hybrid model to maintain continuity of learning.

Water Bottles

Each student is required to bring a water bottle to school each day which they can fill at designated stations. School drinking fountains will be closed due to the risk of transmission.

Absences

It is important for students to be physically connected with their school, staff and classmates. Every day away from engaged learning has a negative impact on student outcomes. All students should attend school unless they are unwell, have a medical referral to learn from home or have been advised to do so by State Government Authorities. Parents are asked to seek medical advice if their child exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 and are encouraged to notify the school if they have undergone testing. Normal processes for advising the school of a child's absence will apply. We will work with students and families on a case by case basis if there are anxieties, concerns or medical conditions that require an individualised approach.

College Events and Facilities

College events will proceed wherever they can be undertaken safely. Sports training, games and interschool competitions – including swimming - will proceed.

Some calendared events will look different, or may be cancelled. For instance, the College Opening Mass will not go ahead this year due to risk of transmission. Where there are events at external venues, we must meet the requirements of external providers; for example, the College Ball will go ahead but students, guests and staff will need to be vaccinated as per the venue's policy. The Year 7 Camp will proceed and Parent Information Evenings will go ahead with COVID-safe protocols in place. The College Leadership Team meets regularly so that all decisions are based on the latest directives and guidelines.

The College canteen, gymnasium, library and uniform shop all remain open with physical distancing requirements in place for adults where possible.

Visitors

All visitors are asked to sign in using the SafeWA or ServiceWA app, or the manual register, maintain physical distancing where possible and wear a mask unless exempt. Parents and carers, visitors, external providers and volunteers who visit the College on an ad hoc basis during school hours are not required to be vaccinated, eg for parent teacher interviews, assemblies, sports carnivals, performances.

Continuity of Teaching and Learning

We are committed to ensuring our students are safe, supported and able to continue their studies physically at school wherever possible. That being said, we have worked collaboratively with other schools and with system support to prepare for any eventuality. While face to face teaching is the optimal approach, CBC Fremantle has a detailed remote and hybrid teaching and learning plan to continue to deliver high quality education and service to our school community in the event of our school closing or other major disruptions. Underpinning the plan is a commitment to enable students to continue to engage in a Catholic education which is Christ-centred and child-focused in challenging times. Guiding the decisions and actions articulated in the plan is the dignity of each member of the school community. Details of this plan will be communicated as required, but it is important to note that students will be coached early in the year on using Teams and SEQTA to ensure a move to remote learning is as seamless as possible.

Wellbeing

Optimism, connectedness, unity and a sense of belonging are important focus areas for wellbeing in our College this year. Early on, it is a priority for our staff to connect with new students and to be a positive, reassuring and calm presence. We have additional initiatives in place this year including wellbeing surveys, check-ins, extended pastoral periods and catch-ups with Heads of House. Teachers are also asked to observe students within their classes and inform Heads of House should there be a concern regarding a change in behaviour, eg withdrawal, low levels of participation, frequent absence, poor concentration, fatigue etc.

Vaccination

Students at CBC Fremantle are not required to be vaccinated, however children aged over 12 can receive the COVID-19 vaccination. If you have any concerns, please discuss your child's vaccination requirements with your doctor. If a student is on a work placement or attending an external venue, they will be required to comply with the industry/business requirements at that workplace or venue.

As you may be aware, the State Government has mandated that all school staff, contractors and regular volunteers are required to be double dose vaccinated before Term 1, 2022 starts, and have had their booster within the required timeframe.

Parents and Carers

You can help by:

  • Letting the College know if your child is unwell.
  • Letting the College know if your child will be engaging in teaching and learning at school or from home if they have a medical referral to learn from home or live with a family member who is medically vulnerable.
  • Making sure the College has the correct contact details for your family.
  • Making sure you check regularly for communication form the College.
  • Encouraging your child to practice good hygiene, at home and at school.
  • When talking about coronavirus to your son, make sure it's in a way that suits his age and development. When you do talk, listen to what's worrying him and address his concerns. CEWA has provided helpful resources here: wellbeing.

More Information

  • Visit the Healthy WA COVID-19 website for more information and details about the Novel coronavirus
  • Call the Novel coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080
  • For general or travel related queries about Novel coronavirus please go to the healthdirect website
  • You can also visit the World Health Organisation website for more information about the Novel coronavirus and for updates
  • Talk to your local GP or Community Health Centre

Additional support services include:

  • Kids Helpline – 1800 55 1800
  • Headspace – 1800 650 890
  • Parent Helpline – 1300 1300 52
  • Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636
  • Lifeline – 13 11 14

In conclusion, thank you for taking the time to read this communication. Thank you for the trust you place in us and please let me know if there is anything at all that is causing anxiety for you and/or your sons and we will do our very best to alleviate the worry.

Warmest regards

Mr Domenic Burgio
Principal