BHCS Newsletter

16 March 2020
COVID-19 INFORMATION & UPDATES

The following newsletter will be ‘live’ and will be updated as further information becomes available.

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SCHOOL TO RETURN TO REMOTE LEARNING ON: 15/04/2020 (Information has been sent to all families as at 08/04/2020)

Covid -19 Information & Updates
What is the School currently doing?
Common Questions
Reducing the risk for your family
International Trip Information
Cybersafety
Health & Wellbeing
Financial Hardship
Day-by-Day Updates
Thank you for partnering with us
Belgrave Heights Christian School
Ph: (03) 9754 6435
Wattle Valley Road
Belgrave Heights, Victoria, 3160
AU

Covid -19 Information & Updates

The following newsletter will be ‘live’

and will be updated as further information becomes available.

---------------------

SCHOOL TO RETURN TO REMOTE LEARNING ON: 15/04/2020

(Information has been sent to all families as at 08/04/2020)

 

The news about COVID-19 is not only unavoidable and is changing on a daily basis.  BHCS will always work to ensure that our community is a healthy and safe one. Our goal is to help reduce the risk of the spread of the virus to members of our community as best we can. We want to assure you that we have been actively preparing and looking at ways that we can keep our staff, students and broader school community safe, whilst still delivering quality education.

 

On Tuesday, April 7 we sent home an email to all families that read as follows: -

 

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Dear Parents and Carers,

 

As we move towards a new school term, we are certainly exploring new territory! The past few weeks have been a time of rapid adjustment as we navigate so many new changes in this era of isolation. The Government has now announced that all Victorian schools will move to remote learning. This means that students who can study from home, must study from home.

 

Our teachers have continued to work to roll out a comprehensive online ‘Learn from Home’ program and I’m so proud of all their efforts. As we transition into this new phase of online learning, there are a few points to clarify.

 

1. We are all in survival mode

 

The world has shifted beneath us and each of us are impacted by pressures that we cannot ignore. Whether this is the stress due to losing income, ill family members, not being able to visit those we love, or the anxiety of not knowing when all this will end, please remember that it is okay to ‘not’ feel okay. 

 

It’s also completely acceptable to give yourself a break. Educating your child is not a race! You might find your child learns at a different pace to what you were expecting and that’s okay. If you’re also trying to work from home at the same time things may not always go as planned.

 

We want to encourage you to relax and lower your expectations while you figure out what is achievable for your family. No one benefits from stressed parents trying to cajole children into learning.

 

2. You are your child’s primary educator

 

Before school even started for your child, you were your child’s first teacher. Your family habits, mindsets and outlooks are far more influential upon your child than any online learning program will ever be. This means that if you can see that something isn’t working or your child isn’t engaging with the online content, that’s okay! You get to be the judge of what is best for them right now.

 

When you get a moment, take some time to consider some of the things you love that you might be able to teach your child such as a science experiment, gardening, baking etc. The school curriculum is always there for you to follow, but remember that you are also an invaluable resource for your child. Share your passions and make the most of this time spent together. 

 

3. Learn from Home is not Homeschooling

 

Homeschooling is a choice made by parents who then have a responsibility for creating their own curriculum (a course of subjects to study). You do not have to homeschool your children! 

 

Our ‘Learn from Home’ program will provide you with an abundance of material that your child can access within an overarching curriculum structure. This continues to be a partnership between you and us.

 

Our teachers are handpicked for their devotion and passion and they genuinely want to help your children succeed! They are there to support your child’s learning journey, especially when things don’t go as planned. Don’t suffer in silence, but keep an open line of communication with them. 

 

4. Engaging content is not the problem

 

When get the opportunity to look through the online resources we have made available to you, you will see how many incredible options there are. The last thing we want, however, is for you to feel overwhelmed. It is our role to guide you through these resources. Setting the curriculum is our job.

 

5. Keep it Simple

 

For younger children, it might involve reading a book, drawing a comic, creating with Lego or even outside play. Each of these activities will still involve learning.

 

Older students will have more concrete work goals set by subject teachers, who will also be assessing their progress. It is our role to keep you informed of your child’s progress throughout their learning through normal reporting processes. This includes being advised if they are falling behind in submitting such things as assignments. You don’t have to carry the responsibility for ensuring that they meet all their work deadlines.   

 

Remember, stress and tension serves no one. You know the needs of your family best and you get to choose what this term looks like. 

 

Let’s remember that hope and a positive outlook are incredibly powerful and that we serve a God who cares about the smallest sparrow. 

 

Blessings, 

 

Andy Callow

Principal

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We want to continue to emphasise that the health and wellbeing of our entire school community is of primary importance to us. Ensuring we minimise the negative impact on the students’ education is equally important. 

What is the School currently doing?

 

  • We continue to monitor the information being sent to us from external sources such as the Department of Health, the Department of Education and Independent Schools Victoria and will keep families informed as we become aware of any changes. 
     
  • We have postponed and are cancelling extracurricular activities. We will continue to update the list in this newsletter.
     
  • We are actively ensuring that we are reducing the number of students in groups in line with Government recommendations  when it comes to gatherings.
     
  • We are making hand sanitiser available in a series of locations throughout the school and have been, and are, placing posters in areas that remind people of washing their hands and to take the appropriate actions when sneezing and coughing.
     
  • Cleaning is being stepped up, specifically around touch points, including in our buses. Regular cleaning has been replaced with disinfecting.
     
  • Year 11 and 12 families have been sent separate information related to VCE & VCAL including information that has been provided to us by the Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority. VCAA’s information can be found at the following link: https://www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/news-and-events/latest-news/Novel%20coronavirus%20updata/Pages/default.aspx
     
  • Our Leadership is regularly meeting and seeking to make decisions that are in the best interests of our entire school community, knowing that there are families with members who fall into high risk categories.
     
  • We are speaking to students about social distancing, washing their hands regularly and hygiene practices.
     
  • The School is continuing to work towards a 'Learn from Home' model in the eventuality of long-term closure as advised by the Government.

Common Questions

Does someone at the school have the coronavirus?

No.  At  this present time, we do not have any confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

 

What will the school do if someone does advise they have the coronavirus?

If a student, staff member or a member of our school community is suspected of having or has been confirmed with COVID-19, the School is required to contact the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The school must then follow the recommendations provided to them by the Chief Health Officer, which may include closing the school for an extended period of time. During this time we will advise our school community of the action the school is required to take. 

 

My child catches the school bus, what is happening there?

We have also stepped up the cleaning processes in our buses, concentrating on frequent touch points.

 

What will the School do if the school is required to close?

We are working on putting plans in place to deliver content online including looking at using software to run virtual ‘face-to-face’ classes.  Staff have also been encouraged to think about how they will deliver content. 

 

At BHCS we are very fortunate that we already use and are very familiar with Google Classroom and students have access to cloud based files, this will become an essential part of our delivery. 

 

We will begin familiarising and explaining to students how our online delivery will work, hopefully then, should the need to teach remotely become a necessity, students will feel confident about how to access their teachers and information.

 

This may look different for each sub-school, as the education for senior students, middle and junior school students is approached in different ways.

 

If we can no longer come onto premises FlexiBuzz will be our initial communication platform.  We therefore strongly advise all families to ensure that they have access to this.  Please contact the Office should you require assistance.

 

What should ‘we’ do if the school is required to close?

From a parent perspective, ensuring your child has their laptop working and has access to the internet will be essential.  Students will also be reminded to bring home any textbooks or resources they may need in case only a short amount of notice is provided.

 

Start to consider the impact that your children staying at home will have on your family life. It is wise to start to have conversations now  about the things that need to be put into place in case your children have to stay home.

 

Google Classroom is a vital part of Middle and Senior School. The School has sent out invitations to all families, so they have the necessary access.  If you have not received an invitation or you have not accepted an invitation, we strongly encourage to accept the invitation or contact the office if you did not receive the invitation.

 

What else should we be doing?

Remind your children at home about the importance of washing their hands regularly and about sneezing and coughing into their elbow rather than their hand.

 

If you would like to watch a video about the coronavirus with your children, there are two youtube videos at the following links which you may find helpful:

 

SchoolTV also has a video especially made for parents. This can be viewed at the following link:

Ambulance Victoria has also very kindly made a fact sheet available for families in relation to children, which includes each age groups common reactions to worry.

 

What if I have been overseas or I have had contact with a family member who has come back from overseas?

As of March 15, the Government has determined that all travellers returning from any country outside Australia are now considered at risk of COVID-19. Anyone coming from overseas must self-isolate for 2 weeks. Failing to do so is now considered to be an offence.

 

We therefore ask all families who have been overseas or in direct contact with someone who has been overseas to please refrain from sending their children to school for the remainder of Term 1. This will allow there to be a reasonable self-isolation period before your child returns to school.

 

We similarly request that if one of your family has been asked to self-isolate that you also refrain from sending your children to school during this time.

 

My child is receiving an immunisation, will this increase their chance of catching the coronavirus?

No. We have received advice from the Immunisation Program Officer that this is not the case. There is no increased risk of contracting COVID-19 by receiving a vaccination.  If you would like to read further information about immunisations, please click on the following link from the Australian Government’s Department of Health:

 

https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation/about-immunisation

 

My children are only a little bit sick, can I send them to school?

No.  For the benefit of the entire school community we ask that you please keep your children home while they are sick. This is not just our recommendation, this is also the Chief Health Officer’s recommendation.

 

As per our earlier emails, if you send your child to school while they are sick, we will be calling you to ask that you please come and pick your child up from school.

 

Where do I find more information regarding the coronavirus (COVID19) for Victoria?

For further information regarding in relation to Victoria, please go to:  https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/victorian-public-coronavirus-disease-covid-19

Reducing the risk for your family


What can I do to reduce my risk of coronavirus infection?

  • Wash hands often with soap and running water, for at least 20 seconds. Dry with paper towel or hand dryer.
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth.

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow.

  • Stop shaking hands, hugging or kissing in greeting.
  • Avoid crowds whenever possible. If this is not possible keep the time in a crowd as short as possible. 
  • Stay at home if you feel sick. If you take medication make sure you have enough.

  • Phone your doctor or the hotline – 1800 675 398 – if you need medical attention. They will tell you what to do.

  • Continue healthy habits: exercise, drink water, get plenty of sleep.

  • Wearing a face mask is not necessary if you are well.

  • Buy an alcohol-based hand sanitiser with over 60 per cent alcohol.

  • Monitor symptoms: Watch for fever, cough or shortness of breath. Other early symptoms to watch for are chills, body aches, sore throat, headache and runny nose, muscle pain or diarrhoea.

What are the symptoms of the coronavirus?

The Australian Government's Department of Health has made the following resources available which explains the different symptoms you may experience if you have coronavirus (COVID-19), a cold, or the flu.

Where do I find out more information about the coronavirus and if I feel sick?

The Department of Health and Human Services has a whole host of information available on the coronavirus, including what the virus is, how it is spread and what is considered to be close contact, symptoms and what to do if you’re feeling unwell. For further information, please click here

 

Information, updates and advice about the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Please click here

 

Alternatively you can also go to the Australian Government's Department of Health website at:

https://www.health.gov.au/

 

What do I do if I or one of my children has a confirmed case of COVID-19?

Please contact the School immediately, so we can take the appropriate course of action. 

 

How do I know if something I've read about the coronavirus is correct?

ABC News provides a fact check newsletter on coronavirus myths. This can be found by clicking here

 

COVID-19 HOTLINE

If you suspect you may have the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) call the dedicated hotline

1800 675 398 – open 24 hours, 7 days.  Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only.

https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus

 

 

International Trip Information


Further information for International Trips

 

New Caledonia - French Trip

It is likely that the New Caledonia French trip may be postponed or cancelled. After discussions with our booking agents we have been informed that we have until mid-June before any additional costs are incurred for our booking. It has been decided that we will keep the booking in place for the time being and will come to a final decision regarding the trip by early June, at the latest. Although likely, we have not yet officially postponed or cancelled the trip. We will not be accepting any additional payments at this stage. All monies paid to date will continue to be held until a resolution has been reached.

 

Gravitate - Fiji Missions Trip

The Fiji Missions trip due to depart on 12th June has been postponed for the time being. We are not planning on cancelling the trip at this stage as it has been confirmed by our booking agent that they are happy to hold our booking with the option to reschedule at any stage within the next 12 months. We will continue to assess the situation in the coming months before making the decision whether to officially cancel or reschedule our trip to a later date. We will not be accepting any additional payments toward the trip at this stage. All monies paid to date will continue to be held in trust until a resolution has been reached.

 

G'day Space - NASA USA

Education World Travel (EWT) have taken a 'wait and see' approach with the expectation that it all will go ahead in December. Should this not go ahead, then they will reschedule rather than cancel. For further information, please refer to the PDF below.

 

INTERNATIONAL TRIPS

All international trips remain on hold until further notice. 24/03/2020

Cybersafety

 

REMAIN CYBER SAFE AND CYBER SMART

Unfortunately, during times such as these, there are always people who want to take advantage.  It is therefore important to remain aware of the current exploits and scams.  If you need information on what to look out for, we recommend you go to the Australian Government's Stay Smart Online website at the following link: https://www.staysmartonline.gov.au/

 

Remain aware of scams

If you want to know what other types of scams you need to be aware of, you can also go to:  https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/

 

Checking on the facts

If you are unsure if something is a hoax or an urban legend, particularly if the information is being circulated on social media or via an email chain, and want to be able to check the facts, please go to Snopes at https://www.snopes.com/

 

Alternatively, ABC News provides a fact check newsletter on coronavirus myths. This can be found by clicking here

 

E-SAFETY

Navigating the internet and the concept of online learning and online safety can be daunting. The Government through the Office of the e-Safety Commissioner has a website to help parents stay informed at: https://www.esafety.gov.au/parents

 

The e-Safety Commissioner has now also released COVID-19: an online safety kit for parents and carers. To access this information, please click here

 

Cyberbullying

For information on cyberbullying, please to to: https://www.esafety.gov.au/parents/big-issues/cyberbullying

Health & Wellbeing

IF YOU'RE STRUGGLING

The current climate of uncertainty can create a level of anxiety that many of us have not experienced before. The Government has now created a COVID-19 Support website with practical psychological skills to help you and your family cope. To read more, please click here

 

Lifeline Crisis Support

Lifeline also provide support services. For more information, click here  

 

Beyond Blue Support

Wellbeing advice provided by Beyond Blue can be found by clicking here 

 

Black Dog Institute

Evidence-based resources to help individuals, workplaces, schools, parents and health professionals.

For more information, please click here

 

Focus on the family

Focus on the family provide information on 'How to help your kids process tragic news'.  If you would like to read this information, please click here

 

Kids Helpline

Information for not just kids, but also teens, parents and teachers. For further information, click here

 

Independent Schools Victoria - Parent's Website

A guide for supporting children during is time is also available from the ISV Parent's website, to read more click here

 

Parenting in the time of COVID-19

The World Health Organisation offers some great PDFs to help parents interact constructively with their children during this time of confinement, six one-page tips for parents cover planning one-on-one time, staying positive, creating a daily routine, avoiding bad behaviour, managing stress, and talking about COVID-19. Use them to your and your kids’ advantage, and have fun in doing so. 

To access these tips please click here

 

Financial Hardship

 

FINANCIAL HARDSHIP

ABC News has made an article available that informs about using Centrelink for the first time and how to apply for the Jobseeker Payment (formerly Newstart). 

If you need this information, please click here

 

GOVERNMENT SUPPORT FOR AUSTRALIAN WORKERS AND BUSINESS

The Government has made information available on its stimulus packages.

  • To read more information on the Economic Response, please click here
  • For small business relief package information, click here
  • For information on making COVID-19 financial decisions from the Moneysmart website, click here 
  • For information on Jobkeeper payments introduced for employers refer to the attached PDF or click here
  • For information on the Government's new jobs hub, click here

 

BHCS CORONAVIRUS CARE FUND (Crisis and Recovery Emergency Fund)

The Leadership Team at BHCS is extremely conscious of the disruptive impact that COVID-19 is having on so many in our community. In response, the School is preparing for the eventuality that we may have to deliver our rich educational experiences and pastoral care programs under a Learn From Home model. We are also acutely aware that COVID-19 has not just caused logistical challenges but that many in our community are also financially reeling. 

 

Our greatest concern is to protect the wellbeing of all our students during this time. We do not wish to see families that are happy at BHCS have to move schools in addition to the other anxieties that that they may be experiencing.

 

The information regarding this Care Fund has been sent home to families via both email and Flexibuzz, families who did not receive this information are encouraged to contact Reception.

 

Day-by-Day Updates


VICTORIAN STATE OF EMERGENCY

On 16 March, a state of emergency was declared in Victoria to combat the spread of COVID-19.

 

Under a State of Emergency, Authorised Officers, at the direction of the Chief Health Officer, can act to eliminate or reduce a serious risk to public health by detaining people, restricting movement, preventing entry to premises, or providing any other direction an Authorised Officer considers reasonable to protect public health.

 

The Victorian Government has now moved to Stage 3. The most recent media statement by Daniel Andrews can be found here

 

These measures do not yet include the closure of early childhood services or schools.

 

Closures will be made on the recommendation Victoria’s Chief Health Officer. Once this occurs, the Department of Health and Human Services will inform the Department of Education and Training, our school will follow the directions provided to us.

 

VICEMERGENCY APP

The Victorian Government uses the VicEmergency App to inform families about information in times like these. The VicEmergency App can be downloaded via iTunes or via Google Play store.  We encourage you to download the app, so you are aware of up-to-date advice. To see the VicEmergency website go to http://emergency.vic.gov.au/respond/

 

TRAVEL PLANS ARE NOW IN PLACE

International travel is now at Level 4 with a global travel ban as of 18 March, 2020. 

Further restrictions to travelling overseas were introduced as of 25 March 2020.

 

PARENT / FAMILY HELPERS AT SCHOOL

As the School seeks to proactively decrease risk, we have made the decision to cease the use of parent / family helpers throughout the entire school (including Kinder) for the remainder of Term 1.  This will continue until further notice.

 

SCHOOL HOLIDAYS (23/03/2020)

The School has chosen to follow the Victorian Government's guidelines for State schools and has started the school holiday period for students on 24 March, 2020.

 

CYBERSAFETY

The cybersafety component on day-to-day updates has now been given a page of its own. 24/03/2020

 

IF YOU'RE STRUGGLING

Information for those who may be struggling in this time of uncertainty has also been given a page of its own under Health & Wellbeing. 24/03/2020

 

FINANCIAL HARDSHIP

Information for those experiencing financial hardship has been moved to a page of its own within this newsletter.  26/03/2020

 

NEW  CORONAVIRUS APP RELEASED BY THE GOVERNMENT

Stay up to date with official information and advice about the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. You can check your symptoms and get notified when urgent information and updates are published. For further information on how to download the app, click here

 

TERM 2 STARTS ON APRIL 15 WITH 'LEARN FROM HOME'

A survey was sent home to all families with respect to essential services information. The survey was sent home via Flexibuzz and email with a SMS reminder.

 

A further email and Flexibuzz was sent out with a letter from our Principal. The letter from our Principal can be read on the first page of this newsletter.

 

08/04/2020

Information about the Learn from Home program was sent home to all families via email and Flexibuzz with an SMS follow up.

Thank you for partnering with us

We thank our school community for partnering with us as we all work together, with mutual respect and consideration, during this time.
 

BHCS Newsletter
coronavirus-covid-19-identifying-the-symptoms.pdf
Tip Sheet Children and COVID-19_V2 - Ambulance Victoria.pdf
EWT G'DAY SPACE DECEMBER 2020 COVID-19 Update 16th March 2020.pdf
VicEmergency
Coronavirus special update.pdf
Fact_sheet_Info_for_Employers_0.pdf
EWT G'DAY SPACE DECEMBER 2020 COVID-19 Update 16th March 2020.pdf
Coronavirus special update.pdf