Coronavirus information for parents

This page provides advice to parents and school communities about Catholic education’s response to COVID-19 (coronavirus).

Current as of 2 April 2020 (2.00 pm)

Please be advised that this is a rapidly evolving situation and therefore advice to school communities will change quickly. Parents should pay attention to all information and advice from their child’s school relating to their community’s response to coronavirus.

 

Latest advice

The Victorian Government is directing all Victorians to stay at home, restricting sporting, cultural, recreational and commercial activities to help limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

More information on this direction is available from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) website.

 

Closures

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.

All non-essential planned gatherings of more than 500 people should be cancelled from 16 March.

These measures do not include the closure of early childhood services, schools or higher education institutions.

Closures will be made on the recommendation Victoria’s Chief Health Officer. If this occurs, the Department of Health and Human Services will inform the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria Ltd, then work with the school to implement the closure.

Catholic education and coronavirus

The first priority of Catholic schools is the health and safety of the students in their care.

Catholic schools are well prepared for the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

Catholic education is working with the government and independent school sectors, and acting on the latest advice provided by the Australian and Victorian Chief Medical Officers to the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria Ltd, to ensure that our practices are helping to keep our school communities safe from the outbreak.

As parents, you have a critical role in helping the school manage this situation:

  • Exercise good judgment by keeping children home if they are feeling unwell for any reason.
  • Talk to children about the situation, as they may be feeling anxious or stressed. You have a key role in helping students feel prepared and safe.
  • Encourage children to be proactive and committed to their schoolwork, and to stay connected with the school and their teachers.

 

Updated travel restrictions

Visitors who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents, or their dependants, are not permitted to enter Australia after 9.00pm Friday 20 March.

Australians returning from overseas are required to self-isolate for 14 days. Parents, guardians or carers should ensure that any child returning from overseas is isolated at home and should not attend school until 14 days after they returned to Australia.

This advice also applies to any impacted staff.

The Australian Government advises all Australians not to travel overseas at this time.

 

Exemptions for Year 11 and 12 students

The Victorian Minister for Education, James Merlino, and the Chief Health Officer (along with federal Ministers for Education and Health) announced that international students who are in Year 11 and 12 and enrolled in VCE studies in Victoria may be exempt from travel restrictions from mainland China if they meet strict criteria set by the government.

If this applies to your child, please contact your school for more information.

 

Resources

A letter from the Catholic Bishops of Victoria (18 March 2020)

Statement from Prof Brett Sutton (19 March 2020)

Frequently Asked Questions

Letter to parents (primary)

Letter to parents (secondary)

Letter to parents regarding overseas school camps and travel advice

General information about coronavirus, including travel advice: www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus

Information for the public about coronavirus: Information for the public – coronavirus

Factsheets and posters in English, simplified Chinese and Vietnamese to support schools and their communities: Information for the education sector – coronavirus