COVID-19 Information for Parents

COVID-19 School Operating Guidelines, Policies and Procedures

The information below will be updated regularly with the latest news relevant to TAS parents and their children. We will also be sending information through TAS Talks and direct emails as necessary. However, keep checking on this page for the latest updates.

COVID-19 FAQs

The following FAQs are designed to answer TAS parents’ questions about COVID-19 and how our first four weeks will be managed. The answers below have been developed in conjunction with Public Health Orders, NSW Health advice, AIS NSW advice and our own concern for our student and staff safety and wellbeing.

If you have a specific question that is not answered below, please email [email protected] and it will be answered by a member of the TAS Executive as soon as possible.


What is TAS doing in the first four weeks of school to reduce the chance of my child getting COVID-19?

The start of year letter to parents outlined our approach, but in case you missed it, here is a reminder of some of the key strategies.

Masks must be worn by all staff and Years 6 -12 inside all buildings and classrooms to limit the spread of infection. They are also strongly recommended for Junior School students.

Students will be continually reminded about hand hygiene and social distancing.

Mixing of students between Junior, Middle and Senior Schools will be discouraged.

Windows and doors will be open wherever possible to ensure ventilation and airflow.

The Dining Hall will not be open to Day Students for lunches in the first four weeks of school. This decision may change after this period.

Decisions on all excursions and school activities will be made on a case by case basis and parents and students informed in due course. Decisions on all matters will be made based on the level of risk associated with the activity and our ability to manage it appropriately. Please read all emails and TAS Talks for updates.


What is twice-weekly ‘surveillance testing’?

All staff and students will need to complete two (2) RAHT kits per week for the first four weeks of school as part of the State’s surveillance testing. These tests have been provided by the NSW Government and will be distributed as a double pack to each student and staff member each week for four weeks.
In Week 1, students must test before school at home on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.
In Weeks 2 – 4 students must test before school at home or in the boarding house on Monday and Wednesday mornings.


My child forgot to complete their RAHT before coming to school! What do they do?

Do not panic. We will have some spare tests at school to cover these accidental moments. Extra tests will be available from Reception.


My child has a cold/cough/other COVID-19 symptoms. What should I do?

Complete a RAHT or take them for a PCR test. Even if they test negative, any students with symptoms should remain home until they are symptom-free.


It is the start of term and my child has just tested positive for COVID-19. What do I do now?

As soon as your child tests positive, you must immediately do the following:

  1. Notify NSW Health through the NSW Health app that your child has tested positive and follow their instructions.
  2. Notify the school that your child is positive by emailing the relevant person below:
    Junior School students [email protected]
    Middle School students [email protected]
    Senior School students [email protected]
  3. Isolate your child and all relevant household contacts for seven days and follow all health advice given by NSW Health and your doctor to ensure you are looking after yourself and your child’s health during this period.
    Your child may return to school after seven days if they are symptom-free. If they are not symptom-free, keep them at home until 24 hours after the symptoms have gone.
  4. If your child is well enough and able to participate in classes, let your child’s Advisor know so they can inform your child’s teachers. A ‘hybrid’ approach to teaching will be available during this period where most classes will be face to face and zoom. Information on all classes for all year groups will be also available on Canvas.

  • What happens if a student tests positive at School?

    If this happens, your child’s health and safety and that of our community are our highest priority. We will notify one of the child’s parents or carers about the positive result, we will take the child into a prepared isolation space where we can look after them until they can be collected and taken home.
    Your child will then need to stay at home for seven days after which they will need to be symptom-free and return a negative RAHT before they can come back to School.
    Symptoms include the following – fever, cough, muscle pain, fatigue, headaches, runny nose, unable to smell or taste.


    My child has had COVID-19 in the holidays, do they still need to conduct RAHTs?

    NSW Health has advised that no one should complete a RAHT or PCR test for 28 days immediately after they have left isolation following COVID-19.
    It is therefore very important to tell the School the exact date when your child tests positive to COVID-19.


    I have tested positive for COVID-19 but my child has tested negative. Can they come to school?

    No. In this situation your child is considered to be a household contact of a positive case and must therefore also stay at home for seven days. After this period, they can return to school.


    My child is returning to school after having had COVID-19. What do I do now?

    Please let your child’s Advisor, Head of House know if there are any concerns about your child’s return to school. We will communicate with you during this time to make sure your child is alright. Keep the lines of communication open.


    Are visitors or spectators allowed on the TAS campus?

    Any visitor to the school must be double vaccinated, wear a mask and be symptom-free.

    In line with the advice from NSW Health, TAS will not host gatherings of large numbers of visitors or spectators indoors in the first four weeks of the school term. More information will be sent to parents and carers about every event ahead of time.


    What is the difference between a ‘household contact’ and a ‘close contact’?

    The term ‘close contact’ is no longer used in any Government or NSW Health instructions for managing COVID-19.
    The term ‘household contact’ refers to someone you live with at home. If you live with someone who contracts COVID, you must isolate for seven (7) days. This can also include any visitor who has been staying or living with you for a couple of days or more. If these people contract COVID within 48 hours of leaving your home, then you are considered a ‘household contact’ and you must isolate for seven (7) days.

    My child’s friend stayed with us for a couple of nights and then tested positive for COVID yesterday, what do we do?

    This is an example where your family is considered a ‘household contact’ and you will have to isolate for 7 days. You will also need to let TAS know by following the instructions sent in a previous communication. This is important because your child will need support from his/her teachers and although they will be absent from class, they will be able to participate in lessons via Zoom. We want your child to feel as supported as possible during this period of isolation.
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    Update 24 January

    Considerable preparation has been undertaken during the holiday break to plan for the 2022 school year and to manage the ongoing challenges COVID-19 presents. As it appears that case numbers will not yet have stabilised by the commencement of the School year there will be some changes to normal routines as outlined below. As always, these guidelines reflect mandatory directions from the current NSW Public Health Order, advice received from NSW Health and the NSW AIS and have been developed in accordance with TAS Work Health and Safety (WHS)  processes.

    Start of term Rapid Antigen Home Test (RAHT)
    All students and staff will be required to complete a RAHT for the commencement of the term. The School will be operating on Monday 31 January to distribute tests for Week 1 and to record that all students have been provided with a test.

    Returning day students (Junior, Middle and Senior) are required to collect their test on Monday 31 January allowing them to test on Tuesday before school. Details on where to collect are outlined within relevant sub-school sections. One family member may collect enough tests for their children attending TAS. If you foresee any problems with collecting the tests on Monday, please contact your child’s Head of School or Head of House to discuss arrangements.

    Please note, all boarding students and new students engaged with the orientation program on Monday 31 January will complete their test on arrival.

    Surveillance Testing
    Contact tracing in a school environment is no longer a requirement and instead, we will undertake ‘surveillance testing’ in order to minimise, as far as is reasonably possible, any transmission of COVID-19. This will involve all students and staff undertaking two RAHTs per week. We currently have enough tests on-site to accommodate testing for the first day back. The State Government has committed to providing enough tests for the first four weeks of term and we are expecting these tests to be delivered this week.

    In the event of a Positive Test
    Any student or staff member that records a positive COVID-19 test is required to follow NSW Health requirements. Currently, the requirements are:

    • isolate for seven days following the positive test
    • leave isolation after seven days if no symptoms (sore throat, runny nose, cough or shortness of breath)
    • if there are symptoms after seven days, then remain in isolation until 24 hours after symptoms have resolved.

    Staff or students who return a positive RAHT must register their result on the NSW Services App or www.service.nsw.gov.au website as soon as possible.
    Students who receive a positive PCR or RAHT result must inform the School as soon as possible using the following contacts:
    Junior School – Mr Ian Lloyd [email protected]
    Middle School – Mr Luke Polson [email protected]
    Senior School – Mr AJ Whalley [email protected]

    If students are well enough to attend school remotely during their absence, they will be able to engage in classes through Zoom or Canvas, depending on the subject and year level.

    Vaccination
    All staff at TAS are fully vaccinated and are in the process of receiving their booster doses. The School continues to recommend that all eligible students and parents follow the health advice and make an appointment for vaccination.

    Masks
    Masks will again be compulsory for students (6-12) and all staff while in an indoor setting at School.
    They are also strongly recommended for Junior School students.

    Other School operations

    • The Dining Hall will remain closed to day students for lunch in the first four weeks of Term 1. We recognise this is a valuable option for our students and will reverse this decision as soon as we are able to.
    • We expect sport, music, activities and excursions to recommence from Week 1. All will be assessed on a case by case basis and any changes will be communicated to parents and students from the relevant staff.
    • ‘Cohorting’. Strategies will continue to be applied to limit interactions between groups of students and staff where appropriate.
    • Schools have been advised to continue keeping visitors to a minimum where possible. Communication will be sent relating to individual school events to advise on attendance and the appropriate guidelines.

    If you have any further questions or concerns, please email [email protected]

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    Update 27 February

    I write this afternoon to update you on some changes we will be making to school operations this week. As many of you will be aware, we have experienced an increase in COVID-19 cases in our students and staff over the past week. The current requirement for Household contacts to isolate for 7 days means that significant numbers of students, particularly in Years 9 and 10, will not be able to attend school this week. The following changes will be implemented after considering all options and seeking advice from the AIS and NSW Health:

      • From Tuesday 29 February until Monday 7 March, students in Years 9 and 10 will move to online learning. All lessons will take place using Zoom and follow the regular timetable
      • Normal classes will operate tomorrow in order to allow staff, students and families time to prepare for this short period of online learning
      • Year 9 and 10 boarders will not need to return home unless they would prefer to. They will be accommodated on-site. Further information around this will be sent to families by Mr David Drain
      • There will be no Year 9 and 10 sport for this period of time. MICs will contact students with further details on Monday. In the interim, if there are any questions, please contact Mr Huon Barrett on [email protected]
      • Other co-curricular activities may be able to continue via Zoom
      • Masks will continue to be required by all staff and students in Year 6 and above
      • There will be no gatherings of groups beyond normal class sizes
      • Students in Year 5 will also learn online this week, having previously received communication from Mr Ian Lloyd
      • Students in Years 6, 7, 8, 11 and 12 who are currently isolating will continue to be able to access their classes through a combination of Zoom and Canvas. Their Advisors will be able to assist them with this if necessary.

    These measures are similar to those that have been implemented by a number of NSW schools this year. They will be in place for a total of 6 days to allow for optimal teaching of students in Years 9 and 10 and also to decrease the level of cases on-site at TAS in an ongoing fashion. Thank you to all of our families for your support of the decisions we continue to make in order to prioritise the health and education of your children at this time.

    Dr Rachel Horton

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COVID-19 – Update 4 March, 2022

I would like to start by acknowledging that many of our families may be impacted directly or indirectly by the extensive floods across of the eastern coast of Australia and it is my sincere hope that any families in crisis reach out to the School with any concerns they might have.
I am pleased to say that the changes to operations that we implemented this week have had the desired effect of lowering overall case numbers and, importantly, the number of students and staff required to isolate as Household contacts. Therefore, all year levels will be returning to on-site classes from Monday 8 March and sport will resume. For those students still in isolation we will continue to support their class attendance, if they are well enough, using Zoom and Canvas.

We will continue to be vigilant, and masks will remain as a requirement for now, to be reviewed weekly. We will also continue with surveillance testing of staff twice weekly and day students who would like to collect further RAHTs for use at home in the case of symptoms will be able to do so on Monday.

We have received some updated advice from the AIS today, following some changes to the Public Health Order. An additional document has been included with this letter outlining updated boarding processes from Monday. Key points relevant to all students, parents and carers are outlined below:

  • Anyone who tests positive with a RAHT or PCR test is still required to isolate for 7 days. They do NOT need to test to leave isolation. They may leave if they are symptom free for 24 hours prior to the end of the isolation period. For example, a student who tests positive on Monday may return to school on the following Monday without further testing as long as they are symptom free from Sunday.
  • Household contacts are also required to isolate for 7 days. Household contacts are most often defined as those people who live in the same residence as the person who tests positive. Household contacts must return a negative RAHT on day 6 of isolation in order to leave on Day 7.
  • Anyone who has recovered from COVID-19 is not required to test or isolate as a Household contact for 56 days (8 weeks) after they finish their isolation. If they become symptomatic, however, they should test.
  • Anyone who has completed 7 days isolating as a Household contact is not required to return to isolation during the following 14 days if they become a Household contact again.
  • Positive tests should be registered with NSW Health and the School should also be informed as soon as possible.

These regulations have been subject to change and can be complicated for those who do not refer to them on a regular basis so please do not hesitate to contact the School or email [email protected] if you require clarification.

Dr Rachel Horton

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COVID-19 – Update 13 July, 2022

I must continue to mention COVID-19, albeit briefly. We have currently removed all restrictions at TAS other than the requirement to isolate for 7 days if you test positive and to test daily and wear a mask if you are a close contact of a positive case. Given the high levels of COVID-19 and influenza currently in the community, however, it remains imperative that any students with symptoms do not attend school. We currently have good supplies of RAHTs and would be happy to pass these on to any families who require them, on request. As always, if cases continue to rise or health advice changes, the School may introduce additional measures at any time.
Dr Rachel Horton

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COVID-19 – Update 29 July, 2022

As I foreshadowed earlier this week in TAS Talks, the incidents of COVID-19 at the school amongst the student population are increasing. While for the majority the symptoms are thankfully mild, there is still a risk of more severe disease and the ongoing requirement for 7 days isolation is very disruptive for our students, their families and staff.

From Monday 1 August we will require all staff and students in Year 6 and above to wear masks when they are indoors at school. For the time being, this requirement will not be necessary in the boarding houses although we will expect boarders to socially distance in the common areas to reduce the risks of infection. Students in the Junior School may also choose to wear masks.

This mask requirement will be in place for at least 2 weeks while we continue to monitor cases. Students will need to supply their own masks throughout the week but we will have spares on Monday for those who may forget. I encourage families to also ensure they are testing their child for COVID-19 during this period to assist us all in reducing the impact on the school this early in Term 3. The School also has plentiful supplies of RAHTs for any students or families who require them.

It is my hope that this intervention will stabilise case numbers and minimise disruptions for our students until the current COVID-19 wave passes. If you have any questions and you are not sure who to address them to, please continue to email [email protected]

Thank you for your support at this time.

Dr Rachel Horton
Principal
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COVID-19 – Boarding House Guidelines

Please note that these guidelines will be reviewed on a weekly basis.

Household Contacts

  • Household Contacts are students or staff members who share sleeping or close communal spaces where masks and physical distancing are not applied. For the purposes of boarding environments, the School determines who is classified as a Household Contact.
  • Any student determined by the School to be a household contact of a positive case must be tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible and will be required to isolate for 7 days.
  • The updated guidelines allow the School to isolate different Household Contacts together. Therefore, the School now has the capacity to support isolation in dedicated spaces for those identified as Household Contacts. This arrangement will require a conversation with parents and the School to ensure that the best needs of the student and their learning is met.
  • A Household Contact is not required to self-isolate if the person previously had COVID-19 and it has been less than 8 weeks (56 days) since the person ceased self-isolating as a case (this was previously only for 28 days).
  • A Household Contact must self-isolate for 7 days commencing from when the diagnosed person took the test rather than from the time the person was last in contact with the diagnosed case.
  • A Household Contact is not obligated to self-isolate again if another household member tests positive and it has been no more than 14 days since the contact completed their initial self-isolation period.

Testing

  • Surveillance rapid antigen home testing (RAHT) will continue for all boarding students and staff for the foreseeable future.
  • A positive RAHT result will continue to be managed with immediate isolation, a PCR test when possible and home isolation for 7 days.>/li>
  • Students and parents have the responsibility to register their positive result immediately with NSW Health.
  • If a negative PCR result is returned the student may leave isolation and return to boarding with medical clearance and so long as they are symptom free.
  • From Monday 7 March, any boarding student returning from leave will be required to perform a RAHT before entering the boarding house. This is in addition to any surveillance testing.
  • Any person who has tested positive for Covid-19 will be exempt from any testing or isolation for 8 weeks (56 days) post the end of their one-week isolation unless they develop symptoms.
  • Students who have had increased exposure to a person with a positive result, but are not deemed to be Household Contacts, may continue to attend school with daily rapid antigen testing each morning for 7 days after exposure.

Masks

  • In residential areas, staff, visitors over the age of 12 and students in Year 7 and above must wear a mask in common areas accessed by large numbers of people.

If you have any questions, please email [email protected] or your child’s Head of House.

David Drain
Director of Boarding

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