Schools and childcare

Term 2 dates (as at 15 May 2020)

Tasmanian Government SchoolsCatholic EducationIndependent Schools
All RegionsTerm 2 commenced 28 April
 
Term 2 concludes 3 July
Term 2 commenced 27 April
 
Term 2 concludes 3 July
Term 2 commenced 27 April
 
Refer to relevant school website for Term 2 end date

Term 2 school arrangements

In Term 2, all schools will transition back to school-based learning through a phased approach.

From Monday 25 May 2020:

  • Kindergarten to Year 6, and Year 11 and 12 students will return to learning at school
  • Students in Year 7 to 10 will continue to learn at home.

From Tuesday 9 June 2020:

  • Year 7 to 10 students will return to learning at school

For specific information relating to Government schools please see the Department of Education website.

Catholic schools will adopt the same approach as Government schools, however, some may opt to welcome all Year 7 to 10 students back to school-based learning before Tuesday 9 June.

For specific information relating to Catholic schools please see the Catholic Education Tasmania website.

Arrangements for Independent schools are maintained on each school’s website.

All Independent school websites can be accessed using Independent Schools Tasmania website.

Sending students back to school in phases provides Public Health with time to monitor the impact of lifting restrictions for primary and senior secondary settings before returning all students to school.

Until your child is able to go back to learn at school, parents should continue to supervise and support their child to learn at home. The school will continue to provide learning materials and lead your child’s learning until your school transitions.

Once school-based learning resumes, you may still choose to keep your child at home to learn. However, parents who make this choice will be responsible for supporting their child’s learning through their own resources. The Department of Education Learning at Home webpage provides some ideas and activities which may assist in this instance. Please let your school know if you plan to keep your child at home to learn.

If your child has health concerns and is vulnerable to COVID-19, your child will still be supported by your school to learn from home once school-based learning resumes. For more information, talk to your school about what support they can provide.

Safety

All schools are working hard to apply Public Health and Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) guidance to their site’s practices. Schools are also applying guidance from WorkSafe Tasmania’s COVID-19 Safe Workplaces Framework.

The AHPPC has recommended schools remain open. Their advice is that pre-emptive closures are not likely to be effective to prevent community transmission of COVID-19 at this time. The most important strategies for schools and the Education and Care sector to implement to assist families to stay healthy include:

  • Promoting personal hygiene and cough and sneeze etiquette
  • Additional cleaning (especially of frequently touched surfaces)
  • Encouraging physical distancing by cancelling or postponing a range of activities
  • Supporting staff and families to stay home if they are unwell
  • Supporting those who are more at risk of severe illness if they contract COVID-19
  • Looking after the psychological wellbeing of students, staff and families.

Temporary site closures will likely occur when a confirmed case of COVID-19 is identified at a site. This is to support the Department of Health to conduct contact tracing, and provide time for cleaning and re-assurance to the affected school or service community. All temporary closures will be arranged in consultation with Department of Health.

Student transport

For schools that do not operate their own bus services see Public Transport – School Buses.

For schools with their own bus services, please refer to the relevant school for details.

Student accommodation

All student accommodation facilities (whether Government or Independent) operating in the COVID-19 environment have changed their procedures to include increased cleaning and physical distancing measures as far as practicable. Good personal hygiene and cough/sneeze etiquette is being encouraged as well as strong support for students (and their families) should they become unwell.

Should I send my child to school?

Our schools are safe places, and parents will be able to send their children back to school once school-based learning resumes for their child’s age group.

Until such time, parents should keep their children at home to learn. Schools are still open for those children who are unable to be supervised or supported to learn at home.

Children should not be sent to school or childcare if they feel unwell with cold or flu-like symptoms including:

  • fever
  • runny nose
  • cough, sore/itchy throat or
  • shortness of breath

Children should stay home and you should phone your GP or the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 for a referral to be tested for COVID-19.

Children should only be returning to school or childcare once their cold/flu like symptoms have passed.

If you are an essential worker and your child is showing cold or flu like symptoms, they should not be attending school or childcare.

If your child has serious symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, call Triple Zero (000).

Cancellation of school gatherings

The Tasmanian Government has introduced precautionary measures to limit the impact of COVID-19 in schools. Schools have adopted physical distancing measures, including the cancellation of:

  • assemblies and presentation nights
  • excursions
  • travel
  • fetes and fairs
  • concerts (with audiences)
  • sports carnivals
  • school camps (both local and interstate)
  • face-to-face parent teacher meetings.

These restrictions will be in place until further notice.

Child and Family Centres

All Child and Family Centres are open, but are only providing limited services. These include urgent appointments for Child Health and Parenting Services (CHaPS), Early Childhood Intervention Services (ECIS), Child Safety Services (CSS) or other services identified by community needs in each area. Staff are onsite and contactable via phone or social media.

For more information visit the Child and Family Centres website.

Where to find information

Schools

Education and Care Services

Education and Care and Child Care Services include long day care, family day care, outside schools hours care and vacation care programs.

These services are performing a vital role providing education and care for children, particularly the children of essential workers, vulnerable and disadvantaged children and previously enrolled children.

Find an Education and Care or Child Care Service

To find a service, families can call the Child Care Family Helpline on 1800 291 041 from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Families can also search for early childhood education and child care services online using Starting Blocks and Child Care Finder

The Education & Care Unit within the Department of Education regulates these services in Tasmania and has links to information and organisations offering support for families.

Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package

The Australian Government has announced major changes to its funding to support education and care services to remain open.

Services that remain open will now receive a weekly payment to ensure they can deliver early childhood education and care to families who need it. Families will not incur any cost. This will also mean that families can still keep their child enrolled at childcare whether they attend or not. If they do not attend due to COVID-19 they will retain their place at no cost.

The aim is to support services to remain open to ensure that quality education and care continues to be available to support essential workers and vulnerable children.

All services are working through these changes and will be in contact with families.

This change will apply retrospectively from 23 March 2020 and will continue until 30 June 2020. See the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment website for more information.

Support for providers

Information about Government Support for the Education and Care Sector has been developed by the Department of Education.

Providers can call the Education and Care COVID-19 helpline on 1800 816 057 from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, for advice on the range of supports available.

Safety

Education and Care Services are working hard to apply any additional Public Health, Workplace Health and Safety and Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) guidance to their practices.  The AHPPC has recommended Education and Care services remain open but with additional safety measures in place, including:

  • unwell staff, children and visitors to stay home
  • reduced mixing of children by separating them into groups (including the staggering of meal and play times)
  • enhanced personal hygiene for children, staff and parents, including having liquid soap and running water or alcohol-based hand sanitiser available
  • full adherence to the NHMRC childcare cleaning guidelines, with additional daily cleaning of high-touch surfaces and washing of toys and play items
  • excursions will only be to local parks
  • public playground equipment is not to be used
  • influenza vaccinations for children, staff and parents will be encouraged

The sector can also consider any other precautionary measures that reduce risks.

Should I send my child to child care?

Children should not be sent to Education and Care services if they feel unwell with cold or flu-like symptoms including:

  • fever
  • runny nose
  • cough, sore/itchy throat or
  • shortness of breath

Children should stay home and you should phone your GP or the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 for a referral to be tested for COVID-19. Children should only be returning to Education and Care once their cold/flu like symptoms have passed.

If your child has serious symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, call Triple Zero (000).

Alternative care arrangements should be considered for those children highly vulnerable to COVID-19. Parents should seek medical advice for these children.

For more information

Education and Care Unit (Department of Education)
Phone: 6165 5425
Email: ecu.comment@education.tas.gov.au