Schools and childcare

Term 3 dates

Tasmanian Government SchoolsCatholic EducationIndependent Schools
20 July - 25 September (Years 11-12)

21 July - 25 September (Prep - Year 10)
20 July - 25 SeptemberRefer to relevant school website for dates

Term 3 school arrangements

In Term 3, all students who are well will continue to learn at school.

Students with health concerns that may place them at higher risk of moderate to severe illness from COVID-19 will be supported to continue learning at home where possible. To make arrangements, talk to your school about what support they can provide.

The Department of Education Learning at Home webpage provides some ideas and activities which may assist in supporting a child’s learning at home. This is accessible to any family with internet access.

Most schools will be reinstating activities that were previously cancelled due to COVID-19, noting that COVID-19 prevention measures may still effect the way they are conducted. Check with your school about how they are handling activities.

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.

Physical distancing in schools

Physical distancing of children in schools, early childhood centres and playgroups is not required under current restrictions. The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) advises that there is very limited evidence of transmission of COVID-19 between children.

All adults (including parents/carers) must still maintain physical distance from each other (1.5 metres) but this does not apply to children.

Student transport

For schools that do not operate their own bus services see 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?

All children who are well should be sent to school. Alternative care arrangements should be considered for those children who may be at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Parents should seek medical advice for these children.

Children should not be sent to school 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 once their cold/flu like symptoms have passed.

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

School events

From Term 3, schools will begin to reintroduce certain activities and events.

All Tasmanian schools will be reintroducing:

  • Assemblies
  • Excursions
  • Sports carnivals
  • Interschool competitions
  • Face-to-face parent teacher meetings

All activities will be subject to proper hygiene practices, current gathering restrictions and physical distancing requirements for adults. A record will also be kept of all adults visiting school sites.

For more information on Term 3 requirements in Tasmanian Government Schools, see the Parent and Carer Guide for Term 3.

Families with children at Catholic and Independent Schools should contact their school for advice on Term 3 arrangements regarding activities and events.

Child and Family Centres

Child and Family Centres are open, with hygiene, physical distancing and safety protocols in place.

Families will continue to be referred to appropriate services as required.

For more information visit the Child & Family Centres website.

For more information

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 confirmed the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package will be extended until 12 July 2020. From 13 July 2020, the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) and Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS) will recommence, with the introduction of new transition measures to support the sector and families through this period.

For more information, please see the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment website. Families and providers may with to consider the Frequently Asked Questions information on the arrangements following the end of the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package in particular.

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 undertaken when risk mitigation strategies, including consideration of risks associated with COVID-19, are in place. Physical distancing and hygiene practices must also be followed
  • public playground equipment may be used by groups of up to 20
  • 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