COVID-19 Updates

What happens if my child has symptoms of COVID-19?

Staff and students cannot attend school if they are showing any symptoms of COVID-19. These include fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, loss of smell/taste, muscle/joint pains, diarrhoea, nausea/vomiting, extreme tiredness, unexplained chest pain or conjunctivitis (eye infection). If symptoms occur at any time, your child should undertake a rapid antigen test. If you cannot access a rapid antigen test, you can attend a PCR testing clinic.

Students showing symptoms at school
​Any student who reports to our First Aid Room as ill and showing any symptoms related to the virus will be isolated. Parents are required to make arrangements for them to be collected immediately. The collection of these students by a parent or caregiver is non-negotiable. Students with Asthma or Hayfever type symptoms need to obtain a medical certificate stating this and that their symptoms are not contagious. When collecting an ill student, parents will be required to report to Front Reception to sign in and show proof of vaccination before collecting their child from the First Aid room.

What if my child, or another household member, tests positive for COVID-19?

If your child tests positive for COVID-19, they must self-isolate at home for 7 days from the date they were tested and follow the guidelines for someone who has tested positive to COVID-19. Self-isolation means staying in the home and remaining separated from others.

If you have any household member who receives a positive test result for COVID-19, the following guidelines apply:

  • The COVID-positive household member must self-isolate for 7 days from the date of the positive test result, remaining separated from others, following the self-isolation guidelines.

When can I leave self-isolation?

If you have no symptoms on Day 7: You must self-isolate for 7 days from the day you were tested. You can only leave self-isolation after 7 days if you do not have a sore throat, runny nose, cough or shortness of breath. For example, if you were tested at 10am on Tuesday, you can leave isolation at 10am on the following Tuesday if you do not have any of these symptoms. You do not need to test before leaving self-isolation in NSW.

If you have symptoms on Day 7: If you have a sore throat, runny nose, cough or shortness of breath in the last 24 hours of your isolation, please remain in isolation until 24 hours after your symptoms have resolved. If you are not getting better or you are concerned, call your GP. It’s important to stay in self-isolation and call your GP because you may still be infectious. Your GP will be able to provide further support related to your individual circumstances, help you manage your symptoms and assess whether you need further clinical care.

Wear a mask when near or talking to other people and avoid visiting high risk settings (health care, aged care, disability care or correctional facilities) for a further 3 days after you leave isolation. If you work in one of these settings speak to your employer before returning. If you have a severely weakened immune system (such as you are a transplant recipient or are receiving chemotherapy) you should take these additional precautions for a further 4 days (a total of 7 days following release from isolation).

If you have other symptoms after 7 days (e.g. fever, headaches) which are not getting better you can leave isolation but you should contact your GP.

What are the guidelines for wearing masks?

The school settings on the wearing of masks will be lifted for students and staff on Monday 28th February 2022. Secondary students and staff can elect to wear a mask indoors if they wish. Primary staff are being asked to continue to wear masks when teaching. This restriction will be lifted from the 7th March. Masks do remain compulsory on public transport including school buses, sport buses and excursion buses for Secondary students. Students are responsible for having their own mask when attending sporting events and excursions.

What about parents/caregivers or other visitors to the school campus?

Visitors to the school will no longer be required to QR code in on entry, but visitors to the campus will still need to sign in as normal to the school at the Front Reception desk. St Columba remain covered by the Public Health Order for School campuses and therefore visitors and staff must meet mandatory double vaccination requirements.

What are the current arrangements for before school?

Supervision for Primary students commences at 8.20am. Secondary students arriving before 8.20am will be accommodated in the Library from 7.50am to allow for supervision. Parents requiring care for their Primary student before 8.20am will need to register for the Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) service. OSHC operates Before School Care from 6.30am each weekday morning. To enrol in OSHC, please contact Columba Cottage on 6581 4433 or email

Parents are not permitted onto the School campus past the Front Reception and must farewell their child at the front of the School. Children who require special provisions should contact Mrs Cummins about the level of support needed to settle into new routines and enter the school independently.

What are the current arrangements for after school?

Parents can collect their child from Kiss and Drop or the Front Oval. Parents do not need to get an exemption for front oval pick up. Primary teachers will bring students down to these areas each afternoon. We ask that parents who are waiting on the Front Oval for children physically distance themselves from other parents and wear a mask. Please do not wait at the bottom of the stairs at the portico. For Primary parents, please indicate 'Kiss and Drop' or 'Oval' in your child's School Diary. This helps children and staff know what is happening.

Kindergarten to Year 2 parents ONLY are allowed to queue in Kiss and Drop zone from 2.45pm. Years 3 and above cannot proceed from the marked line until 3.15pm. A sign indicates the start of this line. Please ensure your car name sign is on the left side of your dash or visor.

Procedures and timing for pick up of students:

  • Kindergarten students may be collected at 3.00pm by car from the Kiss and Drop area or oval at the front of the School.

  • Year 1 and Year 2 students may be collected at 3.10pm by car from the Kiss and Drop area or oval at the front of the School.

  • Primary students can be collected by car from 3.20pm at the Kiss and Drop area or front oval.

  • Students catching buses and waiting for siblings will be supervised by staff until 3.45pm.

  • Primary children not collected by 3.45pm will be taken to Front Reception and parents contacted.

  • Secondary Students can be collected from the front of the school or Kiss and Drop at 3.20pm. Please note that Secondary students cannot possibly get to Kiss and Drop before 3.25pm, and parents are encouraged not to arrive early to wait for secondary students.

  • Secondary children can study in the School Library until 4.30pm Monday to Thursday and until 4.00pm on Fridays.

What about absences or early departures?

Please let us know if you need to keep your children at home for any health reasons, e.g. isolation requirements, COVID-19 vulnerability or any other general reasons. You can notify of an absence by emailing

Early Departures
From Term 1 2022, we have returned to our normal sign out procedures and parents are permitted to access the Front Reception to sign out students who are departing early. Visit our Arrivals and Early Departures page for more information.

Surveillance Testing

NSW Health has indicated that Schools will be required to participate in a surveillance testing regime for the first four to five weeks of the school term. To this end, it is anticipated that NSW Health will supply schools with enough Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) for each student to be tested twice per week, i.e. ten tests.

The school will issue these tests to students as soon as they arrive from NSW Health. Parents are asked to familiarise themselves with the procedure for using these tests at home before school on Monday and Wednesday of Weeks 1 to 5. Positive results are required to be reported to NSW Health and the School. Positive cases are required to isolate as per NSW Health guidelines. It is hoped that by monitoring students this way, we will be able to take appropriate actions here at school to prevent the spread of COVID-19 amongst year groups. Staff will be required to complete the same testing regime.

Parents can contact the school at to report positive test results or ask any questions about this process.

Advice and further resources are available on the NSW Health website including COVID-19 guidelines and fact sheets for People who tested positive or were exposed to COVID-19. Additional resources are also available on the NSW Government website.

Please note that if government policy changes at any time during this period, then the School may need to make further alterations to these arrangements.

Help for families

As COVID-19 continues to impact our daily lives, it is vital to address any concerns for the mental and emotional health of our school communities. St Columba has highly effective student support structures and resources in place to help build students’ resilience. Student wellbeing staff, including our School Psychologist, K-12 Director of Wellbeing, Deputy Director of Wellbeing and the Year Patron team, are always here to help alleviate any anxiety or concerns related to COVID-19 and its impact. More information can be found on our Student Support Services page.

Children and young people, while not considered to be in a high-risk category, may be exposed to news reports, social media and general discussions about the unfolding events. Parent resources are available to help guide the conversation around coronavirus.

Talking to your child about COVID-19 has released a helpful short video that details how to talk to your child about the pandemic. Other resources to guide the conversation:

For advice on maintaining positive mental health, Beyond Blue, Headspace and Reachout are all reliable sources. The Smiling Mind app is a free tool to promote mindfulness and also includes information on how to support children in times of crisis.

Support is also available through the following phone counselling services:

  • Beyond Blue – 1300 224 636

  • Lifeline – 13 11 14

  • Kids Helpline – 1800 551 800

  • Mental Health Line – 1800 011 511

General inquiries and translation services

A 24-hour Service NSW hotline is available to help people with any difficulties during the COVID-19 period.

For assistance, phone 13 77 88. For free help in your language, call Translating and Interpreting Services on 13 14 50 and ask them to contact the Service NSW hotline on your behalf.

What happens if a member of the school community tests positive for COVID-19?

If we are advised that a student has tested positive for COVID-19, we will email all parents/caregivers of the affected year level, cohort or the whole school community informing them of the risk of exposure.

Testing and isolation is no longer mandatory for exposures in school settings, NSW Health has advice on testing and isolation recommendations for the community following exposure to COVID-19 which you may find useful.