COVID-19 Information

COVID-19 at St Columba Anglican School

Wednesday 1 April 2020

The family of the St Columba student who was the subject of a COVID-19 diagnosis has received medical clearance from Mid North Coast Health on Tuesday 24 March 2020. Members of the family are not considered to represent any risk to the community. All members of the St Columba community who had been in close contact with the student who was subject to the COVID-19 diagnosis are no longer required to be in isolation.

As a School community, we thank the family for their community-minded response to the circumstance in which they found themselves. Their timely response to potential COVID-19 symptoms meant that the School and the wider community were spared further disruption.

Email communication from the School

01/04/20 COVID-19 Update from the Head of Primary 1 April

01/04/20 COVID-19 Update from the Principal 1 April

31/03/20 2020 Sydney Dance Eisteddfod Cancellation

30/03/20 COVID-19 Update from the Principal 30 March

30/03/20 Message to Year 12 2020

27/03/20 COVID-19 Update from the Principal 27 March

27/03/20 COVID-19 Update from the Head of Primary

27/03/20 Online Learning from the Directors

24/03/20 COVID-19 Update re School Fees

23/03/20 COVID-19 Update from the Principal

23/03/20 Cancellation of Year 7 Vaccination Clinic

23/03/20 Cancellation of Parent Teacher Interviews

22/03/20 Return to School Monday 23 March

21/03/20 Cashless at the Canteen and Cafe

20/03/20 COVID-19 Return to School Update

20/03/20 Year 10 Student Update re siblings and family members

20/03/20 Year 10 Student Update

20/03/20 COVID-19 March 20 Update from Principal

20/03/20 Student Update regarding COVID-19 - Secondary School

20/03/20 Student Update regarding COVID-19 - Primary School

19/03/20 School Closure due to Coronavirus

19/03/20 K-12 Online Learning

19/03/20 Year 12 Half-Yearly Examinations Update

17/03/20 Year 11 Remote Lesson Trial

17/03/20 Update from the Principal

16/03/20 Update from the Heads of School

16/03/20 Update on Year 10 Work Experience

13/03/20 Year 11 and 12 Continuation of Learning

13/03/20 Easter Egg Raffle Donations Cancelled

13/03/20 Principal's Blog - COVID-19

11/03/20 Year 11 Tertiary Awareness Excursion Update

10/03/20 POSTPONED - Grandparents and VIP Day 2020

06/03/20 Year 3, 4 and 5 Camps 2020 - Protocols to minimise risk COVID-19

05/03/20 Coronavirus Health Update

Frequently Asked Questions

If the School is closed, does the School anticipate making use of online technology?

At this point, the ongoing learning of students will primarily be facilitated through Google Classroom, email and other platforms. Our approaches will vary, reflecting the respective ages of the students. The use of interactive video technology may not be reliable in terms of supporting large numbers of remote students so we will trial the use of Google Meet for our Senior students. There will also be families unable to access this forum due to remoteness or poor internet speeds so the majority of work will be accessible through the Google classroom.

If my child has had the test for COVID-19 and we are waiting for the results, should they stay home from school?

If your child is sick, please keep them home from school. If they have been tested for COVID-19, he or she should stay home from school until the results are available and confirmed negative.

Is the School going to suspend gatherings of more than 500 people, in light of recent reports that the government has recommended doing so?

The government has explicitly made schools exempt from this recommendation. Nonetheless, School leadership will consider the government’s advice when it is formally provided to us and act accordingly. Regular assemblies, Chapels and events will not occur for the remainder of Term 1.

Is the School planning to cancel events or activities?

School leadership is monitoring the situation and will follow the guidance provided by NSW Health. If advised by the authorities, or if our risk assessment indicates that it is warranted, events or activities may be modified, cancelled, or postponed. This has already happened with events such as Grandparents Day and da Vinci Decathlon. The School is keen to maintain the normal operations and learning experiences of the students until the expert medical authorities advise us to act otherwise. Recognising that the situation is fluid, the School will provide as much notice as possible of any such changes.

Will I be receiving a refund for cancelled/postponed activities or camps?

At this stage the camps are postponed and all refunds will be considered and reviewed at the end of the year. Any activities that are cancelled and have associated costs, will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

Should my child come to school if he/she has cold and flu symptoms, such as a runny nose, fever or a cough, even if they have not had contact with an infected person?

No. Your child must not attend school or school-related activities, on or off campus, until he/she is well (without the need for symptom altering medication such as cold/flu medication, analgesics etc.). If your child is identified as being unwell in this way while at school, they will be isolated and you will be asked to collect them from school. As always, if you are concerned about your child’s health, please see your doctor.

How do I let the School know that my child will be absent from school for health reasons, or because he/she is self-isolating?

Follow the usual channels for informing the School of your child’s absence for illness via an email to

What should my child do if they are sick on the day that a major assessment item is due to take place at school?

If your child is unwell, they must not come to the School. Advise the School that he/she is unwell immediately, noting that an assessment is scheduled, and alternative arrangements will be put in place. The School has established processes to ensure that students are not disadvantaged due to illness.

Should I keep my child home from school because I am worried about COVID-19?

No. SCAS does not encourage this as an option, as students will miss out on all the usual benefits of learning at school. The current advice from NSW Health is that there is no reason why students who have not travelled to affected areas, or had close contact with a confirmed case, should not attend school. For more information regarding school closure, please see this document from the Chief Health Officer, NSW Health.

Does my child need a medical certificate when he/she is returning to school after a period of self-isolation?

No. The advice from NSW Health is that a medical certificate is NOT required following a period of self-isolation if it is due to travel to affected areas or close contact with a diagnosed case of COVID-19.

What should I do if my child has other health concerns that may have implications for susceptibility to COVID-19?

Please seek advice from your child’s health specialist regarding their individual circumstances. Please make sure that the School is informed of any matters to do with caring for your child’s medical needs.

We have planned to travel overseas in the April holidays. Should we go?

Current government advice is to reconsider the need for overseas travel at this time. Apart from the risk of contracting illness, there is a clear risk that a period of self-isolation will be required on return, which may have further impact on your child’s schooling.

If a student travels overseas during the approaching holidays and returns without cold or flu symptoms, can they return immediately to school?

Any student who has travelled outside of Australia MUST NOT ATTEND SCHOOL and should self-quarantine by staying at home for 14 days after landing in Australia. This also applies to family members and friends, who must not visit the School before the 14-day self-quarantine period has passed. More information can be found here.

What can I do to protect my child from COVID-19?

The best advice is to practice good hygiene, particularly in washing hands regularly and thoroughly. Hand soap is available throughout the School, as are signs reminding the students to make use of it. Teachers have also been asked to remind students to wash their hands and encourage respiratory hygiene techniques.

What is ‘close contact’?

According to NSW Health, a ‘close contact’ is someone who has been face to face for at least 15 minutes, or been in the same closed space for at least 2 hours, as someone who has tested positive for the COVID-19 when that person was infectious.

What is ‘self-isolation’?

‘Self-isolation’ is intended to remove direct contact with other people, in order to ensure that the virus is not transmitted. If self-isolating, people should limit their activities outside the home, not go to school or to public areas.

NSW Health provides more information at this page:

What about students catching the bus to and from school?

Bus services are provided by Busways and they would determine their ongoing operation. If Busways were to discontinue their services, parents would be notified by the school via SMS and email. We would also utilise our social media forums. Utilising bus services at this time is at parents' discretion.

Sport and co-curricular activities

As of Tuesday 17 March 2020, all co-curricular groups are cancelled for the remainder of the term, or until further notice. This includes sport, performing arts and general co-curricular activities.

From Tuesday 17 March 2020, school sport and all other sporting activities will be held on the SCAS campus only. Students do not need to bring sporting equipment. Arrangements will be made for alternative activities on site and students should still wear their sports uniform on their sports day.

All Combined Independent Schools (CIS), Association of Independent Co-educational Schools (AICES) and Hunter Region Independent Schools (HRIS) sports fixtures have been cancelled until at least the end of Term 1.

Both the Primary and Secondary Netball NSW Schools Cup have also been cancelled.

Primary School Cross Country Carnival has been cancelled.

Primary School cancelled/postponed events

Sydney Dance Eisteddfod 2020

Dance Showcase 2020

Primary School Cross Country Carnival

Grandparents and VIP Day

The Mid North Coast da Vinci Decathlon

Reading Buddies Program

Easter Hat Parade and Picnic

Easter Service

All Primary School Assemblies and Chapels

Primary School Parent Teacher Interviews

Innes House Fundraiser

All Co-curricular groups

Primary Netball NSW Schools Cup

Secondary School cancelled/postponed events

Sydney Dance Eisteddfod 2020

Dance Showcase 2020

The Mid North Coast da Vinci Decathlon

Innes House Fundraiser

St Thomas Soup Kitchen (until further notice)

Year 7 Camp

Year 8 Camp

Year 9 Camp

Year 10 Work Experience

Year 10 Drama Performance

Year 11 Tertiary Awareness Week

FIRST Robotics Competition South Pacific and Southern Cross

Easter Service

All Co-curricular groups

Secondary Netball NSW Schools Cup

What is SCAS doing in reponse to the COVID-19 situation?

Here are some of the measures undertaken at St Columba:

  • Increased cleaning with hospital grade sanitiser to all public and desk surfaces;
  • Teachers instructing students in hygiene protocols including handwashing, sneezing, coughing etc.;
  • We are continuing to ask both students and staff who exhibit any symptoms of illness to stay at home;
  • Our Critical Incident Team is meeting regularly to ensure plans are in place for a ‘Staged Closure of the School’ if required and other contingencies;
  • Students are to provide their own drink bottle as bubblers have been turned off (water taps are available throughout the campus for filling);
  • We are reviewing all activities and excursions with student and staff safety in mind, some have already been cancelled or postponed; and
  • We are planning for continuing student education strategies should an extended time out of school be required.

We are also encouraging all parents to set up Flexischools for Canteen ordering to reduce cash handling by students and our Canteen staff. For details on how to set up a Flexischools account for your child, see the link here.

Useful Links

The Department of Health has posted several publications here:

NSW Health FAQs:

Guidance on Home Isolation:

Department of Education, Skills and Employment COVID-19 Page:

Federal Government Guidance:

The World Health Organisation’s advice for the public can be found here:

The Australian Government has a dedicated COVID-19 Health Information Line, which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week: 1800 020 080