​Monday 16 March 2020

Monday 16 March 2020,

Update from the Principal's Office in response to the Prime Minister’s briefing issued at 1.30pm yesterday afternoon so that parents are aware of the arrangements at Somerville House.

The following aspects have been confirmed by the Prime Minister:

  • Schools will continue to remain open, acting on the advice of health authorities in relation to any identified COVID-19 cases.
  • All international travellers must self-isolate on arrival in Australia for the 14-day quarantine period.
  • Social distancing will be used as a key measure to contain the spread of the virus.
  • Mass gatherings of 500+ people are not to be held
  • Non-essential gatherings must be questioned whether necessary, considering health issues.

In recent days we have seen the continued spread of COVID-19 around the world and here in Australia. The guidance we are receiving from the Queensland Health Department continues to emphasise good personal hygiene practices, as well as minimising close contact among groups of people, as means of restraining the spread of COVID-19.

What does this mean for school activities at Somerville House?

Assemblies will be live-streamed to classrooms.  There will be no whole school, year level or house group assemblies.

  • Apart from reducing all large gatherings, from today (Monday 16 March) we will educate and implement the following strategies with our students in classes:
  • Practise social distancing measures, whenever possible, by staying 1.5m away from others.
  • Avoid kissing, hugging, shaking hands and other forms of contact.
  • Avoid visiting any people in aged care facilities or hospitals, or people who have compromised immune systems due to illness or medical treatment.
  • Collaborative style of group work will cease from today.
  • Distance will be placed between desks, where possible, to observe the social distancing measures.

How do we educate our students about good hygiene?

  • Good hand, sneeze and cough hygiene posters are around the School, in bathrooms and at every sink.
  • Reminders to regularly wash hands with soap or use the hand sanitizers which are available in every classroom.
  • Demonstrate to students how to cover their mouth with their elbow or a tissue when coughing or sneezing, with immediate disposal of used tissues.
  • Avoid touching your face and mouth.

What should parents do if their son/daughter is unwell?

  • Unwell students must remain at home and seek medical advice. Students cannot return to school until s/he has fully recovered.
  • If your child or a family member has taken a COVID-19 test, your child must remain at home until the test result is known. Please inform the School with the test result outcome.
  • Please use the standard absence email/phone line to advise of absence, with relevant detail if waiting on COVID-19 results.

What should parents do if their son/daughter has compromised health, regardless of COVID 19?

  • Parents should consult medical professionals about the suitability of your daughter attending school in this climate.
  • If parents are concerned and have medical advice to remain at home, please contact: 
    • Junior School - class teacher or Assistant to the Principal-Pastoral Care
    • Senior School - Head of Year or Dean of Student Wellbeing.
  • Every effort will be made to contact you over the next week, to discuss your daughter’s circumstances, and the academic measures available to assist your daughter.

What is happening to events scheduled on the School calendar?

  • Information as to whether the event is proceeding/cancelled/postponed will be advised on a case-by-case basis.
  • Notification will be issued by a variety of channels – including email, the Somerville House app, social media channels, Honour Roll newsletter and the website.

What will happen to our Co-Curricular events?

  • A decision about the QGSSSA fixtures is imminent.  Andrews Cup events have been cancelled or postponed.
  • Parents are asked to monitor our various communication channels for relevant information.