Further to our recent communications on the Novel Coronavirus, I want to update you on this afternoon’s announcement by the New South Wales government, issued by the Ministers for Health and Education.The NSW Departments of Health and Education have recommended that any student who was in China over the past 14 days should not return to school or child care services this week, as the coronavirus’ incubation period can be as long as two weeks. Students who returned to Australia more than 14 days ago and have shown no symptoms should be able to return to school this week. The same advice applies to staff in our schools.
The NSW Government has indicated that this afternoon’s announcement, whilst not medically necessary, is a precautionary measure in line with community expectations.
There is a small number of confirmed Novel Coronavirus cases in New South Wales.
In addition and as previously advised staff and students should be excluded from work and school if they are a:
Confirmed case of Novel Coronavirus – exclusion will remain in place until they are medically cleared to return
Close contact of a confirmed case of Novel Coronavirus – exclude for 14 days since last contact with the confirmed case.
Close contact is defined as living in the same household, 15 minutes face-to-face contact with a person with confirmed coronavirus in any setting, or sharing a closed space with a person with confirmed coronavirus for more than 2 hours.
NSW Health has processes in place to identify any close contacts of cases confirmed in New South Wales. Advice about not attending school would be provided to these close contacts. The Department of Education continues to work closely with the Ministry of Health to monitor and respond to the unfolding international Novel Coronavirus situation.
In accordance with normal protocols staff and children who are unwell with respiratory illness should remain at home until symptoms resolve. Schools should continue to follow the Infection Control guidelines which are available on the website at https://education.nsw.gov.au/inside-the-department/health-and-safety/risk-management/infection-control
The school should report any suspected or confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus to the Incident Report and Support Hotline on 1800 811 523 and contact the local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055 to provide details so that the Public Health Unit can follow up as necessary.
We will continue to monitor the situation closely and keep our schools up to date on this matter.
Should you have any questions in the meantime, please contact your Director, Educational Leadership.
Deputy Secretary, School Operations and Performance
NSW Department of Education