COVID-19 Health Advice for students and families

The NT has a Roadmap to the New Normal that outlines the key principles of personal responsibility, physical distancing and hygiene, which are derived from the best available evidence, applied in the context of the NT.  Stage 3 of the roadmap commenced on 5 June 2020.

The advice of Australia’s top health experts is that schools continue to be a safe and healthy environment.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness, symptoms include runny nose, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath and sometimes it includes fever. COVID-19 can spread through close contact and droplets. You can reduce the spread of COVID-19 by washing hands with soap, covering coughs and sneezes, putting tissues in the bin and practicing physical distancing, and importantly stay home when feeling unwell

Keeping children healthy at school

The easiest way to reduce the risk of viruses of any sort is to practise good hygiene:

  • Keep your hands to yourself
  • Try not to touch your face
  • Sneeze and cough into your elbow or a tissue, NEVER into the air
  • Regularly wash your hands with soap, properly for 20 seconds, including:
    • When you enter the school or classroom;
    • before you eat or touch your face;
    • after playing outside or with other people or animals; and
    • after going to the toilet.
  • Don’t suck your fingers, pencils or other things
  • Don’t share food or drink bottles
  • Spread out and avoid close contact with others
  • Use hand sanitiser before and after sharing things like laptops, iPads and toys.
  • Keep sick children at home.  It is more important than ever to do this.
  • Stay 1.5 metres away from others when doing pick up and drop off
  • If you do enter the school:
    • follow all the directions from the school regarding physical distancing and hygiene;
    • wash your hands with soap or hand sanitiser on entry;
    • bring your own hygiene products (hand sanitiser, tissues, etc) and water bottle.
  • Practise and show children good hygiene
  • Download the Australian Government COVIDSafe app on your phone.
  • Monitor coronavirus.nt.gov.au for up to date information
  • Talk to your child about what is happening, remain calm and reassuring. Help your child feel informed so they understand what is happening.

How families can help the school community to stay healthy

  • Keep sick children at home.  It is more important than ever to do this.
  • Stay 1.5 metres away from others when doing pick up and drop off
  • If you do enter the school:
    • follow all the directions from the school regarding physical distancing and hygiene;
    • wash your hands with soap or hand sanitiser on entry;
    • bring your own hygiene products (hand sanitiser, tissues, etc) and water bottle.
  • Practise and show children good hygiene
  • Download the Australian Government COVIDSafe app on your phone.
  • Monitor coronavirus.nt.gov.au for up to date information
  • Talk to your child about what is happening, remain calm and reassuring. Help your child feel informed so they understand what is happening.

How can schools stay healthy

Schools have adopted rigorous new measures to ensure they are safe and healthy environments. Measures that are in place at your school might include the following:

  • Continuing to limit the number of visitors in schools, and ensuring visitors practice good physical distancing and hygiene.
  • Taking a cautious approach to large events, and ensuring that any large events are carefully planned and managed to ensure the safety and wellbeing of staff, students and others.
  • Many schools will continue to deliver events in different ways, including online assemblies, reading announcements over PA systems, delivering awards in class, and holding smaller events.
  • Children may be asked to stay in designated areas in the playground and avoid close contact with each other
  • Extra care is being taken to clean the school every afternoon, and to wipe surfaces regularly, including door handles, desks, computers, phones and touch screens
  • Students are being encouraged to increased space between each other where possible, for example, by placing markings on the floor and increasing the space between desks and chairs
  • Students are being encouraged to maintain 1.5m distance when entering or leaving a classroom, and when getting on the bus
  • Water fountains/bubblers have been shut off, or are only being used to refill water bottles.

Check with your child’s school to find out more about the specific measures they are taking.

How can teachers help children stay healthy

Teachers have adopted a range of new practices to keep schools and classrooms safe and healthy. Measures that your child’s teacher might be implementing include:

  • Encouraging anyone who is feeling unwell, even with mild symptoms, to stay at home.
  • Making sure there is plenty of hand sanitiser and soap in the class
  • Showing children good hand washing skills
  • Encouraging children to wash hands with soap often and properly
  • Showing children how to cover a sneeze or a cough
  • Arranging desks so that your class is spread out
  • Organising learning activities that don’t require close contact
  • Cleaning shared things like laptops, iPads, toys and desks, and limit use of shared objects like pencils
  • Holding lessons outside in areas with better ventilation
  • Talking to students about what is happening, remain calm and reassuring. Help them feel informed so they understand what is happening.

Check with you child’s teacher for more information about the measures being taken in their classroom.

For further information

  • Contact your school
  • Seek updates at www.coronavirus.nt.gov.au
  • Contact the national COVID-19 health information hotline: 1800 020 080 (24 hours a day, seven days a week)
  • Contact your local GP or Community Health Centre
  • Follow the Education NT Facebook page
  • Download the Australian Government COVIDSafe app in the Apple App Store or Google Play
  • Join the Coronavirus Australia WhatsApp channel on iOS or Android.

Mental health support

Such a large scale event can take a toll on our mental health. During these challenging times it is important to remember that you are not alone and there is always someone available to speak to if you are struggling. There are a number of support services you can reach out to, including:

Last updated: 02 July 2020

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