Novel Coronavirus—Information for BGGS Families and Staff

This page contains information from BGGS to all families about novel coronavirus. On this page, you can find the latest advice issued by the School, and frequently asked questions about the virus.

LATEST UPDATE: 3.30pm, 23 March 2020.

BGGS will move to remote learning from tomorrow (Tuesday 24 March)

No confirmed cases
BGGS has had no confirmed cases of COVID-19 amongst either our students or staff, however, the School suspended classes today and will move to remote learning from tomorrow.

Why did we suspend classes today?
Last night the School was advised that a parent had tested positive to coronavirus. The School was grateful that this advice was provided as soon as it was known. This parent’s daughters had been in attendance for part of last week and therefore the decision was made to close the School as a precautionary measure only whilst we sought advice from Queensland Health. It was not possible late on a Sunday evening to gather the necessary particulars and we decided to exercise ‘an abundance of caution’.

What is the current advice to BGGS from Queensland Health?
The School could resume tomorrow; there is no immediate risk to the health and wellbeing of students or staff. It is important to remember that the impacts of COVID-19 for the majority of people are similar to cold and flu symptoms, and young people in particular typically have very mild symptoms.

Should I get my daughter tested?
For information about when testing is recommended please visit: https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert

Remote learning from tomorrow
As you would be aware, it was our intention to continue as planned this week (Week 9) and move to remote learning next week (Week 10). Given this current disruption, and the likelihood of further disruption, we have made the decision to move to remote learning from tomorrow. This will allow us to provide certainty and structure for families, and learning for students, that would otherwise become increasingly difficult with more and more absences among students and staff. The School’s energies will now be primarily focused on providing remote learning experiences, and pastoral support, for our students. Teachers will be providing specific information to their classes via Minerva, the School’s online learning platform.

Will the campus be open, can my daughter come to School to collect her belongings?
Yes, your daughter may come to School to collect her belongings. Students are requested to collect their belongings by the end of Week 9.

Supervision of your daughters at School until the end of Term (Friday 3 April)
If parents require supervision for their daughters they should simply advise Student Absences each day. The School plans to be open from 8.30 am to 3.30 pm every day until the end of Term 1 for families who require this support.

Supervision of your daughters at home
The School cannot stress strongly enough our expectation that students, while engaged in remote learning at home, are to remain at home and in isolation in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and to reduce the impact on our most vulnerable citizens.

Maintaining vigilance in health and hygiene practices
Queensland Health is urging all communities to continue to be extra vigilant about health and hygiene at this time, and we cannot stress enough the importance of all in our community maintaining some simple hygiene practices that will support public health:

  • vigorous hand washing with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rubs
  • covering your nose and mouth with a tissue or flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing
  • avoiding contact with anyone who has flu-like symptoms.

LATEST UPDATE: 10.30 pm, Sunday 22 March

Late tonight the School was advised that one of our parents has tested positive for COVID-19.

Therefore, the School will be closed tomorrow while seeking the advice of Queensland Health.

Staff will be in attendance so please be assured that there will be supervision for your daughter if, particularly given this very late notice, your family requires this.

LATEST UPDATE: 12 pm, Friday 20 March

The School has made the decision to move to remote learning for the final week of Term 1, with next week (Week 9) continuing as planned. In summary:

Friday 27 March will be the last day Students attend regular classes.

Mon 30 March–Fri 3 April (Week 10)

  • Learning activities will be delivered remotely.
  • Supervision for Year 7-10 Students will be provided in the Library, if required.

Your daughter’s teachers will provide detailed information about what she will be required to complete (assessment or other) before the end of Term and very specific year level information will be sent to Years 11 and 12.

We are preparing for the likelihood of remote learning for all of Term 2, however, it is still possible that staff and students will attend School if Australia chooses to follow Singapore’s approach to containment of the coronavirus. The truth is we do not know, but we will be well prepared for both options and will update you as soon as practicable.

We are respectful of the need for decision makers such as Federal and State leaders to represent all in the Australian community and do not envy them the difficult calls they will continue to be required to make. It is important that we continue to play our part as good citizens, while understanding that our primary concern and responsibility must be to the girls and families within our own School and it is on this basis that we will continue to make decisions. There are many valid yet often differing views amongst our parents and we have been appreciative of the intelligent and respectful ways in which they have been expressed.

Throughout the School we are continuing to maintain vigilant cleaning, provide hand sanitiser to both girls and staff and enact a range of ‘social distancing’ practices, to the extent that it is possible in an environment such as ours.

If you choose to keep your daughter at home, and that is entirely your family’s decision to make based on your personal circumstances, her assessment will not necessarily be rescheduled. These are highly irregular times and with increasing absences among both girls and staff we will not be automatically rescheduling assessment if girls are away and unable to complete, except as required to meet the QCAA’s requirements for our senior students. Girls will not be unduly disadvantaged (this is a nationwide phenomenon), alternatives are possible and they can be ‘caught up’ in time. Our focus continues to be on providing meaningful academic work for the girls to go on with.

LATEST UPDATE: 5 pm, Tuesday 17 March

In line with the Federal Government’s advice that anyone entering Australia from overseas (as of midnight Sunday 15 March) must self-isolate for a period of 14 days, the School requests that any students co-habitating with such returned international travellers be kept at home.

All large gatherings for the remainder of the term have been either postponed or cancelled. Please refer to Parent Portal or the School App for specific information.

The School is following the containment approach of Queensland Health until the School decides, or is directed, to close. Please view the Chief Health Officer’s advice to independent schools.

The School is maintaining its commitment to stringent health/hygiene practices (including the employment of additional cleaners and behavioural change amongst students) and ‘social distancing’ strategies (such as live-streaming assemblies and enforcing distance in student lines).

Please see below updated Frequently Asked Questions.

The School will follow the advice of Queensland Health. It is likely the School would close for a day (or longer) to allow health authorities to conduct tracing and sanitise the campus. Parents would be kept up to date via email, SMS and the School App.

This depends on whether closure is due to a confirmed case or part of a wider government direction i.e. mass closures. In the first case, parents will be notified immediately via email and SMS and be instructed to collect their daughters as soon as possible. In the second instance, we would expect more notice will be provided such that parents and students will be aware of the closure ahead of time. Students have already been instructed to take their laptops and learning materials home each day in preparation for such a scenario.

The School will keep parents, students and staff updated via email, SMS and the School App.

As per previous advice, students with these symptoms should not attend school until they have sought medical attention and recovered.

As above, families should be vigilant in following the advice of health authorities as per Queensland Health advice.

The School requests that any student or staff member living with a returned traveller in self-isolation should remain at home and not attend school.

Since January, the School has been preparing for the possibility of closure—from IT systems, to HR requirements including supervision of our students and support for our staff, ongoing communication, security of our facilities and financial modelling. Our teaching staff have been working collectively to prepare for the delivery of education remotely.

The School has continued to direct students and staff to maintain scrupulous habits of personal hygiene, hand sanitiser has been made widely available, cleaning contractors are using hospital grade disinfectant on all surfaces, and additional cleaning staff have been engaged and are dedicated to micro daily surface cleaning.

On Friday 13 March, the Australian Government urged all Australians not to travel overseas except in essential situations.

A useful resource for you may be this week’s edition of SchoolTV, accessible via:  https://bggs.qld.schooltv.me/wellbeing_news/special-report-coronavirus

LATEST UPDATE: 3.30 pm, Monday 16 March

The Federal Government has advised that anyone entering Australia from overseas (as of midnight Sunday 15 March) must self-isolate for a period of 14 days. In addition, Australians have been advised to reconsider their need for any overseas travel and non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people are banned as of today, Monday 16 March 2020.

The School is maintaining a vigilant approach to hygiene, and ever more stringent cleaning practices. We ask families to remind their daughters to take care with handwashing, cough covering, and not sharing items such as drink bottles or lip gloss. Social distancing practices, including cancellation of non-essential School gatherings (i.e. assemblies) have also been implemented.

In addition to emails sent today concerning various activities, the School will provide an holistic update about scheduled School events tomorrow.

 

LATEST UPDATE: 4 pm, Friday 13 March

Today, the Prime Minister announced that from Monday 16 March, all non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people will be banned (e.g. sporting events, music festivals, etc). This does not include workplaces, schools, or university lectures, unless a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) is reported.

BGGS is reviewing all upcoming events of more than 500 people, and will advise on cancellations as required.

Australians have been directed to reconsider all non-essential travel abroad, with the Australian Government implementing level three travel advice for Australians travelling overseas. Please view details on the Smart Traveller website.

The School will communicate any further updates with parents and staff via email and SMS.

LATEST UPDATE: 6 pm, Wednesday 11 March 2020

The Australian Government has announced further travel restrictions. From today, anyone arriving from Italy will be required to self-isolate for 14 days from the date of their departure from Italy.

Current travel restrictions now include China, Iran, South Korea and Italy.

 

LATEST UPDATE: 12 pm, Friday 6 March 2020

BGGS continues to monitor and comply with advice of health authorities nationally and within Queensland about the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Our primary concern is to take reasonable steps to provide for the health and wellbeing of students and staff.

Therefore, in addition to steps already taken by the School in response to novel coronavirus, BGGS is preparing for the possibility of a School closure.

At this point in time, advice to BGGS families remains unchanged. However, as a precautionary measure only, all students and staff will be asked to take laptops and any other essential materials home with them today.

Should a School closure be required, we will communicate this to parents via email and SMS. All other updates will continue to be distributed to families via email, as required.

Advice for BGGS families remains that:

  • any student presenting to the Health Centre with cold/flu-like symptoms will be asked to go home, seek medical advice and not return to school until fully recovered
  • parents are asked to maintain a very conservative approach at this time and not send their daughters to school if they have any cold/flu-like symptoms.

Australian Government advice remains that:

  • anyone who has left or transited through mainland China in the last 14 days is required to isolate themselves for 14 days from the date of their departure from mainland China
  • anyone who has left or transited through Iran on or after 1 March is required to isolate themselves for 14 days from the date of their departure from Iran
  • anyone who has left or transited through South Korea on or after 5 March is required to isolate themselves for 14 days from the date of their departure from South Korea
  • anyone who has been in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus in the last 14 days is required to isolated themselves for 14 days from the date of last contact with the confirmed case.

For further information please refer to the Queensland Health Coronavirus webpage.

 

LATEST UPDATE: 3.30 pm, Thursday 5 March 2020

BGGS continues to monitor and comply with advice of health authorities nationally and within Queensland about the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Our primary concern is to take reasonable steps to provide for the health and wellbeing of students and staff. Therefore, any student presenting to the Health Centre with cold/flu-like symptoms will be asked to go home, seek medical advice and not return to school until fully recovered. Parents are asked to maintain a very conservative approach at this time and not send their daughters to school if they have any cold/flu-like symptoms.

The Australian Government has announced further travel restrictions and the School’s advice has been amended to the following:

  • anyone who has left or transited through mainland China in the last 14 days is required to isolate themselves for 14 days from the date of their departure from mainland China
  • anyone who has left or transited through Iran on or after 1 March is required to isolate themselves for 14 days from the date of their departure from Iran
  • anyone who has left or transited through South Korea on or after 5 March is required to isolate themselves for 14 days from the date of their departure from South Korea
  • anyone who has been in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus in the last 14 days is required to isolate themselves for 14 days from the date of last contact with the confirmed case.

The School will communicate updated advice with families as required, particularly in the lead up to the Easter holiday period with some of our families and staff planning to holiday overseas.

To date, one international School activity has been cancelled, and we are monitoring advice with regards to other planned activities. We will be in contact directly with families whose daughters are affected.

Additional information about the self-quarantine guidelines are listed on the Queensland Health website.

For further information please refer to the Queensland Health Coronavirus webpage.

 

LATEST UPDATE: 10 am, Wednesday 4 March 2020

BGGS continues to monitor and comply with advice of health authorities nationally and within Queensland about the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Our primary concern is to take reasonable steps to provide for the health and wellbeing of students and staff. Therefore, any student presenting to the Health Centre with cold/flu-like symptoms will be asked to go home, seek medical advice and not return to school until fully recovered. Parents are asked to maintain a very conservative approach at this time and not send their daughters to school if they have any cold/flu-like symptoms.

As you may be aware, the Australian Government has announced further travel restrictions and the School’s advice has been amended to the following:

  • any students or staff who have left or transited through mainland China in the last 14 days are required to isolate themselves for 14 days from the date of their return to Australia.
  • any students or staff who have left or transited through Iran on or after 1 March are required to isolate themselves for 14 days from the date of their return to Australia.
  • any students or staff who have been in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus in the last 14 days are required to isolated themselves for 14 days from the date of last contact with the confirmed case.

The School will communicate updated advice with families as required, particularly in the lead up to the Easter holiday period with some of our families and staff planning to holiday overseas.

To date, one international School activity has been cancelled, and we are monitoring advice with regards to other planned activities.  We will be in contact directly with families whose daughters are affected.

Additional information about the self-quarantine guidelines are listed on the Queensland Health website.

For further information please refer to the Queensland Health Coronavirus webpage.

 

LATEST UPDATE: 9 am, Wednesday 19 February 2020

We are continuing to monitor and comply with the advice of health authorities nationally and within Queensland with regards to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

All BGGS students have now returned to School, and we have appreciated Girls Grammar families’ cooperation with health authority advice relating to novel coronavirus.

The Australian Government advice remains that anyone who has visited or transited through China, or has been in contact with someone who has novel coronavirus, is required to self-quarantine. Further information about the self-quarantine guidelines are listed on the Queensland Health website.

For further information please refer to the Queensland Health Coronavirus webpage.

 

LATEST UPDATE: 7.30 pm, Wednesday 29 January 2020

The School advises that given continuing uncertainty about this new and serious virus, students who have visited China, including Hong Kong, are to remain at home for 14 days from the date of their arrival back in to Australia unless otherwise advised by the School.

Similarly, any student who has had contact with a family member/friend who has returned from China, including Hong Kong, should remain at home for 14 days from the date of contact with this person. 

Heads of House will make contact with families directly concerned to support those girls who will absent.

The School has been monitoring the advice of public health authorities and will provide updates as required on this page. Parents will be notified via email if an update is issued.

 

LATEST UPDATE: 3 pm, Tuesday 28 January 2020

The School advises that given continuing uncertainty about this new and serious virus, students who have visited Wuhan, or the Province of Hubei, or had contact with any affected areas in China are to remain at home for 14 days from the date of their arrival back in to Australia unless otherwise advised by the School.

Similarly, any student who has had contact with a family member/friend who has returned from these areas should remain at home for 14 days from the date of contact with this person. 

Heads of House will make contact with families directly concerned to support those girls who will absent.

The School has been monitoring the advice of public health authorities and will provide updates as required on this page. Parents will be notified via email if an update is issued.

 

LATEST UPDATE: 10 pm, Monday 27 January 2020

The School advises that given continuing uncertainty about this new and serious virus, students who have visited Wuhan, or the Province of Hubei, or had contact with any affected areas in China are to remain at home until Monday 10 February (unless otherwise advised by the School).

Heads of House will make contact with families directly concerned to support those girls who will absent for the first two weeks of the academic year.

The School has been monitoring the advice of public health authorities and will provide updates as required on this page. Parents will be notified via email if an update is issued.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses causing illnesses that range from the common cold to more severe diseases, such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a new strain of coronavirus that affects humans.

This is yet to be absolutely determined, but human-to-human transmission is most likely to be through direct contact with infectious patients via respiratory droplets, and contaminated objects and surfaces.

This is how other coronavirus infections, including the common cold, SARS and MERS, are transmitted between humans.

Symptoms can can include fever, flu-like symptoms (such as coughing, sore throat and headache) or difficulty breathing.

These symptoms may range from mild illness to pneumonia.

Currently, there is no specific treatment for people diagnosed with novel coronavirus, other than general supportive medical care in hospital.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends measures to reduce the general risk of acute respiratory infections by:

  • avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections
  • employing frequent hand-washing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment

People with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should always practice cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, and wash their hands).

As a precautionary measure, any student who has visited China, including Hong Kong, (or had contact with family members or friends returning from these areas) is to remain at home for 14 days from the date of their (or their friend/family member’s) arrival back in to Australia unless otherwise advised by the School. 

All students have been reminded to observe healthy hygiene practices, including hand washing or use of hand sanitiser (provided around the School), and not to share drink bottles or lip balm.

If your daughter has visited China, including Hong Kong, (or had contact with family members or friends returning from these areas) she is to remain at home for 14 days from the date of her (or their friend/family member’s) arrival back in to Australia unless otherwise advised by the School. 

Regardless of whether your daughter is symptomatic or feels fine—if she has visited China, including Hong Kong, (or had contact with family members or friends returning from these areas) she is to remain at home for 14 days from the date of her (or their friend/family member’s) arrival back in to Australia unless otherwise advised by the School. 

The School will update this page with information. Parents will receive a regular update via email as required. The School may also send notices to families via the School App, directing them to this page.

Please contact Main Reception on 07 3332 1300 to allow your query to be directed to the most appropriate staff member.