Daily temperature checks introduced for Mitchell Shire schools

By David Rak

Daily temperature checks will be introduced in schools across Mitchell Shire and metropolitan Melbourne as part of the Victorian Government’s effort to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Following the advice of Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, students at government schools in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will receive a temperature check every morning, with thermometers also provided to all non-government schools.

More than 14,000 non-contact infrared thermometers will be given to government, independent and Catholic schools in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, and to schools in neighbouring areas who need to undertake testing.

The Government will also provide thermometers to those early childhood education and care services who require them. 

Temperature checks will also be introduced for children from metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire who attend schools outside of these LGAs.

Operational guidance on temperature checks will be delivered to schools. If a student has a temperature of 37.5 degrees Celsius or above, schools will be required to contact parents or carers to arrange for students to return home.

Families will then be encouraged to seek testing for coronavirus or the advice of their healthcare professional who can advise on next steps.

As announced on Tuesday, students in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire enrolled in VCE and VCAL subjects, students whose parents and carers cannot work from home, and those attending local specialist schools will all return to school on Monday.

In addition, on site supervised holiday programs are available next week for vulnerable students and children of essential workers.

Schools in these areas will delay the return from holidays by a week with five pupil free days for Prep to Year 10 students next week to allow teachers and school staff to prepare for a possible return to remote learning.

 A decision about whether these year groups can safely return to face-to-face learning will be taken in the coming week and based on the advice of health experts. 

There will be no changes to term three for schools in regional Victoria other than Mitchell Shire.

Schools outside of metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will return to face-to-face schooling as scheduled on July 13.

Schools will continue to provide multiple entry points and staggered drop-off and pick-ups where necessary, to reduce the number of adults gathering around school grounds at any one time. 

Education Minister James Merlino said the State Government were making sure vulnerable students and those in the final stages of their education remain engaged in face-to-face learning.

“Daily temperature checks will help make sure unwell students stay at home and do not risk spreading coronavirus,” he said.

“I understand this is a stressful time for parents, but we are following the best medical advice and taking every possible precaution to ensure the safety of all Victorians.”