COVID-19 Support at St Edward's College
During this time of uncertainty we wish to be able to provide support to our community. We understand that you may be overwhelmed with information that is available and not sure what applies to you.
Here you will find tips and support for your children and entire family. The aim is to maintain our ethos at the moment which is SCUP; Safety, Cooperation, Understanding and Patience.
We are constantly updating this page as we receive new guidance from the Health Authorities.
St Edward's COVID-19 Liaison Officer
Ms Leanda Keith
Any staff member (educator/ administration staff/ other) or child who feels unwell or has any symptoms should not attend school. This is likely to be the single most important measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (and influenza) in the school community and keep all safe.
Many children with COVID-19 do display symptoms, with the most common of these being fever and cough. Other symptoms include tiredness, sore throat, runny / blocked nose, headache, muscle pain and loss of smell and taste. Vomiting and diarrhoea are also important symptoms that are also more common in children. A percentage of children are also asymptomatic, thus the importance of the other mitigation measures implemented in schools to minimize spread.
Current information on the transmission of COVID-19 has shown that transmission amongst school children is low and that children are more likely to contract COVID-19 from a household member or from an adult rather than from another child. One should be increasingly wary to suspect COVID-19 if a child has an adult household member who also has symptoms of acute respiratory illness.
College has been a hive of activity all summer. For the moment I wish to bring you up-to-date on some matters.
We had a fair idea as to what the new COVID Protocols would be and have been planning accordingly. Yesterday, at the SMT meeting, we refined our planning and incorporated the protocols as issued this past week by PH and the Dept’ of Ed’.
Please remember that the following are in place in order for us to lessen the risk of COVID 19 at college.
I know there will be requests for exceptions, indeed the rational of the following will be challenged, but, let us start with understanding and cooperation in an effort to provide as safe an environment as possible for us all.
New parents will be provided with information, apart from this document, as to what ‘same as last year’ means.
Start and End of Day.
- We will have the same regime in place,
- temperature checks,
- disinfectant mats,
- allocated areas for each year group,
- Staggered dismissal times,
- Going to lessons in the morning – students will go to their designated area and will be led to the first lesson in a staggered manner,
- Quarantine areas.
As per the directive issued this past week by the Department of Education - all students are to report physically at college. The only exceptions are when we receive a mandated quarantine certificate or directive from PH.
- Summer uniform as per usual for each section.
- Winter uniform as per this past year, St Edward’s tracksuit with the exception of IB who will wear their normal uniforms
- Footwear (Winter)
- Nursery and KG students – white trainers
- Early years (Year 1 & 2) and Junior – black shoes and change into trainers once in college.
- Middle and Senior – white trainers.
- IB – as per uniform regulation.
Sickness – a cold, cough, flu, dental or other appointments.
- Students will need a doctors cert’ to be readmitted.
- If called by the college to inform you that your child is ill please come to collect him/her as quickly as possible.
- Do not send your child to college if you believe him/her to be sick.
- You will receive a complete updated ‘Orientation Pack’ for Early Years and Junior School this week. Orientation Packs for Middle, Senior and IB remain the same. (New parents will receive shortly).
- The mask colour that your child had this last year will be the same in their new year, (mask and child move up a year). If you do not have the correct colour please ensure that you provide your child with disposable masks. Year colours will be available from the college.
Boxes/containers for student materials/resources/books.
- We will continue with the same procedures as last year. Each student will need to bring their own container.
Above are the main questions that have come from our community.
Last year we managed the situation, with the understanding and cooperation of staff, students and parents, in an exemplary way. We will do the same this year.
Looking forward to seeing all children at college, Safe and Sane!
Nollaig Mac An Bhaird
Guidelines to the educational sector for
and Tertiary Institutions in Malta and
Click Here for Document
General principles that we have adopted:
- Sick students, teachers and staff will not be allowed at school. Please see our sick policy for COVID-19 below
- Students who fall ill during school hours will be placed in isolation.
- Windows and doors will remain open throughout the day to allow for cross ventilation.
- Regular handwashing with water and soap will be carried out and timetabled.
- Spray bottles will be available in every classroom, teachers will spray the desks and chairs and the children will wipe them down after every lesson or as appropriate.
- Classrooms and surfaces will be disinfected daily including but not limited to railings, bannisters, toys, sports equipment, switches, doorknobs, tables and chairs etc.
- Sanitisers have been placed in all entrances of the buildings.
- Students must bring their own sanitiser to be used in class. It has to be labelled and needs to remain in the classroom in the boy’s box.
- Parents are not allowed to enter the school premises at all times with the exception of Nursery and Kindergarten parents as explained below.
- Before entering the College, staff and children`s temperature is taken (see below).
- Parents` meetings will be strictly online.
- All HW will be given and handed in online.
- Events that create crowds are cancelled. Assemblies will be carried out online.
- The use of toys, books and resources will be limited to a “bubble”.
- All visitors including deliveries will sign in and out giving clear contact details.
- Junior School library – teachers will bring a set of books to the classroom. Once the class is finished with the books, these books will be quarantined before they are put back on the shelves.
It is our policy to provide a healthy and safe environment for staff and children. We expect all staff to follow these procedures at all times.
- Our College is unable to accept children who are unwell or with any infectious disease. Students who show any type of symptoms will be sent home immediately.
- Sick children must be kept at home. Parents are requested to keep their children away from school and must present a clearance certificate from their doctor to be able to return to school regardless of the number of days the student was away from school.
- If a child becomes ill at school, we will take every step possible to contact the parents/guardians. If this is not possible, we will call individuals listed on the Child Collection Form or listed as emergency contacts on the application forms. If we cannot reach anyone, we will take responsible measures to care for the child. He/she will be seen by the College nurse and kept in a quiet area away from the other children with a known carer until the parents are reached and arrive to collect the child.
- The College nurse is permitted to give medicines, upon written instruction from a parent/guardian. These instructions must be certified by a doctor. Medicines will be kept in a safe place in the nurse’s first aid room and must be handed to the nurse by the parent/guardian. Teachers are not permitted to administer medicines.
Sickness policy if we encounter a possible COVID+ student/member of staff at College.
- We will take no risks, if a child or a member of staff shows any signs of illness, they will be isolated in designated areas immediately.
- Legally we are obliged to first inform the Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Unit if we suspect that the illness might be infectious and follow their guidelines.
- Secondly, we will inform the parents/guardians to take the child for a swab if this is recommended by the Public Health Authorities.
- The Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Unit will inform us and parents if the result is positive.
- From our end, we have the names of all children in the class of the child with contact details of the parents and also teachers who taught the child on that day.
- Should the need arise, contact tracing will be carried out by the Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Unit.
- The name of the child/member of staff will be kept strictly confidential at all times until such information is verified by the unit and guidance is received from the same unit.
- The student/member of staff will be expected to stay at home for 14 days (7 if vaccinated) and return to College on the date stipulated by the Health Authorities.
- The isolation area and class where the sick student/member of staff has been will be disinfected.
- In the meantime, when possible, notes and HW will still be sent to the student.
What to do as a parent/member of staff if someone in the same household tests positive:
If a family member tests positive for the virus, as a parent/guardian/member of staff be sure to inform the College immediately.
As per the instructions given by the Health Authority, all persons living in the same household will be in quarantine and the child/member of staff will not be able to attend school until the person in question gets clearance by the Infectious Diseases Prevention and Control Unit.
SEC COVID-19 FAQs
Who should I contact at St Edwards if I have any questions regarding COVID 19?
You are free to call Ms Keith, the SEC COVID Liaison Officer on 993 53569 who will be happy to try and help.
Should I worry about my child getting COVID 19?
The chance of a child getting seriously ill from COVID 19 virus is very low. Most children who get the virus have mild symptoms, fever, runny nose or cough, or no symptoms at all.
What happens if my child is confirmed to have COVID-19 and we are instructed by the Public Health Authorities to remain indoors and are placed in mandatory quarantine. Who will certify when my child can return to school?
As a confirmed case of COVID-19 your child will be placed in mandatory quarantine for at
least 2 weeks or 7 days if fully vaccinated, as instructed by the Public Health Authorities. The Public Health team will provide documentation that can be passed on to the school. Your child can return to school with no other measures to be considered once s/he is recovered. A separate doctor’s certificate is not required in this case.
Can I leave mandatory quarantine?
You can only leave mandatory quarantine if you have an appointment for a swab test. You may not leave mandatory quarantine for any other reason.
What do we need to be ready to quarantine?
- Food and Water – including food that doesn’t need to be refrigerated.
- Food your family likes when unwell.
- Medicines and enough prescription medicines you might be taking.
- Household supplies – shampoo, soap, paper towels etc.
- A thermometer
- Cleaning supplies – spray for disinfecting door handles, surfaces etc.
- Spare masks.
If a person in my child’s class has been identified as a positive case of COVID-19, will the whole class need to remain in quarantine for 2 weeks?
When a positive case is found within a school, a risk assessment is performed by Public Health in conjunction with the COVID Liaison Officer of the school. This risk assessment is based on many factors, whether an adult or a child is the positive case, the age of the children in the classroom, whether the positive person had symptoms and the duration and proximity of contact between children amongst others factors. Following this assessment, it will be determined who needs to go into quarantine. This could range from nobody, to a few students in close contact to the whole class if necessary. It is difficult to give a definite answer since this depends on these various factors. When a person is placed in mandatory quarantine, the household members would also need to remain in quarantine for the same period of time. School Management and the COVID Liaison Officers of each school have been provided the Contact Tracing Protocol for them to be in a better position to advise parents and staff accordingly.
My child was a close contact of a person diagnosed with COVID-19 and as a result, Public Health Authorities have placed us in mandatory quarantine. What certification do I need to show to the school?
Persons who are identified as close contacts of positive cases are generally placed in mandatory quarantine together with their households. When they are contacted by Public Health, a Quarantine letter is issued with a start and an end date of quarantine. This letter can be presented to the school to certify the absence. The child can return to school on the day after the end of quarantine has been set and no additional measures or precautions are necessary.
What should I do if my child gets sick at home?
If you notice that your child is unwell whilst at home or has been sent home from school, it is recommended that you seek the advice of your doctor. According to the information provided, the doctor will decide on what further action is necessary including on whether your child should be booked for a swab test or not
What happens if the child’s symptoms get worse or the symptoms change after initial consultation with a doctor?
If your child is not recovering from illness as your doctor expected, you should get in touch with your doctor again so that the situation can be re-evaluated.
What should I do if my child is found to have fever on screening at the school entrance?
If your child is sent home for having an elevated screening temperature on arrival at school but has no other symptoms and is otherwise well, inform your doctor and keep your child at home and take their temperature every 6 hours without giving them any medicines which lower their temperature (such as paracetamol or ibuprofen). If after 24 hours your child has no fever, your doctor can certify your child well to attend school the next day. If he/she develops any symptoms discuss the next steps to be taken with your doctor.
What number do I call to book a swab test?
Call 111 to book an appointment at one of the swabbing hubs. Alternatively, you may click on www.covidtest.gov.mt. If you receive a call from an unknown or unfamiliar number, please answer as it may be the Contact Tracing Team trying to call you.
Do I need a doctor’s certificate each time my child is away from school unwell?
Yes, even for one day. In the present situation we need to be assured that returning pupils are fit and healthy. If pupils have allergies and are prone to sneezing, a certificate to that effect from the doctor reassures the teacher and saves having to constantly check temperatures etc. If your child is unwell and not able to attend to school please contact the class teacher or Head of Section so arrangements for online learning can be made, if necessary. For phone and email details for Heads of Section go to the school website www.stedwards.edu.mt click on “Our Story” and then on “Our Team”.
Does my child have to wear a mask at school?
All pupils above the age of 3 have to wear a mask at school at all times except when they are eating and when they are involved in a strenuous physical activity. Staff, at their discretion, are able to give pupils the occasional short “mask break” outdoors, provided they are all distanced from each other and sitting quietly.
Does my son or daughter need to wear a mask on the School Bus?
Pupils are required to use the hand sanitiser provided by the driver, sit in the same place on the bus each time they travel, and wear their seat belts as well as their masks.
Can my child wear a visor instead of a mask at school?
Visors can be worn as well as masks but not instead of because visors are felt to be less effective than masks.
How does the virus spread?
You can catch COVID-19 from somebody who is infected, even if they have no symptoms, who is sneezing and coughing, sending tiny droplets into the air, which can land in your nose, mouth or on something nearby. You might also breathe in these tiny particles that contain the virus. These can stay in the air for up to three hours. We can also be infected if we touch these particles, which can be left on almost any surface and then touch your mouth, nose or eyes.
What are the signs and symptoms of COVID -19?
People with the COVID-19 virus can have a fever, cough and trouble breathing. They might also have a cold, runny nose, sore throat, chills, muscle pain, headache, loss of taste or smell, nausea or vomiting, diarrhoea and tiredness. Young people are likely to exhibit minor symptoms.
Can someone who’s infected spread the virus if they don’t have symptoms?
The virus spreads more easily when an infected person has symptoms but it can also spread before symptoms start. It can take 2 to 14 days after someone is exposed, before symptoms show up.
How can we protect ourselves from COVID-19?
- Avoid large crowds and busy places as much as possible.
- Stay at least 2 metres from people you don't live with. COVID-19 can spread before a person has symptoms and even when someone has no symptoms.
- Adults and children over 3 years should wear a mask when going o
- Wash your hands well and often, for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or use hand sanitizer with at least 70% alcohol.
- Try not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Use a household cleaner or wipe to clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that people touch a lot such as door handles, light switches etc.
When should we wash our hands?
- before eating and cooking
- after using the bathroom
- after cleaning around the house
- after touching animals including family pets
- before and after taking care of any sick friends or relatives
- after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
- after being outside playing, gardening, walking the dog etc.
Why is hand washing so important?
Hand washing is by far the best way to keep children, and ourselves, from getting sick and preventing the spread of germs.
What should I do if I, or my partner, become sick?
As a general rule, if someone is sick at home, but your child has absolutely no symptoms, then he/she can attend school normally unless otherwise instructed by the doctor.
Is it safe to go outdoors out of school?
It is important for us all to get fresh air and exercise but children should not go on play dates and sleepovers, join in group activities where they cannot social distance or use public play equipment.
Can I send in a cake for birthdays, whole or in individually wrapped portions?
Cakes and treats may be brought to school but they have to be individually sealed.
Is it safe for my children to be collected from school by their grandparents and for the children to be cared for by them whilst I am at work?
Taking care of children who come into regular contact with other children does carry an increased risk, since children do have multiple contacts in different settings and bubbles. It is important that if grandparents are going to be caring for school-aged children for a number of hours a day, extra precautions should be taken since older people and those with chronic illnesses are more likely to be severely affected if they are infected. Never leave children in the care of grandparents if they exhibit any symptoms of being sick. Masks should be worn by grandparents if they are driving children to/from school. If they care for them for any prolonged time they should avoid unnecessary close contact, maintain social distancing as much as possible and wear masks at all times. Rooms should be adequately ventilated by opening the windows and/or spending time outdoors if possible. Both the children and the grandparents should be careful to adopt very good hand and respiratory hygiene.
Should we, as a family, travel abroad during the holidays?
We, as a College, have no requirements for families who decide to travel abroad during the holidays other than should a member or members of the family develop COVID symptoms. However, please note the details below.
What if somebody in my family has come back to Malta from abroad?
Information regarding travel directives regarding the pandemic is available on www.visitmalta.com. We strongly recommend that a PCR/rapid test is carried out before return to College.
Please note that these lists may be updated with very short notice.