COVID-19 FAQS for ethics volunteers

For the latest advice from the Department of Education re COVID-19, visit:

The basics – term 1 2022

Schools are operating with a number of ‘COVID-smart measures’ that have been developed with NSW Health to minimise transmission of the coronavirus and keep schools open.

These key measures include:

  • ensuring all staff on school sites are fully vaccinated against COVID-19
  • maximising ventilation
  • use of rapid antigen tests by students and teachers [scroll down for further info on this]
  • encouraging regular hand washing and continuing enhanced cleaning of schools
  • assessing high risk activities and applying appropriate safeguards.

Vaccination

  • All staff and volunteers must be fully vaccinated and are expected to access their booster shot when they become eligible.
  • All ethics personnel will be required to show evidence of vaccination status to the school before they can commence work on a school site.
  • No one is to attend school if unwell, even with mild symptoms.

All Primary Ethics volunteers are required by the Department of Education to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and are expected to get their booster shot when eligible. Allow two weeks after your second dose of vaccine before going into a school.

You will need your vaccination certificate with you on school grounds. Most people carry these on their smartphone, either in the Medicare app or in the Service NSW app. You can also carry a non-digital version.

Teaching in masks

From Monday 28 February, it is not mandatory for teachers and students in secondary schools to wear a mask.

From Monday 7 March, it is not mandatory for teachers in primary schools to wear a mask.

You will be supported to wear a mask if you choose to do so after these dates.

Check-ins

All staff and visitors must check in when attending a school site.

From Monday 28 February, schools no longer need to keep students in their class or year group cohorts, though some schools might keep this system till term 2. Ethics Coordinators at schools where cohorting has strongly impacted on ethics class composition might want to revisit this with the school SEE Coordinator.

  • You should try to maintain 1.5 metre distance where possible and to teach outside or to make sure doors and windows are open for good ventilation where possible.

Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs)

The Department of Education has told us that: The use of rapid antigen tests by volunteers before visiting a school is encouraged, but not mandatory. From Monday 28 February, schools have moved to a policy of ‘symptomatic testing’ so RATs are advised only if the person going to a school has symptoms.

  • If you have any Covid-like symptoms, stay home (even if you take a RAT and it is negative).  
  • If you have no symptoms, it is up to you whether you take a RAT before attending to teach ethics. 
  • Schools do not have to supply tests for volunteer visitors. 
  • If as a volunteer you want to take a test (bearing in mind that they are not mandatory or protective and that your personal protection comes through vaccination, masking, hand hygiene and following the distancing protocols), you will need to source your own. 
  • Some people will be eligible to get free tests – find out if you are here >> 
  • This website can help you find RATs in your area (we realise they can be hard to find) >> 
  • Please contact your coordinator or the Primary Ethics Helpdesk if you need support or further information. 

Using resources in the ethics class

Lesson resources such as handouts cannot be shared between students (in order to cut the risk of transmission of the coronavirus). You will need to give more time to lesson preparation in order to think through how you will use resources in your lesson. We have prepared some tips here >>