As you may already be aware, recent advice from the Health Departments of both the Queensland State Government and the Australian Government indicates that cases of COVID-19 are spiking in most states and territories across the country.
The rise of a new BA.2 sub-variant to the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus has significantly altered the public health landscape. BA.2 is estimated to be 25% more transmissible than the initial Omicron strain1, and is leading to a substantial rise in daily case numbers. The increase in transmissibility and the change in the nature of the virus, coupled with the relaxing of some counter-measures including the wearing of masks, make it challenging for many people and service-oriented organisations, including schools, to operate while effectively prioritising the health of staff, students and the broader community.
Here at Faith Lutheran College, the continual wellbeing of our students and our staff is our top priority, and we are committed to doing whatever we can to minimise the risk and impact that COVID-19 has on our students and their families.
With this in mind, the Senior Leadership Team have held a number of discussions regarding the increased risk that camps and overnight excursions pose to staff and students. These events are decidedly different in nature to our regular classes, with many activities that are core to our camping experiences unable to take place with appropriate observation of social distancing and other management strategies that would help to mitigate the transmission risk – a risk which is now substantially higher than it may have been just a few weeks ago.
In the interest of upholding our duty of care to our students, our staff and our College community, and to ensure that we are doing all that we can to minimise the risk of a substantial outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, the decision has been made to cancel all camps and overnight excursions for the foreseeable future. This includes the Year 7 Camp that was scheduled to take place next week.
Please be aware that this decision has not been made lightly.
A significant outbreak of the COVID-19 virus has the potential to impose forced closures upon the College, highlighted by the spike in case numbers in recent days. The consequences of further spikes in cases will have substantive and wide-reaching negative effects on the teaching and learning of all students. Due to the rolling nature of testing and isolation procedures, particularly for staff, such closures may last weeks, and, in the view of our Senior Leaders, must be prevented through pro-active decisions that reduce both the risk to individuals, and the overall likelihood of large-scale community transmission.
We understand that many students, parents and families – particularly those who are new to our Faith Lutheran College community- may be disappointed by this decision, but we wish to assure you that every effort will be made to supplant our scheduled camping activities and overnight excursions with a range of incursions and community-building experiences here at the College, where our COVID-19 mitigation strategies can be implemented with greater effect and certainty.
Thank you for your understanding in this matter, and for your continued cooperation as we work together to protect, safeguard and act as stewards for the safety and wellbeing of our entire College community.
Further information will be provided in due course regarding the plans for Year 7 next week.
Yours in Christ,
1 NSW might have a new dominant COVID-19 strain — here’s what you need to know about BA.2. (2022). Retrieved 15 March 2022, from https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-03-10/what-we-know-about-covid-omicron-sub-variant-ba2/100899980