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School operations

COVID-19 — Health, Wellbeing and Inclusion Workforces

HWIW service provision in Victorian government schools

Introduction

This guidance provides advice on how Health, Wellbeing and Inclusion Workforces (HWIW) provide services to schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. HWIW will continue to provide support to schools, students, and parents/carers, including through their work with regional staff.

Services will be delivered both remotely and onsite, depending on current advice from the Victorian Chief Health Officer, to ensure that essential services that are required onsite can still be delivered in schools and on operational requirements and the service that needs to be provided.

As the COVIDSafe guidance for service delivery, onsite attendance and work permits may change regularly, HWIW staff should ensure that they access the current corporate guidance (staff login required) and School Operations Guide (staff login required).

Consent arrangements

Where existing processes require consent for providing a health and wellbeing service directly to a student, schools should seek parent/carer (or mature minor/adult student) consent for these services in the usual way. If the service is to be provided remotely, the school should seek further consent to provide remote services using the consent form for student access to remote DET health and wellbeing supports (staff login required).

Where existing processes do not require consent, schools do not need to seek permission for remote delivery but should provide general information to parents/carers about how one-to-one wellbeing supports will be delivered.

On-site service provision

Any on-site visits must be undertaken in accordance with the HWIW working in schools during COVID-19 OHS guide and the school’s COVIDSafe Plan. This includes signing in using a QR code, adhering to density limits, wearing face masks, practicing good hand hygiene and physical distancing. Staff should not attend on-site if unwell.

All Department staff are required to have completed the eLearn module School infection prevention and control during COVID-19 (staff login required).

Supporting concerned or worried staff

The Department is following the advice of the Victorian Chief Health Officer and is committed to ensuring the health and safety of everyone working in a school.

The Department has developed additional OHS guidance for HWIW that outlines steps HWIW can take to protect their safety.

In the first instance, staff should discuss any concerns with their line manager.

The Department is committed to providing support that is relevant to the current circumstances, and help address and manage staff health, safety, and wellbeing needs.

Existing support services remain available to staff, including the Employee Assistance Program which provides 24/7, free, confidential counselling for Department staff and their immediate family (18 years and over). To book, call 1300 361 008 or use the live chat function on the Lifeworks Australia website.

The ‘Staying Safe and Well’ webinar series is available for all staff and covers topics such as recharging your batteries, safeguarding against burnout and switching on your growth mindset. Recordings and tip sheets are also available for past sessions.

Please visit the Health and Wellbeing Webinars intranet page (staff login required) to learn more about these supports.

A range of other resources to support the health and wellbeing staff can be found on the COVID-19 Health, Safety and Wellbeing Supports (staff login required) page.

Keeping assessment materials and shared resources clean

Good hand hygiene, physical distancing and wearing a face mask is considered the best approach to reduce transmission of COVID-19 through shared resources and materials. Staff should continue to utilise current practices to maintain hygiene with shared equipment and resources. All staff and students are encouraged to use hand sanitiser and wash hands regularly throughout the day. All equipment and resources should be cleaned with sanitising wipes before and after use.

To support HWIW when they are working on-site in schools, the Department has developed additional OHS guidance for HWIW that outlines steps HWIW can take to protect their safety.

Secure electronic information and record keeping

When working remotely, HWIW must access and store all records securely in line with the Department’s Records Management Policy (staff login required). This applies to both hard copy and electronic records, and HWIW must ensure that all records are protected to the extent required by the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic). All health records created by Department employees remain the property of the Department.

Remote service provision

Schools must seek specific consent for health and wellbeing services to be delivered remotely to students via this form: Consent for student access to remote DET health and wellbeing supports (staff login required).

Health and wellbeing services may be delivered via telephone or video conference, and should be conducted in a private and uninterrupted space.

The mode of delivery must be in accordance with the parent/carer’s consent. HWIW staff should use Webex as the Department’s preferred platform when using video conference, and ensure the following:

  • sessions are not recorded – staff should use usual note taking processes where possible
  • the meeting has all access controls locked down to prevent uninvited people from joining.

Where there are concerns about one-on-one engagement, staff may arrange to have another adult present, for example, another staff member or parent/carer.

Guidance chapter on HWIW service provision in Victorian government schools

Reviewed 22 October 2021

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