The OER is operating based on advice from the Director of Public Health and the Department of Education and managing risks as they arise to staff and stakeholders in line with that advice.
I have had a few home educators ask whether visits will continue to be conducted.
The position of the OER as at this point in time is as follows:
- We will continue to operate as normally as possible taking all appropriate personal hygeneine and protective measures;
- Registration officers (ROs) will continue to undertake visits and will protect themselves and you by ensuring they wash their hands regularly and utilise anti-bacterial hand sanitiser and wipes. They will not shake hands or participate in any other form of touching during visits.
- We will keep visits as short as possible and you can help by having all of your evidence ready and available for discussion.
- We would appreciate it if you could ensure that your children understand in advance that the RO cannot participate in any activities that require them to be physically close with the children.
If you are in quarantine as a result of travel or because someone in your household is a close contact of a confirmed case and have a visit within 14-21 days of that happening, please contact and let us know.
If anyone in your family has a cold, cough or fever, and you are due for a visit, please let us know.
If you are concerned and you do not wish to have a visit at home, we are working on a number of options for you as follows:
- You can always choose a visit in the office if you would prefer for as long as the office is open and accepting visits.
- You can talk to the office staff about how to download an app called Microsoft Teams which is an online meeting platform the office has been using (this can be done on a phone either apple or android, laptop or computer)
- You can use a different form of online communication – zoom, messenger, skype in consultation with your RO although we have found Teams to be most effective.
- As a last resort we will conduct phone visits but these will require a follow up in-person visit later in the year to confirm evidence.
Online or phone visits will take the same format as face-face visits and children are expected to be present and communicate with the RO as normal. Where possible evidence should be available to be shown to the RO over the webcam. In some circumstances you may be required to provide additional evidence by mail or email and you should be aware we will store that evidence on your individual file with your application in accordance with our personal information protection policy.
At the time the office contacts you to confirm a date and time for your visit, they will discuss the options with you and work out the most appropriate visit style for your circumstances. As you may understand, the office is under some pressure at the moment responding to this situation so I would appreciate it if you try not to contact the office to discuss a visit if you are not due for a visit yet. This situation changes so quickly that we are really focussing at the moment only on those people with visits booked or due in the next 6-8 weeks.
If you have a current visit booked we will assume you are happy to proceed with a face to face visit unless you contact the office.
I hope you are all staying safe and well in this time and enjoying your place as the experts in this area of educating your children at home and spending quality time at home with you children and families! Stay safe and together we will find a way through this and out the other end.