COVID-19 and your immersion

 

 

Red Earth COVID-19 Policy

 

Updated 05/05/2022

 

This policy is in place to protect travelling students, teachers, Red Earth staff and community partners. Red Earth has consulted with State or Territory Governments and relevant statutory bodies to ensure we are following all recommendations and are adhering to restrictions that are in place in each region at the time of travel.

Red Earth has developed this policy so that we can continue to connect Australians with remote Indigenous Australia in the safest possible way. Protecting the communities and homelands with whom we work is our primary concern and has guided the development of this policy.

Red Earth has completed all requirements legislated by State and Territory Governments to continue operation. Through this process Red Earth has completed:

  • Queensland Outdoor Education Providers and Tourism & Accommodation Industry COVID Safe Plan
  • Northern Territory COVID-19 Safety Checklist
  • South Australia COVID-Safe Plan
  • NSW COVID-19 Safety Plan
  • COVID19 CLEAN Practicing Business Accreditation

Red Earth has reviewed and updated our policies and procedures in accordance with all recommendations and requirements as set out in the COVID Safe Plans and accreditations. Red Earth has developed a comprehensive risk assessment policy for all COVID-19 related risks to best inform safe practices on an immersion. Red Earth Leaders have been trained in the updated policies and procedures to best mitigate the associated risks for participants.

 

 

Before Your Immersion

Prior to each immersion, Red Earth will supply the travelling group with a copy of the Red Earth COVID-19 Policy, outlining the responsibilities of all participants immediately prior to and during the immersion.

Red Earth strongly recommends parents/guardians obtain a COVID-19 insurance policy prior to attending the immersion. 

Participants (students, teachers & leaders) will not be permitted to attend a Red Earth immersion if:

  • They do not meet the entry requirements of the State or Territory Government and statutory bodies relevant to the region in which they are travelling; or
  • They are not fully vaccinated and ‘up to date’ with their COVID-19 vaccinations as defined by the relevant Federal, State or Territory Governments and statutory bodies at the time of travel; or
  • They have returned from overseas in the 7 days before the start date of their immersion (excluding government travel bubbles); or
  • They have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the 7 days before the start of their immersion; or
  • They are experiencing fever, flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat, fatigue, or shortness of breath in the 7 days before the start of their immersion and they have not tested negative to COVID-1

Travelling teachers at the airport will be responsible for ensuring any student with COVID-19 symptoms who has not been cleared by a medical professional does not board the plane.

 

IMPORTANT: Testing requirement

In addition, all participants & Red Earth staff will be required to undertake two COVID-19 tests prior to travelling. Tests are to be carried out:

  • 3 days prior to departure,
    • PCR test, or
    • RAT test, if individual has a registered case of Covid-19 within the 12 weeks prior to travel; and
  • On the day of departure,
    • RAT test

 

Red Earth will notify participants & Red Earth staff of the type of tests required based on current restrictions and rules from State Governments and relevant statutory bodies. Once tested, participants are encouraged to limit their contact with people outside their family or social bubble.

 


Red Earth will supply schools with a statutory declaration and will require travelling teachers to sight a signed declaration form for each student within 24 hours of departure confirming that all participants:

  • Have been fully vaccinated and hold ‘up-to-date’ COVID-19 status as defined by the relevant Federal, State or Territory Governments and statutory bodies at the time of travel; and
  • Have been tested and obtained the required tests showing a negative result for COVID-19 within the outlined period prior to the start date of the immersion; and
  • Have not returned from overseas in the 7 days before the start date of their immersion (excluding government travel bubbles); and
  • Have not been consider a close contact in the 7 days before the start of their immersion; and
  • Have not experienced fever, flu-like symptoms such as a dry cough, sore throat, fatigue, or shortness of breath in the 7 days before the start of their immersion.

Participants who are not able to join the immersion for any of the above reasons will have a partial refund available to them through Red Earth’s Standard Cancellation Policy and/or their school’s domestic travel insurance policy and/or a private insurance policy. 

Participants will be required to bring two Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) as part of the compulsory immersion packing list.

Prior to the groups arrival, Red Earth makes available Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) to the hosting homelands.

 

 

During Your Immersion

Airport Departure

All students and school staff will be required to follow government- and airline-imposed restrictions regarding social distancing and mask wearing while at their airport of origin and while in transit to their destination airport.

Upon arriving at the destination airport, participants will be met by a Red Earth representative. The representative will have masks and hand sanitiser available for the group during their immersion.  All participants are required to bring their own masks and Rapid Antigen Test (RAT), as per the Red Earth packing list.

Transit

  • Upon arriving at the airport, all participants will be required to socially distance and wear a facemask for the duration of the plane journey
  • Participants will be required to wash or sanitise their hands regularly throughout their transit
    • Accompanying adults will be required to ensure students socially distance where possible and regularly wash or sanitise their hands
  • While travelling in private buses or vehicles, participants will be required to wear a facemask
    • Participants will be required to wear a facemask during transit when entering roadhouses, stores, or public places
  • All vehicles used through the immersion will be cleaned with ADSAN LN1856 Virucidal Disinfectant and Sanitiser as per the COVID-19 cleaning guidelines prior to and after each journey

 

Camping & Catering

Once the group has departed their destination airport, the group will be contained to only those people required for the delivery of the immersion (students, teachers, leaders, Indigenous partners, and approved tourism providers) to create an isolation bubble within the group. A group register will be kept of all people involved or in contact with the group for contact tracing purposes.

  • Accommodation arrangements will adhere to social distancing requirements as outlined in the Outdoor Education Providers COVID Safe Plan for the state in which the immersion is taking place
  • Red Earth Leaders will ensure all group equipment and high touch points are cleaned daily with ADSAN LN1856 Virucidal Disinfectant and Sanitiser as per COVID-19 cleaning guidelines
  • Red Earth Leaders will set up hand washing stations to supervise mandatory hand washing and/or sanitising regularly through each day
  • Any participant rostered for meal preparation will be required to wash their hands before, during and after meal preparation
  • Red Earth Leaders will be responsible for enforcing, monitoring, and documenting the cleaning practices throughout the immersion as per the Red Earth COVID Safe Plan & risk assessment

 

Cultural Activities

  • Cultural activities will be conducted outside where possible and in a socially-distanced format
  • During all cultural activities, sufficient materials and resources will be supplied to ensure minimal sharing of items
  • Participants will be required to clean shared activity materials or resources prior to each use
  • During visits to community services (e.g. police station), all parties involved will be required to socially distance for the duration of the visit and abide by the service’s rules and regulations.

 

Suspected and/or Confirmed COVID-19 Case

If an individual or a community member shows symptoms consistent with COVID-19 during the immersion the below process will be followed. These guidelines consider a normal temperature reading to be between 36–37.5C, and the reading can consider:

  • The person and their age
  • What they’ve been doing
  • The time of day
  • Which part of the body the reading is taken from

 

COVID-19 symptom guidelines:

  • A temperature or fever of 37.6C or over (must be taken with an oral thermometer)
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Dry cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat

If an individual exhibits 2 or more COVID-19 symptoms, the following steps will be taken immediately:

  • Contact the Red Earth office to determine the course of action which may include:
    • The individual being isolated from others and at the first possibility; and
    • The individual being tested with a Rapid Antigen Test for COVID-19; and
  • In the event of a negative result, treat the individual’s symptoms as required. The individual can re-join the group and their symptoms will continue to be monitored. If symptoms persist, the individual will be retested.
  • In the event of a positive result, the School, Client Organisation and/or the individual’s family will be responsible for:
    • The care, transportation, and accommodation of the individual(s) for the duration of their isolation period; and
    • Assigning a school staff member as the individual(s) only contact point; and
    • Removing the individual from the immersion at the earliest opportunity; and
    • The care, transportation, and accommodation of all close contacts in the School and/or Client group for the duration of their isolation period, should it be required
  • In the event of a positive result, Red Earth will be responsible for:
    • Immediately isolating the individual from the group as per the relevant government health guidelines at the time; and
    • Providing the individual with a face mask which they will be required to wear; and
    • Providing the assigned school staff member with PPE to minimise the risk of transmission; and
    • Screen test all members of the group with a Rapid Antigen Test; and
    • Cleaning all suspected touch points as per COVID-19 cleaning guidelines; and
    • Providing the individual with a separate sleeping arrangement away from the group and supplying them their own utensils and plates; and
    • Assisting the School, Client Organisation and/or the individual’s family to transport the individual and close contacts in a safe manner following isolation guidelines, if the group has to change locations before the school and/or parent can remove the individual from the immersion; and
    • Providing access to a bathroom facility until the School, Client Organisation and/or the individual’s family can remove the individual from the immersion. If possible, this will be separate from the facility used by the rest of the group. If this is not possible, the individual will be given access to the facility at separate times from the rest of the group; and
    • Monitoring the group for COVID-19 symptoms. If a group member becomes symptomatic, they are to immediately isolate and be tested. These guidelines will then be followed based on the result of the Rapid Antigen Test; and
    • Contacting the relevant health authorities for guidance; and
    • Ensuring the current close guidelines set by the relevant health authorities are followed by all participants on the immersion; and
    • Contacting all persons listed on the group register that have had contact with the group will be contacted and instructed to follow current close contact guidelines set by the relevant health authorities; and
    • Assisting in accommodating the group at its current location, in the event of supervision ratios being affected by the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and close contacts until a more suitable option can be arranged by the School and/or Client Organisation, limited to the scheduled conclusion date of the immersion.

 

Red Earth reserves the right to alter the itinerary for the safety of all stakeholders.

 

Testing and medical facilities are located in all regions in which immersions take place.

 

 

After Your Immersion

Should an individual test positive to COVID-19 during the immersion, Red Earth will work with the School, Client Organisation and/or the individual’s family to accommodate the individual until the School, Client Organisation and/or the individual’s family remove the individual from the immersion. At this point the School, Client Organisation and/or the individual’s family will assume full responsibility for the individual.

In the case of the individual still being subject to isolation guidelines and unable to travel home, the School, Client Organisation and/or the individual’s family will assume the responsibility for the individual.

Should an individual or a community member develop or show symptoms consistent with COVID-19 after the immersion (fever, flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat, fatigue, or shortness of breath), we ask that the individual or community member seek immediate medical attention, obtain a COVID-19 test and contact Red Earth as soon as possible if they return a positive result.

Containment guidelines prescribed by health authorities will then be followed, and everyone on the group register will be contacted and advised to seek a COVID-19 test.

 


 

Red Earth 2022 Cancellation Policy

 

COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

If state border closures, permit-area border closures, or LGA lockdowns prevent an immersion from taking place The School will be given two options which are outside of our normal cancellation policy. These options will not be available earlier than 4 weeks prior to the start date of the immersion.

Option 1) Receive a transferable voucher for the full value of the monies paid to Red Earth, less any costs incurred to cancel, transfer, or receive credit for airfares, or monies forfeited in unused airfares. This cost will not exceed 10% of the total immersion fee, and is applicable as Red Earth stands to lose the full value of airfares purchased in some circumstances; or

Option 2) Forfeit 25% of the total immersion fee and receive the remainder of the monies paid to Red Earth by direct transfer

 

School Governing Body Travel Ban

If a governing/peak education body (eg. Sydney Catholic Schools, Edmund Rice Education Australia, Department of Education etc.) prevents an immersion from going ahead by making an organisation-wide decision to restrict travel, the following policy applies:

• Cancelling after the due date for the initial deposit will result in the forfeiture of 25% of the total immersion fee

• Cancelling after the due date for second payment will result in 25% of the total immersion fee being returned as a transferable voucher, and the forfeiture of 25% of the total immersion fee

• Cancelling after the due date for the final payment will result 75% of the total immersion fee being returned as a transferable voucher, and the forfeiture of 25% of the total immersion fee

 

Standard Cancellation Policy

For individual students who choose to cancel, or schools who choose to cancel in circumstances where neither of the above conditions apply and the immersion can proceed, the Standard Cancellation Policy applies.

If a student can not attend due to injury or illness including but not limited to physical injury, mental health issues, and COVID-19 diagnosis, the Standard Cancellation Policy applies.

If a participant is under isolation or quarantine orders at the time of departure, the Standard Cancellation Policy applies.

• Cancelling between due dates for the Deposit and the Second Payment will result in the forfeiture of 25% of the total immersion fee

• Cancelling between dues dates for the Second Payment and the Balance will result in the forfeiture of 37.5% of the total immersion fee

• Cancelling after the due date for the Balance will result in the forfeiture of 81.25% of the total immersion fee

 

If a non-standard payment schedule has been agreed to by Red Earth and The School:

• Cancelling between due dates for the Deposit and the Second Payment will result in the forfeiture of 25% of the total immersion fee

• Cancelling when more than 25% but less than 50% of the total immersion fee has been paid will result in the forfeiture of 37.5% of the total immersion fee

• Cancelling when more than 50% of the total immersion fee has been paid will result in the forfeiture of 81.25% of the total immersion fee

 

 


 

COVID-19 Insurance Options 2022

 

There are insurance policies that cover some COVID-related travel disruptions.

Coverage is available if a student cannot travel because they contract COVID-19 and are required to quarantine or self isolate, or if they contract COVID during their immersion.

 

The following travel disruptions are NOT covered by insurance policies:

• Government mandated lockdowns or stay at home orders; and

• State or international border closures; and

• Any other government movement or permit restrictions, including those imposed by Indigenous Land Councils Below is a shortlist of providers and links to PDS that we believe offer the most comprehensive options.

 

Red Earth are not authorised to provide insurance advice and strongly recommend individual families make their own enquiries and look into the most appropriate COVID-19 travel insurance for their specific situation.

 

This source article from Canstar gives a more detailed overview of policies with available Covid coverage: https://www.canstar.com.au/travel-insurance/coronavirus-travel-insurance/

Please note that this list is not exhaustive. There may be other travel insurers offering cover for Covid19 related claims and it is important to read the PDS and Terms & Conditions before purchasing. Red Earth has no affiliation with the companies mentioned below.

• Cover-more: https://www.covermore.com.au/sites/default/files/pds_cpc_cbi_2021-09-29-3.pdf(Covid conditions on pgs 46-49)

• Medibank: http://policy.travelinsurancepartners.com.au/partners/medibank/files/documents/PDS_MBC.pdf

• AHM: https://help.ahm.com.au/hc/en-us/articles/360002289956

• Southern Cross Travel Insurance: https://www.scti.com.au/our-policies/domestic-policy-wording

 

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