Red Earth COVID-19 Policy
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
- Travelling on a Central Australia or Top End immersion, they are not fully vaccinated as defined by the relevant Federal, State or Territory Governments and statutory bodies at the time of travel; or
- They do not meet Red Earths testing requirements.
Travelling teachers at the airport will be responsible for ensuring any student or teacher that has not provided the requisite negative tests 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:
Red Earth will notify participants & Red Earth staff of any changes to the testing requirements 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 and families with a statutory declaration and will require travelling to sight a signed declaration form for each student within 24 hours of departure confirming that all participants:
- Have been fully vaccinated as defined by the relevant Federal, State or Territory Governments and statutory bodies at the time of travel, for all Central Australia and Top End immersions; 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.
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 three 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
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.
While mask wearing is not compulsory, Red Earth encourages participants to wear for the duration of the flight in minimise the risk of the contracting Covid-19 from other travellers.
Upon arriving at the destination airport, participants will be met by a Red Earth representative. All participants are required to bring their own masks and Rapid Antigen Test (RAT), as per the Red Earth packing list.
Upon arriving at the airport, all participants will be recommended 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.
All ground transport for the duration of the immersion will be privately chartered to the immersion group. Masks are recommended to be worn to minimise the risk of transmission of Covid-19.
All vehicles used through the immersion will be cleaned with ADSAN LN1856 Virucidal Disinfectant and Sanitiser as per the COVID-19 cleaning guidelines.
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 regularly with Anti-Virucidal Disinfectant.
- Red Earth Leaders will set up hand washing stations and will require mandatory hand washing and/or sanitising regularly throughout each day.
- Any participant rostered for meal preparation will be required to wash their hands before, during and after meal preparation.
- Red Earth Leaders and travelling adults will be responsible for enforcing and monitoring the cleaning practices throughout the immersion as per the Red Earth COVID-19 Policy & risk assessment.
- 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 and post 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 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 at the first possibility; and
- The individual being tested with a Rapid Antigen Test for COVID-19.
Confirmed Negative Case
- 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.
Confirmed Positive Case & Isolation Guidelines
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 any government mandated isolation period; and
- Assigning a school staff member as the individual(s) only contact point; and
- Serve meals at mealtime to the individual/s in a separate area to the rest of the group; and
- Clean common areas and equipment used by individual/s with provide cleaning materials; and
- Removing the individual from the immersion at the earliest opportunity should it be required for the welfare of the individual or Group; and
- The care, transportation, and accommodation of all close contacts in the School and/or Client group for the duration of any government mandated isolation period, should it be required
In the event of a positive result, the Red Earth Leader will:
- Immediately isolate the individual from the group as per the relevant government health and/or statutory bodies guidelines at the time; and
- Provide the individual with a face mask which they will be required to wear in public settings until a negative result is obtained; and
- Provide the assigned school staff member with PPE to minimise the risk of transmission; and
- Inform the hosting community that an individual/s have tested positive to Covid-19; and
- Provide the individual/s with a separate sleeping arrangement away from the group; and
- Supply the individual/s with their own utensils and plates for mealtime. Meals will be served on provided equipment and assigned school staff member will provide food to the individual/s in a separate area to the rest of the group; and
- Provide access to a bathroom facility. 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
- Accommodate the group at its current location, in the event of supervision ratios being affected by the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases until a more suitable option can be arranged by the School and/or Client Organisation, limited to the scheduled conclusion date of the immersion.
- Screen test all members of the group with a Rapid Antigen Test; and
- Monitor the group for COVID-19 symptoms. If a group member becomes symptomatic, they are to immediately isolate and be tested. Guidelines outlined in this policy are to be followed based on the result of the Rapid Antigen Test; and
- Test individual/s daily with RAT test to determine if they are no longer considered a positive COVID-19 case. If a negative result is received, follow confirmed negative case guidelines outlined above; and
- Clean all suspected touch points as per COVID-19 policy and risk assessment immediately after a confirmed COVID-19 case; and
- Clean common spaces and high touch points daily with cleaning products provided in the Red Earth immersion equipment; and
- Provide the assigned school staff member with cleaning products to clean any common areas or equipment used by the individual/s (bathroom facility, activity equipment etc.); and
Activity Participation Guidelines
- Positive individual/s CAN participate in a planned activity if Red Earth leader can ensure:
- Community facilitator agreed to have the individual/s join the activity in the socially distance manner; and
- Individual/s are wearing a mask; and
- The activity is in an outdoors setting and can be done socially distanced from the rest of the group and facilitator; and
- Enough equipment is provided so the individual/s can participate without needed to share equipment for the remainder of the group; and
- Individual/s are well enough to participant in the planned activity and in doing won’t worsen their well-being.
- Individual/s CAN NOT participate in the activity if Red Earth leader cannot ensure any of the above requirements.
- Transport the individual/s in the groups provided transportation, if the group has to change locations before the conclusion of the immersion; and
- Ensure all participants and driver wear masks for the duration of journey and seated separated from the rest of the group to the extent possible.
In the event of a positive result, the Red Earth office will:
- Contact the School, Client Organisation and/or the individual’s family to notify them of positive case and isolation plan; and
- Consult with the hosting community after an individual/s have tested positive to Covid-19 for the duration of their isolation period; and
- Work with Red Earth leader and field staff to ensure the Red Earth COVID-19 Policy is understood and followed for a positive COVID-19 case; and
- Assist and provide direction to the Red Earth leader and field staff to transport the individual/s in a safe manner following isolation guidelines, if the group has to change locations before the conclusion of the immersion; and
- Contacting relevant health authorities and/or statutory bodies as required; and
- Ensure any guidelines set by the relevant health authorities are communicated to Red Earth leader and field staff and 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 any guidelines set by the relevant health authorities; and
- Assist 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.
Medical facilities are in all regions in which immersions take place.
Return Home After Your Immersion
At the conclusion of the schedule immersion individual/s that are still positive and well enough to travel will travel home with the group. For the journey the individual/s will be required to wear a face mask.
In the case of the individual still being subject to isolation guidelines or too unwell 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, 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.
Any 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