COVID-19 and your immersion

 

Last update:  16 November 2020

 

Red Earth COVID-19 Policy

 

These standards are in place to protect travelling students and teachers, our staff and our community partners. Red Earth has consulted closely with all State Governments and relevant statutory bodies to ensure we are following all recommendations and adhering to any restrictions that are in place in each region at the time of travel.

Red Earth has developed this policy so that we can continue connecting Australians with remote Indigenous Australia in the safest possible way. Protecting the communities and homelands we work with is our primary concern and has guided the development of this policy. The same standards apply to our community partners.

Red Earth has completed all requirements legislated by State Governments to continue operation and submitted and been approved by the relevant State bodies. 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 accreditation. 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 (Pre-Screening)

 

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 participants before and while on immersion.

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

  • They have returned from overseas in the 14 days before the start date of their immersion; or
  • They have been in close contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the 14 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 14 days before the start of their immersion and they have not tested negative to COVID-19

 

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IMPORTANT

In addition, all participants & Red Earth staff will be required to obtain a COVID-19 test 4 days prior to travelling. Once tested, participants are encouraged to limit their contact with people outside their family or social bubble.

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Red Earth will supply parents/guardians, teachers and leaders with an online form 24hrs prior to departure, requiring them to sign a declaration confirming that all participants:

  • Have been tested and obtained a test showing a negative result for COVID-19 within the 4-day period prior to the start date of the immersion; and
  • Have not returned from overseas in the 14 days before the start date of their immersion; and
  • Have not been in close contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the 14 days before the start of their immersion; and
  • Have not experienced fever, flu-like symptoms such as a dry cough, sore throat and fatigue, and shortness of breath in the 14 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 refund available to them through Red Earth’s standard cancellation policy and/or their school’s domestic travel insurance policy. 

 

During Your Immersion (Social Distancing, Cleaning & Hygiene)

 

Airport Departure

Upon arriving at the airport, participants will be greeted by a Red Earth representative. The representative will supply each participant with a face mask, personal hand sanitiser and record each participant’s temperature.

Each participant will be asked whether they meet all requirements to travel, as outlined above. Any participant showing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 who has not been cleared by a medical professional will be not be allowed to join the immersion.

 

Transit, Buses and Other Vehicles

  • Upon arriving at the airport, all participants will be required to socially distance and wear a supplied a face mask 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 and regularly wash or sanitise their hands, as advised by Red Earth
  • While travelling in buses or vehicles, participants will be required to wear a face mask throughout the duration of the journey and socially distance where possible
  • All vehicles used during 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). This will create an isolation bubble inside 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 all adhere to the 4-square metre and/or 1.5m rule as outlined in the COVID Safe Plan
  • Each participant will be allocated equipment at the beginning of the immersion, which will remain theirs for the duration of the trip, and all personal items will be cleaned with ADSAN LN1856 Virucidal Disinfectant and Sanitiser during each camp set up and pack down
  • 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
  • At the beginning of each day, everyone involved with the immersion (including community members, students, teachers & leaders) will have their temperature taken and recorded
  • 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, all parties involved will be required to social distance & wear a face mask for the duration of the visit

 

Possible COVID-19 Case

If a participant or a community member shows symptoms consistent with COVID-19 during the immersion (fever, flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat, fatigue or shortness of breath), the following steps will be taken immediately:

  • The participant will be isolated from others and all suspected touch points will be cleaned as per COVID-19 cleaning guidelines; and
  • The participant will be given a face mask; and
  • A staff member will be assigned as the suspected cases only contact point, this person will be issued adequate PPE to minimise the risk of transmission; and
  • At the first possibility, the participant will be taken to a local health clinic for further testing and isolation; and
  • The participant will be tested for COVID-19 by health authorities; and
  • The participant will be quarantined as per relevant State government health guidelines until the result of the test is confirmed
    • If negative, participant can return to the group
    • If positive, guidelines provided by health authorities will be followed
  • In the case of someone testing positive, all persons listed on the group register that have had contact with the group will be contacted and required to be tested for COVID-19

Testing & medical facilities are located in all regions we operate. These facilities are rarely more than 45 minutes from the homelands where we stay and are manned by nurses and rotating doctors.

 

After Your Immersion

 

Should a participant 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 participant or community member seek immediate medical attention and contact Red Earth as soon as possible.

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.   

 

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Cancellations and COVID-19

 

COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

If a statutory body (eg. Federal government, Northern Land Council, APY Lands) prevents 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 until 4 weeks before the start date of the immersion, and are subject to refunds and/or credits being available to Red Earth from our subcontractors (eg. Airlines etc.).

Option 1) ​Receive a transferable voucher for the full value of the monies paid to Red Earth; or
Option 2) ​Forfeit the initial deposit, 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 loss of the initial deposit
  • Cancelling after the due date for the second payment will result in the second payment being returned as a transferable voucher, and the loss of the initial deposit
  • Cancelling after the due date for the final payment will result in the second and final payments being returned as a transferable voucher, and the loss of the initial deposit

 

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 (eg. more than 4 weeks prior to the start date of an immersion), the standard Red Earth cancellation policy applies.

  • Cancelling between due dates for the Deposit and the Second Payment, will result in a loss of your Deposit
  • Cancelling between dues dates for the Second Payment and the Balance will result in a loss of your Deposit and 50% of the Second Payment
  • Cancelling after the due date for the Balance will result in a loss of the Deposit and 75% of Second Payment and Balance

Please note that the remainder of the Fee paid may be recoverable under the School’s insurance policy covering domestic travel.

 

 

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