VoRTCS Updates Regarding COVID19

17 August 2020

Dear VoRTCS Southside teams,

I hope you all had a relaxing weekend.

I have good news to share with you all that Queensland Health has reported that we have had zero cases of community transmission in Queensland for over 14 days.

ALL VoRTCS teams located in the Southern suburbs can now recommence face-to-face tutoring (if safe to do so) from today onwards so please get in touch with your team members and tutoring family to share this positive news.

I have also attached the VoRTCS Covid19 Safe Practices and Resources and the Best Practice Checklist for your reference when resuming face-to-face sessions.

If you have any concerns or would like additional support, please contact me on 0438 127 416 or email sandy.hang@svdpqld.org.au.

Thank you for all your patience, flexibility, understanding and efforts as always!


30 July 2020

Dear VoRTCS Southside teams,

As you may be aware, Queensland Health have released a public health alert in response to three confirmed COVID-19 cases on Brisbane’s Southside on the 29 July 2020.

Vinnies QLD’s VoRTCS program is committed to ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of our volunteer tutors and the vulnerable families we support. If your team and/or tutoring family is situated in the suburbs of Southbank, Sunnybank, Springfield, as well as the suburbs of Logan City – please cease face-to-face tutoring immediately until further notice. Please continue to assist your tutoring family via remote online mediums instead during this period, if possible. However, if your team and or/tutoring family lives near those areas listed above, even if not strictly in them, please consider switching to remote tutoring online as well.

VoRTCS will continue to monitor the situation and we will let you know as soon as it is safe to resume face-to-face tutoring.

We understand that the last few months have been difficult and with the recent increase in cases in Queensland it can be unnerving – we thank you for your continued support during these challenging times. A reminder also that it is important that anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19, even if they are mild, to get tested. Symptoms include headache, sneezing, coughing, shortness of breath or breathing difficulties and a fever. Please click here for a list of COVID-19 testing clinics in Queensland.

If you have any concerns or would like additional support, please contact VoRTCS Prorgam Coordinator, Sandy Hang, on 0438 127 416 or email sandy.hang@svdpqld.org.au.


26 June 2020

Dear tutors,

St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland’s VoRTCS Committee would like to express our immense gratitude to you all for the valuable remote support you have continued to provide to your tutoring families, whilst navigating the changes and challenges experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the last few months, it has been incredibly heart-warming to witness our VoRTCS tutors showing resilience, flexibility and creativity in adapting to these changes in supporting your tutoring families via remote mediums & technology – we appreciate all your efforts and would like to thank you!

We also wanted to share with you some great news! In line with government restrictions easing, VoRTCS will be recommencing face-to-face home tutoring sessions for our current teams and families from Monday, 29th June 2020.

So what does this mean for you, your team and your tutoring family?

To ensure the safety and wellbeing of our teams and tutoring families, it is recommended that you follow the below steps in assessing whether it is possible for your team and tutoring family to recommence face-to-face sessions:

  1. Where possible and preferred by the team and family, engagement with your tutoring family is encouraged to be via online platforms or phone in the first instance. For those at risk or not comfortable with recommencing in-home tutoring, remote tutoring methods are encouraged as an option.
  2. If face-to-face tutoring is preferred, please ensure that you complete the VoRTCS Home Tutoring Sessions COVID-19 Best Practise Guide to Getting Started
  3. Prior to meeting your tutoring family in their home, your team will need to contact your tutoring family to confirm that no-one in the premises is ill, been in contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 and/or is currently in self-isolation.
  4. If any tutor in your team and/or any tutoring family member is unwell, they must stay home and/or cancel the tutoring session.
  5. Where possible, please interact with the family outside of the house. For e.g. on the front/back veranda, backyard etc.
  6. In an enclosed space, make sure there is suitable ventilation. For e.g. open window, air-conditioning.
  7. When entering the premises, implement physical distancing requirements, 4 square metres per person.  In the event of space limitations, implement a rotating roster between the team/family so that the number of persons per 4 square metres is observed.
  8. Tutors returning to in-home tutoring should provide their tutoring family members with the following resources:
    Translated Coronavirus Resources
    Translated COVID-19 Factsheet – What you need to know
    COVID-19 – Simple Steps to Stop the Spread Poster
    QLD Health COVID-19 Resources – (Handwashing 12 step guide & 3 steps for household cleaning)
  9. Personal hand and respiratory hygiene measures are to be followed at all times, before, during and after home tutoring sessions. Tutors are encouraged to bring hand sanitiser and surface cleaning antibacterial wipes to each session. Clean any contact surfaces and do not share equipment or items such as pens. Bring your own pen, notepads etc. and all materials used are to be wiped down before and following each session. Do not share food at tutoring sessions.

What measures are in place to keep you safe?

As we navigate COVID-19, our biggest commitment is to ensuring the health, wellbeing and safety of our volunteers and tutoring families. In doing so, Vinnies QLD’s VoRTCS program has measures in place to keep you safe which includes a comprehensive WHS and Risk Management Plan. If you would like to know more about these measures, please contact the VoRTCS Program Coordinator at sandy.hang@svdpqld.org.au.

What resources are available for our team and tutoring family?

On the following webpage, you will find materials related to COVID-19 that may assist you with your tutoring sessions: http://refugeetutoring.org/resources/covid-19-resources/.

Has your team completed the Tutor Survey?

Just a gentle reminder that if your team has not yet completed the Tutor Survey to please do so as soon as possible. A big thank you to the teams that have already responded, your feedback is appreciated. The survey closure date has now been extended to the 6th July 2020, so please ensure your team response is submitted. The biannual surveys are very important as through your feedback, our VoRTCS Committee can get a better understanding of where you and/or your tutoring family may be needing additional support, what’s working well and what areas we may need to be focus on in improving our program, training and special projects. Over the last few months, particularly, whilst VoRTCS has had to temporarily pause our services, we understand that there may have been some positive changes and perhaps some challenges in the continuation of your tutoring sessions via remote mediums and we would love to hear your thoughts and experiences over this time.

The tutor survey can be completed via: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VORTCSSurveyJune20

Who can I contact for help?

If anyone in your team or tutoring family has been in contact with a confirmed case and is demonstrating symptoms of COVID-19your Team Leader must notify the VoRTCS Program Coordinator immediately (contact details below).

VoRTCS Program Coordinator, Sandy Hang
E: sandy.hang@svdpqld.org.au
P: 0438 127 416

The VoRTCS Program Coordinator can then provide (via video or phone) clear information about next steps, including support to contact the National Coronavirus Health Information Line, for testing.

If anyone in your team or tutoring family needs immediate healthcare, they can attend a GP or hospital emergency department. It is important, if displaying symptoms of COVID-19, that the healthcare provider is called ahead of time.

If anyone in your team or tutoring family is having difficulty breathing, it is advised to contact 000.

Anyone who tests positive to COVID-19 should contact the VoRTCS Program Coordinator immediately. All tutoring sessions would be cancelled for the affected team & tutoring family. They should isolate at home to stop the virus spreading to other people, monitor symptoms every day, and if they are worsening, seek medical advice immediately.

That’s a lot of information! – I’m feeling unsure and overwhelmed!?

VoRTCS is here to support you. We understand that it’s been awhile since you’ve attended your face-to-face tutoring sessions and you may be feeling quite overwhelmed and uncertain in resuming your volunteering commitments, particularly given the current climate surrounding COVID-19. We also know that we’ve shared a lot of information in this communication and it can feel like a lot to take in. If you’d like to chat or if you’d like anything clarified, please contact the VoRTCS Program Coordinator at sandy.hang@svdpqld.org.au or 0438 127 416.

Thank you, we couldn’t do it without you!

We sincerely appreciate your continued support and we’re excited to start face-to-face tutoring sessions for our VoRTCS families again!

18 March 2020

Dear tutors,

On this page you will find any updates that VoRTCS has regarding the constantly evolving situation surrounding COVID19 and our program operations.

Vinnies is focused on protecting the health and safety of our volunteers and tutoring families. 

In light of the current issues surrounding COVID-19, we would like to highlight the measures which we are taking to prioritise the well-being and safety of our volunteers and the families we support. 

In line with government advice regarding social distancing, VoRTCS will be shutting down all services and tutoring sessions until further notice, effective immediately.  

Please refer to the recent communication which was emailed to you. As mentioned, we would like to ask all teams to please contact their tutoring families as soon as possible to let them know that sessions will be placed on hold until further notice. Letters will also be posted to families to advise them of this and provide additional support options.  

To ensure that our tutoring families are still being supported during these uncertain and challenging times, teams can still provide assistance to their tutoring families remotely, through email and/or over the phone. Please set your phone number to private when contacting your tutoring family, instructions on how to do this are below.

How to Set Your Phone Number on Private (on Android and iOS Devices):

Android Device

  1. From the dashboard screen, tap Settings
  2. Tap on Account
  3. Then tap on Privacy
  4. Next, tap on Phone Numbers
  5. Select Private to set your phone number to private and tap OK

iOS Device

  1. From the dashboard screen, tap Settings
  2. Tap on Phone
  3. Tap on Show My Caller ID
  4. Then Toggle Off to set your number to private

VoRTCS is here for you and our tutoring families and if you would like to know more, please email info.vortcs@svdpqld.org.au,  continue to check our VoRTCS website or our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoRTCS/ for updates.  

As this is a constantly evolving situation, we will be monitoring the situation closely surrounding COVID-19 and we will be advising you of any changes with regards to VoRTCS operations in the future. Vinnies would like to express our appreciation for your ongoing support and we wish you all the utmost health and safety during this time.  

NEW VoRTCS Digital Resource Library – Create and Share!

Introducing an exciting new resource for VoRTCS Tutors! 

Today VoRTCS launched the Digital Resource Library, which you can access on the VoRTCS website via – http://refugeetutoring.org/resources/digital-resource-library/. The Digital Resource Library is a collection of small PDF documents that can be used in your tutoring sessions. The resources support learning, reading, and writing English at a variety of learning stages. There is also a ‘Fun Stuff’ section with resources that can be used for games at the end of a tutoring session. All the resources have been created specifically for VoRTCS tutors, by VoRTCS tutors. Check out the collection we’ve started! We’re sure you’ll find something you can use in your tutoring sessions. You might even find something that will inspire the planning of a session!

Contribute Your Own Resources!

At the moment the Digital Resource Library is quite small, but over time it will grow into a larger, more useful tool for tutors. The Digital Resource Library is a way for tutors who have created their own resources, to share their creations with all the other VoRTCS tutors. Do you have a resource you’ve created which you’d like to share with the rest of VoRTCS? If you do, please email it to Sandy at: Sandy.Hang@svdpqld.org.au. We’d love to see it, and potentially add it to the Digital Resource Library!!

Please note: we are able to accept original creations only and if your resource is added to the library, you will be asked to sign a Talent Release Form which enables your wonderful creation to be shared around.

VoRTCS is super excited to see our Digital Resource Library grow 🙂


Are you interested in being a VoRTCS Tutor Trainer?
Jenny, our Training Team Leader, is seeking nominations from anyone interested in training our new intake of tutors at our VoRTCS Family Tutor Training & Information sessions which are held monthly in 2017 and 2018.
Why should you be a part of the VoRTCS Training Team?
  • You get to collaborate with a group of lovely, experienced tutors
  • You get to share your knowledge with potential new tutors
  • You gain experience in presenting
  • This will be great experience to list when you are seeking employment, volunteer positions etc.
What would your involvement be as a Tutor Trainer?
  • The commitment is only to present as part of a team 3-4 Saturdays a year!
  • You will not need prior experience as training on the VoRTCS presentations will be given to you before you commence.
To be eligible, you should:
  • Have a minimum of 6 months experience in tutoring a VoRTCS family
  • Have the ability to work well in a team
  • Have clear communication skills and a passion in presenting
If this sounds like you, we would love to have you on the Training Team!
For more information and to apply, please contact Jenny via email at jenharl62@hotmail.com (please also Cc info.vortcs@svdpqld.org.au)

FREE Financial Literacy Information Session for VoRTCS Families!

We have another amazing opportunity for your tutoring family members! VoRTCS is looking at partnering with a charity, I am a Boat Person & Westpac Bank to provide a free financial literacy session for our VoRTCS refugees.
What will VoRTCS family members learn?

The topics which will be covered in the Financial Literacy information session are:
  • The banking system in Australia
  • Bank accounts (including credit cards)
  • Working in Australia
  • Superannuation
  • Tax
  • Renting
  • Budgeting
This completely free session will be an extremely valuable source of financial education and awareness for our VoRTCS families. The session is expected to run for approximately 2 hours (duration is dependent on the engagement of participants) and we are hoping to run the session sometime in August. The date and location for this session is yet to be confirmed pending interest. If there is plenty of interest, we may be able to run several sessions (for e.g. one session in a central location, one in Northern area, one in Southern area). There are no requirements to be a Westpac customer nor any other banking customer and participants will not be sold any products.

So what do VoRTCS family members need?
  • A general command of English so they can understand the presenter/s (the presenter/s will be speaking in simple/plain English in a clear pace)
If someone in your tutoring family meets the above criteria and is interested in this great opportunity, please send the following information to info.vortcs@svdpqld.org.au by Friday, 21 July 2017:
  • Full name
  • Current address
  • Mobile phone number
  • Email address (if they have one)
Please call Sandy, VoRTCS Program Coordinator, if you have any questions on (07) 3010 1069.

Great Opportunity! Affordable VoRTCS Refugee Driving Lessons!

We have an exciting opportunity to offer some of our interested VoRTCS refugees subsidised driving lessons. VoRTCS will partner with a culturally sensitive and caring Driving School and the NRMA Brisbane Broncos to offer affordable driving lessons and support to attain their license.
Many refugee adults struggle in everyday tasks such as taking their children to school, purchasing groceries, getting to different locations via public transport, and experience social isolation due to their residence in outer Brisbane suburbs. The cost of driving lessons and license is often unaffordable for many families.
This wonderful opportunity will allow a number of our VoRTCS family members the chance to work towards getting their driver’s license at a much more affordable price. VoRTCS family members who take up this opportunity will:
  • Attain basic knowledge of driving skills and driving manoeuvres
  • Increase their understanding of road rules and driving regulations
  • Learn more about how the Provisional Driving Test is conducted
  • Experience driving with a qualified and friendly Driving Instructor in their journey towards obtaining their Driver’s License.
To be eligible, your tutoring family member/s should:
  • Be able to contribute financially towards the cost of the lesson/s – they will need to pay approximately $20 per lesson (This is very cheap! Most driving schools will charge at least triple this price)
  • Hold a current Queensland Learner’s License
  • Be in the process of saving to buy a car, have access to a car, or already own one
  • Have a general command of English (they need to be able to understand what the Driving Instructor is saying – the Instructor will of course tailor lessons to suit their English skills with slower and clear speech)
Spaces are very LIMITED!
If someone in your tutoring family meets the above criteria and is interested in this great opportunity, please send the following information to info.vortcs@svdpqld.org.au by Friday, 21 July 2017:
  • Full name
  • Current address
  • Mobile phone number
  • Email address (if they have one)
Please call Sandy, VoRTCS Program Coordinator, if you have any questions on (07) 3010 1069.