COVID-19 restrictions to lift on schools in SA and WA - Education Matters Magazine
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COVID-19 restrictions to lift on schools in SA and WA

Victorian schools close in response to COVID-19

Restrictions on a number of important school activities will be lifted from 29 June, paving the way for Term 3 to return to normal for many South Australian students.

The following activities can resume providing government health advice is strictly followed in SA:

  • School assemblies
  • Class photos
  • All intrastate camps and excursions
  • All school sport competitions, sports days and carnivals, including inter-school competitions
  • Inter-school choirs, bands and other performing arts activities
  • School formals, socials and discos
  • Playgroups and occasional care; and
  • Larger face-to-face professional learning activities.

Parents, volunteers, departmental support and other service providers will also be able to enter school and preschool grounds again, providing health advice is followed.

There will also be no cap on the number of people in one room, however, the one person per four-square metre requirement will need to be followed by adults.

With all South Australian borders set to open on 20 July, the Education Department will consult with SA Health regarding interstate school camps and provide further advice to schools.

Education Minister John Gardner said that students, staff and families across the state will welcome the return of these activities.

“It is great news for South Australian families that we are able to lift the restrictions on these school activities, and it is because of the great work of our public health officials that this has been able to happen,” said Minister Gardner.

“Staff, students and families alike will welcome the return of many of these activities from Term 3, which will provide a sense of school returning to normal.

“The lifting of these restrictions will also provide a critical lifeline for many businesses who have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, such as those who are welcoming the return of intrastate school camps and excursions.

“I want to thank all our education staff who have done an exceptional job through this unprecedented time, providing true community leadership in supporting children and young people across South Australia.”

The Western Australian Government has also announced dormitory capacity restrictions have been lifted on the number of students who can occupy dormitory style accommodation at public school residential boarding facilities and school camps.

This will now allow all students to return to residential boarding facilities with home visits to resume and the ability for parents and carers to visit those facilities.

School camps can fill their dormitories but must continue to comply with the limit of 100 people as part of the state’s Phase 3 guidelines which have been developed by the WA Chief Health Officer.

Previously, dormitory style accommodation could only have 25 per cent occupancy with physical distance applying.

Today’s announcement comes after the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPCC) revised its guidelines on 17 June, saying that each state or territory education department could review the situation around these types of facilities in line with state health advice.

Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery wrote to the Chief Health Officer Dr Andy Robertson asking that the restrictions be reviewed on the basis that there had been no cases of student-to-student transmission and no cases of student-to-teacher transmission in Western Australia.

The Chief Health Officer agreed that school camp facilities were no longer required to reduce dormitory occupancy to 25 per cent, reduce sleeping capacity or require single occupancy.

However, Dr Robertson reinforced that the maximum number of people to attend a school camp remained unchanged with this to be reviewed in line with Phase 4 of the COVID-19 WA Roadmap.

The WA Government will work with the Catholic and independent school sectors to ensure the guidelines are implemented across all sectors.

“I am pleased that all students can now return to public school residential boarding colleges,” said Minister Ellery.

“It’s also pleasing that home visits can resume and parents and carers can visit those facilities.

“As there has been no student-to-student transmission or no cases of student-to-teacher transmission of COVID-19 in WA, it is appropriate and timely that the restriction on dormitory capacity has been lifted.”