Canned camps and assemblies under WA’s new COVID-19 school rules

High COVID-19 caseload protocols were introduced by the state government on February 8, canceling school camps and indoor assemblies.

As part of the changes, the definition of close contact in a school or daycare has changed.

Close contact is now any face-to-face contact for more than 15 minutes without a mask, anyone not wearing a mask during an interaction lasting more than two hours in a small indoor space or classroom, or anyone informed by WA Health that they are a close contact.

All in-person indoor events, such as school assemblies, have been canceled, as have all first term school camps.

Last Friday, it was announced that school campground operators directly affected by the cancellation would be eligible for a state government support package.

School camp operators would receive the full amount of fees due or payable if they experience late cancellations in weeks two through four of Term 1, 70% of the fees due if the camp is canceled in weeks five through seven, and 50% if their camp is canceled in weeks 8-10.

Fifty percent of the fee would be refunded if the rules remained in place after the first period.

A $500,000 incentive fund was made available to public schools to organize field trips and field trips to replace camps.

“School camps currently pose an unacceptable risk of transmission of COVID-19, particularly due to shared sleeping and eating arrangements and close contact between students over a long period of time,” said the Minister of Education and Training, Sue Ellery.

“We have listened to their feedback and this package will offer support to sustain the camp industry, so that businesses can survive, trained camp workers can remain employed and camps are ready for students as soon as the measures of public health will allow it.

Martha K. Merrill