COVID-19 coronavirus: Education and family advice

Latest information and advice for parents, educators, tertiary institutions and families with children.

Last updated: 23 October 2020 at 1.22pm

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On this page you will find advice on:

Advice on schools

Restrictions lifted on public school boarding facilities and school camps

School camps are underway. 

In line with Phase 4 of the WA COVID-19 Roadmap, from 27 June 2020, the limit of 100 students no longer applies. 

Schools will still continue to follow appropriate risk assessment procedures. 

Schools must ensure camp providers comply with WA COVID-19 Health guidelines. 

Updated advice on residential facilities was provided by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) on 17 June 2020, and the Western Australian Chief Health Officer on 18 June 2020. The AHPPC position is that facilities can safely open if practical measures are put in place to minimise transmission of COVID-19.  

These measures include: 

  • reducing physical contact 
  • enhancing personal hygiene practices 
  • strengthening cleaning standards. 

Parents and carers will be able to enter the residential facility when picking up or dropping off their child, and students will be permitted to leave the facility on weekends. 

School attendance

School attendance is mandatory for all students, except those who are medically vulnerable or who have medically-vulnerable family members.

The Department of Education will implement a targeted plan to support students who cannot attend school because of medical advice, or those disengaged from school.

Students and staff who are unwell should stay at home.

Reports and assessments

Teachers will provide school reports for Semester 1, but are not required to assign an A-E grade.

For Year 12 students undertaking ATAR courses, the 2020 ATAR written examination period will go ahead as scheduled from 2 November 2020. 

For Year 9 students who were unable to sit the NAPLAN tests this year due to COVID-19, more flexibility will be introduced into the Online Literacy and Numeracy Assessment to ensure they can achieve their WA Certificate of Education.

Research study to track impact of COVID-19 in schools

The WA Government is running an asymptomatic COVID-19 testing program, called DETECT Snapshot, to identify any community transmission of COVID-19.

80 public schools, education support centres, and residential colleges from the metropolitan area and regional WA will initially participate. They reflect a range of socio-economic, educational, and cultural backgrounds.

Participation is voluntary and requires the consent of staff, and by parents on behalf of their child or children. Parents will be advised of the outcome of tests.

From 3 June to 10 June, asymptomatic school staff aged over 18 will also be able to voluntarily undergo a swab test for COVID-19.


Cleaning and hygiene requirements

Cleaning

In total, $43 million will be spent on additional cleaning in schools (cleaners, additional cleaning products and personal protective equipment).

All schools have cleaning staff during the school day to regularly clean and disinfect high-contact surfaces and areas frequently used by students or staff.

Playgrounds are open and equipment is cleaned before school and after each break.

Hygiene

Current hygiene advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee is:

  • The 4 square metre rule and physical distancing is not appropriate or practical in classrooms or corridors.
  • Face masks are not recommended – good hygiene and cleaning practices are more important.
  • Wide-scale temperature checks should not be conducted, due to limited evidence demonstrating its value.

Support for older teachers/staff and vulnerable staff members

The Department is following National Cabinet's advice, which endorsed the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee's advice on vulnerable people in the workplace. This specifies that the following people are, or are likely to be, at higher risk of serious illness if infected with COVID-19:

  • people 70 years and older
  • people 65 years and older with chronic medical conditions
  • Aboriginal people 50 years and older with chronic medical conditions
  • those with compromised immune systems.

Staff in any of these categories or with underlying health issues should seek medical advice and advise their principals so they can by make alternative arrangements for these staff to minimise risks.


Wellbeing and support

The Learning at home website has advice and resources for parents, carers, educators and students.

This includes resources and information regarding:

  • the impact of COVID-19 on students’ health and wellbeing
  • the impact on families
  • how schools can best support students and families to access services and information.

The website will continue to be updated.

Educators should continue to access the support of school psychologists, school chaplains and Schools of Special Educational Needs.


Advice for university students and staff

Western Australian universities are continuing to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and responding accordingly to ensure the safety of the community.

Please visit your university’s website for more information.


Supporting your children

It’s important children get truthful, reliable information when asking about COVID-19. A resource has been created for you to help explain COVID-19 to your children (PDF 5.4MB) with tips on how to protect you and your family.

The Commissioner for Children and Young People WA has resources available to support Western Australian children and young people through the pandemic.

Leisure and recreation

Playgrounds, skate parks, play centres, zoos and wildlife centres can reopen from Saturday 6 June 2020. Western Australians will also be able to play contact sport and visit cinemas, galleries, museums and amusement parks.

Remember to continue practising physical distancing and good hygiene whilst enjoying these activities. It’s recommended that you wash your hands before and after using equipment.

Child and day care facilities

Child and day care facilities within Western Australia remain open.

Additionally, the Australian Government announced eligible families will receive free child care during the COVID-19 pandemic from 6 April 2020. This supports families and keeps services open for workers and vulnerable families who need them.

For more information visit the Australian Government website.

Family Court of Western Australia

The Family Court of Western Australia has provided an update to its operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

These new directions affect court attendance, hearings and administrative services.

Page reviewed 23 October 2020