Dormitory capacity restrictions have been lifted on the amount 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 yesterday (June 17) saying that each State or Territory education department could review the situation around these types of facilities in line with State health advice.
However, the AHPCC said each facility would still be required to prepare a facility-specific, risk assessment plan which included their planned response to scenarios such as single or multiple cases being identified among boarders with multiple close contacts, to manage the risk posed by COVID-19.
The risk analysis should inform the development of mitigation actions that lower the risk of transmission and promote good health, hygiene and physical distancing within the facility.
Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery immediately 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 (100) with this to be reviewed in line with Phase 4 of the COVID-19 WA Roadmap.
The State Government will work with the Catholic and independent school sectors to ensure the guidelines are implemented across all sectors.
As stated by Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery:
“I am pleased that all students can now return to public school residential boarding colleges.
“It’s also pleasing that home visits can resume and parents and carers can visit those facilities.
“Regarding school camps, I understand that it has been a stressful period for camp providers and for students who look forward to these activities.
“School camps are an important part of the learning process and have been a vital part of education programs for many years.
“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.
“Camp providers will now be able to increase their business activities and students will be able to take part in those important rite of passage activities such as Year 6 camps.
“However, I urge camp providers to follow the guidelines and prepare risk assessment plans to keep everyone safe.
“The health of staff and students remains our top priority and additional hygiene and cleaning practices will help to minimise the risk of transmission.”