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Camps and assemblies canned under WA’s new COVID-19 school rules

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Kasey GrattonAlbany Advertiser
Education Minister Sue Ellery during a press conference.
Camera IconEducation Minister Sue Ellery during a press conference. Credit: Danella Bevis/The West Australian

High COVID-19 case-load protocols were introduced by the State Government on February 8, cancelling school camps and indoor assemblies.

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

A close contact is now any face-to-face contact for more than 15 minutes where masks are not worn, anyone not wearing masks during an interaction for more than two hours in a small indoor space or classroom, or anyone told by WA Health that they are a close contact.

All indoor in-person events, such as school assemblies, have been cancelled, as have all school camps in Term 1.

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Last Friday, it was announced that operators of school camp grounds directly impacted 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 to four of Term 1, 70 per cent of the fees due if the camp is cancelled in weeks five to seven, and 50 per cent if their camp is cancelled in weeks eight to 10.

Fifty per cent of fees would be refunded if the rules stayed in place after Term 1.

A $500,000 incentive fund has been made available for public schools to organise excursions and incursions to replace camps.

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

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

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