Key Info

  • All Catholic schools across Western Australia are in Phase 4.
  • There are no travel restrictions within Western Australia, except for remote Aboriginal communities.
Updated: 5 March 2021

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Following Premier Mark McGowan’s announcement on Friday 5 March 2021 updated Phase 4 arrangements are in place in ALL Catholic schools across the whole of Western Australia. It is compulsory for all students to attend school unless they are unwell.

The health, wellbeing and safety of all students remains our highest priority, and additional cleaning and hygiene regimes will continue.  Schools will continue to practise physical distancing between adults, where possible, and encourage good personal hygiene at all times.

Updated Phase Four in Catholic schools 

Are schools open?

Yes. All Catholic schools across Western Australia are open and it is compulsory for all students to attend school.

Who is required to attend school?

It is compulsory for all students to attend school unless they are unwell, have a medical referral to learn from home or live with a family member who is medically vulnerable.

What if my child is unwell?

Students who are unwell should stay home. Parents are asked to seek medical advice if their child exhibits symptoms of COVID-19. Normal processes for advising the school of a child’s absence will apply.

What if my child has a medical condition?

On 6 July 2020, the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) provided recommendations to manage health risks as COVID-19 measures lift.  The AHPPC states that if there are no cases or a low number of cases and no evidence of community transmission, then the risk of exposure is low regardless of age or health conditions.

As the current level of COVID-19 cases is low with no community spread in Western Australia, people, even those at higher risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19, can continue attending or return to school with appropriate precautions in place.

What if we have a medically vulnerable family member?

On 6 July 2020, the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) provided recommendations to manage health risks as COVID-19 measures lift. The AHPPC states that if there are no cases or a low number of cases and no evidence of community transmission, then the risk of exposure is low regardless of age or health conditions.

As the current level of COVID-19 cases is low with no community spread in Western Australia, people, even those at higher risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19, are not at risk of exposure even if a family member is attending or returns to school with appropriate precautions in place.

Are before and after school care (Out-of-School Hours Care) able to open on school sites?

Yes.

Do any students need to wear masks?

No students need to wear a mask.

Are parents allowed in schools?

Yes, providing they:

  • sign in using normal school operating procedures,
  • practice physical distancing between adults, where practicable; and
  • adhere to exemplary hand and respiratory hygiene practices.
Are schools required to use the safeWA app?

No, the use of the safeWA app is optional for schools.

All visitors to schools must sign in using normal school operating procedures.

Can school balls go ahead?

Yes, providing:

  • if held off a school site, schools adhere to external providers’ COVID-safe conditions.
  • if on a school site, schools adhere to the Phase 4 Guidelines regarding gatherings.

Sending children to school

Why is it important for children to attend school?

It is important for students to be physically connected with their school, staff and classmates.

Every day away from engaged learning has a negative impact on student outcomes.

The School Education Act 1999 states the requirement that: A student must attend on the days on which the school is open for instruction.

When a student is enrolled in a school, it is compulsory for them to attend every day of the instructional program.

Students whose parents and carers choose to keep them at home, without medical reason, will be marked as absent.

All the evidence supports regular attendance as being critical to educational outcomes. There is no educationally safe level of absence.

Should parents and caregivers enter schools when they drop off and collect their child?

Parents and caregivers are able to enter school grounds to drop off and collect their children and to attend scheduled meetings with staff. Parents should enter classrooms with the approval of their principal and at the invitation of their child's teacher.

What if parents and caregivers need to enter school sites outside of dropping off or collecting their child?

All visitors with a lawful purpose are allowed onto the school grounds. Physical distancing for adults per region and good hygiene practices apply. All official visitors are required to sign in.

Will schools provide learning programs for students at home without a medical referral?

No. For students who are absent without a medical referral, there is no expectation for the school to continue to provide learning programs or work packages. Students approved to learn from home will continue to be supported in their learning.

Will I have to pay school fees if I am facing significant financial stress due to COVID-19?

The ongoing enrolment of every child in our school is guaranteed, regardless of a parent’s financial circumstances.

If parents or caregivers have concerns in this regard, please contact your school Principal directly to confidentially discuss financial support arrangements.

For more information on the options, which are immediately available to all families with children in Catholic schools, please click here

Health and hygiene practices in schools

How will you keep my child safe?

The health, safety and wellbeing of students and staff will remain our highest priority.

Catholic schools will continue to review and respond to cleaning and hygiene protocols in line with advice from the Department of Health.

Additional cleaning regimes, including high frequency cleaning, are in place in all schools and will continue in Phase 4. Cleaning guidelines are based on, and continuously reviewed in line with, advice from the Department of Health.

Playgrounds are open and play equipment is being cleaned in accordance with the AHPPC guidelines. When accessing playgrounds students will be reminded to focus on hygiene and wash hands before and after using this equipment.

Schools will adhere to all previously published requirements to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff is maintained, including physical distancing practices for supervisors and staff.

Child protection measures will also continue to be at the forefront of all undertakings and staff will be adhering to their Code of Conduct obligations, as always.

Unwell students or staff are to remain at home until they are well.

What if there is a confirmed case in a school or our school community?

In the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19, any temporary school closure will be advised by the Department of Health and the school will enact its Six Step Response Plan before the school is reopened. All Catholic schools in Western Australia have dedicated School Response Plans which contain detailed information about how they are to respond to a confirmed case in their school or school community. Each school has formed an Incident Response Team and have been provided with a detailed Resource Pack to help them deal with a confirmed case.

Rest assured that the health, safety and wellbeing of students and staff is our highest priority. All schools have additional cleaning measures in place and unwell students or staff are to remain home until they receive a medical clearance to attend school. Schools are ensuring arrangements are in place for regular and thorough handwashing. Posters and information are being displayed on the school grounds.

All Catholic schools continue to review and respond to cleaning and hygiene protocols in line with advice from the Department of Health.

Which school activities will take place?

Incursions

All incursions may proceed with supervisors/staff maintaining physical distancing for adults of one person per 2m2.

School sport

Sports training, games and interschool competitions can proceed with good hygiene practices. Schools must abide by the physical distancing rules for adult visitors such as coaches.

In-term swimming classes for students are permitted with good hygiene practices applied. Schools must abide by the physical distancing rules for adult visitors such as coaches.

Excursions

Excursions can occur, with supervisors/staff maintaining physical distancing for adults.

Camps

School camps are permitted and student numbers may exceed 100 students. However, school-based camp organisers must follow appropriate risk assessment procedures including ensuring that camp providers comply with WA COVID-19 Health Guidelines.

Additionally, camp providers must provide evidence of procedures to:

  • reduce physical contact between students and staff;
  • enhance personal hygiene practices;
  • strengthen cleaning standards.

Can work placements take place?

Work placements may take place. Schools should conduct work placement risk assessments and ensure employers comply with WA COVID-19 Health Guidelines.

Can onsite school events take place?

Events and activities such as assemblies, interschool activities, school performances, choir practices and examinations can occur providing schools abide by the physical distancing requirements for adults.

What about school facilities such as the canteen and library?

School canteen

Canteens are permitted to provide takeaway service and dine-in service, but must abide by physical distancing for adults.

School library

Library access should be managed to ensure supervisors/staff maintain physical distancing rules for adults and good hygiene practices are in place.

Is the uniform shop open?

Uniform shops are open to parents and caregivers where the school can assure adherence to adult physical distancing requirements, enhanced cleaning of used areas and minimise contact with the broader school population. 

Where a school operates a uniform shop, increased cleaning and hygiene practices must be put in place to ensure that the uniform shop meets the required AHPPC guidelines.

Parents and Carers

What can parents and carers do to help?

Parents and caregivers can help by:

  • Letting your school know if your child is unwell.
  • Letting your school know if your child will be engaging in teaching and learning at school or from home if they have a medical referral to learn from home or live with a family member who is medically vulnerable.
  • Making sure your school has the correct contact details for your family.
  • Making sure you’ve installed your school’s communication apps on your device.
  • Encouraging your child to practice good hygiene, at home and at school.
How can I talk to my child about COVID-19?

When talking about coronavirus to your child, make sure it’s in a way that suits their age and development. When you do talk, listen to what’s worrying them and address their concerns.

Take a look at our wellbeing and resources sections.

More information

  • Visit the Healthy WA COVID-19 website for more information and details about the Novel coronavirus
  • Call the Novel coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080
  • For general or travel related queries about Novel coronavirus please go to the healthdirect website
  • You can also visit the World Health Organisation website for more information about the Novel coronavirus and for updates
  • Talk to your local GP or Community Health Centre

Additional support services include: 

  • Kids Helpline – 1800 55 1800 
  • Headspace – 1800 650 890
  • Parent Helpline – 1300 1300 52 
  • Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636 
  • Lifeline – 13 11 14