Dept Education Operating Guidelines and FAQs 1 Feb 2021

On 31 January 2021, the Premier announced a five-day lockdown for Perth, Peel and South West regions (based on the Regional Development Commissions Act regions). A full list of schools to which this applies is available here: https://www.education.wa.edu.au/current-schooling-arrangements. [1]

This is effective from 6.00pm Sunday, 31 January 2021 until 6.00pm Friday, 5 February 2021.

Operating guidelines

People in these regions must stay home unless:

  • Shopping for food and necessary supplies.
  • Accessing medical or health requirements, including compassionate care for the vulnerable.
  • Exercising with a maximum of one other person, for a period of one hour per day.
  • Working if they cannot work from home.

Masks must be worn at all times outside of the home, including in the workplace, during exercise and on public transport.

Schools in the affected zones of Perth metropolitan, Peel and South West regions will be closed until Monday, 8 February 2021. This means, the school holiday period has been extended for one week for schools in these zones.

These schools are not open. Staff will not be on site or available to provide supervision to students. They are also not expected to provide remote learning to students during the week of lockdown.

Schools outside these regions remain open and will commence the school year as normal on Monday, 1 February 2021.

Students who live in a lockdown area but attend a school located outside of this area are not required to go to school. These students should be marked with an ‘E’ attendance code.

Staff who reside in a lockdown area but work at a school located outside the lockdown zones are able to travel to work, provided they have not visited any of the identified locations. Staff who have visited identified locations.[2] should remain home and be tested: https://www.healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/A_E/COVID-clinics [3]

Staff who are required to travel outside the lockdown zones will need evidence of employment. Principals can request this through coronavirussupport@education.wa.edu.au.[4]

Principals should enact their planning related to the COVID-19 response.

School staff working from home may use this week to prepare for the possibility of a move to remote learning should the need arise in the future.

Essential Central Services staff, for example Payroll, ICT and Directors of Education will continue to service schools.

For students who remain in residential and boarding facilities, supervision will be provided.

Teaching, learning and reporting arrangements

Are schools in the lockdown zones required to provide work for students this week?
  • No.
  • As per the Premier’s announcement, school holidays have been extended by one week. Impacted schools will commence Term 1, 2021 on Monday, 8 February.
If parents would like to provide educational activities at home for their children, where can they go for help?

School activities

How do I know if my school is open or closed?
Who can I contact if I need further information about the current lockdown?
Are schools in the lockdown zones open to provide supervision for the children of essential workers?
  • No.
  • School holidays have been extended for one week in these zones.
Are before and after school care, ie. Out of Schools Hours Care, able to open on school sites?
  • Yes.
  • Child care services on school grounds can continue where they are providing care to children of essential workers.
Will school buses run this week?
  • The Public Transport Authority has advised that school buses will run on Monday to ensure any students that are endeavouring to get to school and are not aware of the lockdown have safe passage to their school. They will disembark at school and their families will be called to collect them.
  • Students over 12 years old will need to wear masks on public transport including school buses.
  • There will be a staff member on site at each schools should children arrive.
What if the schools affected in the lockdown areas have live animals and/or plants that need to be cared for or maintained?
  • Principals will determine who is required to undertake activities to provide the necessary animal welfare and garden maintenance.
  • Staff must wear masks when undertaking all duties on school grounds during the lockdown period and only conduct the necessary activities.
Can parents and carers go onto school sites in schools that remain open in non-lockdown areas?
  • Yes.
How should we communicate with parents and carers?
  • Schools should utilise normal communication channels.
  • The Department will continue to provide up to date information as it becomes available.
Can activities planned for week 2 go ahead?
  • At this point in time, the lockdown is until 6.00pm Friday, 5 February 2021.
  • Schools will be kept updated and advised of any changes to the lockdown conditions or length of time.
Will services to schools based in the lockdown zones, such as Statewide Services, be able to proceed?
  • As travel is not permitted from the lockdown zones, face to face visits should not proceed.
  • Staff from schools which remain open should contact Statewide Services to seek alternative methods of support.

Can a student who lives in a lockdown zone attend the school in which they’re enrolled if it is open within a non-lockdown zone?
  • No.
  • These students should remain home and be marked with an ‘E’ attendance code.

Workforce and leave

Do I need to take leave if I’m working from home?
  • No.
Can staff travel from their place of residence in a lockdown zone if they work in a school which is open?

Is it only principals who can enter the school site in a lockdown zone?
  • No.
  • Staff who are undertaking necessary activities should keep their time on site to a minimum.
Can staff who have driven from a lockdown zone come to work in a school which is open?
Are staff who live in a lockdown zone who work in a school which is open in a non-lockdown zone, required to wear a mask?
  • Staff working at schools which are open are not required to wear a mask.
  • Masks are mandatory for people leaving home in affected regions.
  • Once staff leave the lockdown zone, they are not required to wear a mask.
  • Staff travelling from a lockdown affected area into a non-affected area to work at a school should also carry with them the Determination that a school staff member is essential letter, signed and approved by the Director General of the Department of Education.

Health, hygiene and cleaning

If I’m required to be at school, is it mandatory to wear a mask on the school site in the lockdown zone?
  • Yes.
  • The WA Government has outlined the requirements for masks on the WA.gov.au [7] website.
Do students and staff in schools outside of the lockdown zones need to wear masks?
  • No.
Should students who have returned from a lockdown zone to another region attend school?
Do boarding students who have travelled from a lockdown zone need to quarantine?

Contact information

Coronavirus support for principals and senior staff
coronavirussupport@education.wa.edu.au

NOTE: Education support for principals and senior staff only. All health queries should be referred to the Department of Health.