Providing public education

Responding to COVID-19

Responding to COVID-19

Keeping our schools open and providing face‑to‑face learning to students is important to children’s learning, social and emotional development, and overall wellbeing. Physical and mental health remained a key priority in managing COVID‑19 in schools and the wider community, with a focus on returning to a ‘business as usual’ approach.

To support school leadership to adapt and implement public health and safety measures, schools and residential colleges continued to be provided with operating guidelines, updates and resources, developed with advice from Western Australia’s Chief Health Officer, in Term 3 and Term 4, 2022.

Our COVID‑19 Incident Management Team, established in early 2020, continued to the end of the 2022 school year, supporting schools to implement measures in accordance with health advice to ensure they remained open.

The ventilation strategy developed to reduce the airborne transmission of COVID‑19 in schools continued throughout 2022–23.

Interstate travel and planning for international travel recommenced in Term 3, 2022, which saw the Senior High Schools Country Week and the District High Schools Country Week events being resumed.

Central staffing support to schools with absences related to COVID‑19 remained in place in Term 3, 2022.

​​​​​Through the state government’s ‘WA free RAT program’, rapid antigen tests were provided to students and staff. In a second tranche nearly 12 million rapid antigen tests were distributed to schools in Term 3, 2022 and in a third tranche nearly 3 million were distributed in Term 1, 2023.

Students continued to receive support to learn at home where they were unable to attend school due to them, or a family member, having an immunocompromised medical condition during the state of emergency relating to COVID‑19. In 2022, the School of Special Educational Needs: Medical and Mental Health and the School of Isolated and Distance Education partnered with schools to provide learning at home and return‑to‑school support for 92 students. Ninety students successfully resumed school attendance and 2 transferred to another suitable alternative.

In 2022–23, the state government committed a further $18.9 million to support schools for enhanced cleaning and safety requirements.

At the end of 2022, the Chief Health Officer confirmed that enhanced cleaning and safety requirements due to COVID‑19 were no longer required.

We continued to consult and share resources with Catholic Education Western Australia and the Association of Independent Schools of Western Australia. Key education stakeholders also continued to be consulted as part of our response to COVID‑19.

We remain committed to providing a safe environment for all staff and students, and continue to act on health advice to take necessary precautions.