Guidance for Covid Safe Return of Playgroups

4 January 2022

We are providing this general, practical guidance for the safe and compliant operation of playgroups in WA.

WA Government Updates and Information

The Government has planned for WA borders to open on 5 February 2022. Announcement here. This announcement includes information about plans for mask wearing requirements in specific venues and proof of vaccination.

Meanwhile, there has been some community transmission of COVID in WA, in December 2021 and January 2022. To keep up to date on the changing requirements, such as mask-wearing, please visit the Government websites below:

  • Current restrictions here.
  • Public exposure sites here.

Other key points for playgroups to note:

  • Important requirement: Mandatory contact registers at community venues
  • Vaccinations: Whilst playgroups are not currently mentioned in the general proof of vaccination government mandates, playgroups should check with your venue owner/operator in relation to any specific venue requirements. Playgroups operate in a wide range of venues, and some will require proof of vaccination.
  • Capacity and gathering limits for venues and events have been removed, although there may be requirements for mask wearing and proof of vaccination.

What can playgroups do?

(Subject to any additional restrictions that may be announced):

  • Playgroups can be open and meet regularly (some venues/playgroups may require proof of vaccination and/or mask wearing by people over 12 years)
  • Hold events (some events will require specific Covid plans and requirements)
  • Mandatory contact registration is required
  • Practise good personal hygiene
  • Some playgroups may need a COVID Safety Plan

It is important to note that the Government requires mandatory contact registers for venues. Please read more about what is required for these registers and how to register your playgroup here.

Also note, public or private events involving more than 500 patrons that require local government authority approval will need an approved COVID Event Plan as part of that process.

Playgroups may need to comply with a COVID Safety Plan, if this has been required of their venue. We have more information on this below. The 2sqm per person rule no longer applies.

Playgroups meet in a variety of venues, some shared with other groups, some managing their own building. Venue owners such as local governments and churches may have their own requirements or COVID Safety Plans, with which playgroups will be asked to comply. Please check that your landlord, centre manager or host agency is comfortable with what you are doing.

Playgroup WA is also available to provide specific advice to individual playgroups. We know that many of you have already developed your solutions and have great faith in the creativity and common sense of the playgroup community.

Safety Plans

Local governments and other centre managers may have requirements for community centres to follow COVID Safety Plans based on their individual centre needs.

Some local governments have asked playgroups to complete COVID Safety Plans. This information is useful for all playgroups, even if you do not need to complete a Safety Plan. Note, the requirements for this will change when the borders open, which is planned for 5 February 2022. The Government will provide more information on this soon.

Social Distancing
  • Community gatherings and events are allowed.
  • Western Australians must continue to maintain good personal hygiene to better protect themselves and the general health of our community.
Hygiene
  • Hand washing – especially before and after handling/preparing food, playdough etc. With playdough consider discarding after each session, and washing hands before and after use.
  • Display posters on hand washing and good hygiene practices. Playgroup WA has produced two posters for you to print and display, one on hand washing and one on good hygiene practices.
  • Wipe over toys where possible after use – especially toys that are put in mouths by young children – antibacterial wipes are a good way to do this before toys are put away. When purchasing cleaning products and sanitizers we recommend that you check these are suitable for children at your playgroup.
  • Ensure work surfaces such as kitchen benches are wiped over and cleaned – use different cloths for different surfaces – you may want to consider purchasing some different colour cloths to make this easier and make sure families know the system (putting up a sign will help).
  • Place tissues in a bin immediately after use.
  • Check there are adequate supplies of soap, paper towels, tissues etc
  • Ask parents to bring their own water bottles and food to minimise kitchen use and shared eating.
Communication
  • Please remember to communicate your playgroup's arrangements clearly to all members, so they know what to expect and what is expected of them.
  • Everyone should be reminded not to attend if they are ill and asked to leave if they show signs of illness.
  • Tell families they should advise you if they have any possibility of being exposed to the virus or have undergone testing.
  • If a family has attended playgroup recently and then found to have COVID, the playgroup should notify all playgroup members.
  • Accurate attendance registers help with contact tracing. Note the Government's mandatory contact register requirements, referred to above.
  • It is helpful to use a variety of communication methods such as posters, emails, website/social media and be open to questions from your members.
  • Whether your playgroup is open or closed, it is great to stay in touch with your members. We also have the Playgroup at Home WA Facebook group which all members and friends are welcome to join. This can also be used to share news about your playgroup.

This guidance is current at time of publication. We will provide updates as circumstances change. We wish all our playgroup families a safe, healthy and fun time at playgroup.

All the best,
Playgroup WA