Guidance for Covid Safe Operation of Playgroups

28 April 2022

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

Key points for playgroups

Can my playgroup still be open?

Playgroups in general can remain open. However playgroups do operate in a wide range of venues, including schools and aged care centres, community centres and other locations. Playgroups should check with your venue owner/operator, or school contact, in relation to any specific venue requirements. Playgroup WA is here to support any playgroups that cannot currently meet at their usual venue. Please contact us if this happens.

Vaccinations

Letter from Playgroup WA CEO on Covid vaccinations, sent to playgroup leaders in January 2022: click here

Playgroups are not currently mentioned in the proof of vaccination government mandates. Playgroups operate in a wide range of venues, and some may require proof of vaccination. If your playgroup is considering what to do, you may like to read our Playgroup WA Immunisation Statement in the Playgroup WA Resource Kit, here.

From 29 April 2022, the vaccination requirements are easing, as follows:

  • No longer required to enter venues and businesses
  • Still required to visit hospitals and residential aged care facilities
  • Mandatory workplace vaccination requirements will remain in place.

Mask Wearing

From Friday, 29 April, masks are no longer mandatory except for high risk settings for people aged 12 years and older (including year 7s) in the following settings:

    • on public transport, in taxis and rideshare vehicles and other passenger transport
    • airports
    • hospitals, residential aged care and disability service facilities, and correctional facilities.
  • Masks are encouraged where physical distancing isn’t possible.

Contact Registers (SafeWA)

From 14 April 2022, contact registers are only required at hospitals.

WA Government Updates and Information

There is community transmission of COVID-19 in WA.

The Government has announced from Friday, 29 April, easing of public health and social measures. Announcement on this here.

Venue capacity limits end on 29 April.

The mask mandate for everywhere indoors, other than at home, ends on 29 April, and from then only applies to high risk settings including hospitals, public transport and residential aged care centres.

Positive COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Tests must be registered through the Department of Health's online portal. Click here for more information including the link to register a positive test.

To keep up to date on the changing requirements, see the Government link below:

  • Current restrictions here.

What can playgroups do?

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

  • Most playgroups can be open and meet regularly
  • Practise good personal hygiene
  • From 29 April, mask wearing is not specifically required at playgroup unless it is at a high risk venue
  • From 29 April, the 2 square metre rule no longer applies at community facilities
  • Some playgroups may still be encouraged to have a COVID Safety Plan

Close contacts

From 29 April, close contacts with no symptoms are not required to isolate for 7 days, but must:

    • undertake a daily Rapid Antigen Test
    • wear a mask when leaving the house,
    • avoid high-risk settings, including hospitals, healthcare settings, disability and aged care facilities, and correctional facilities
    • work from home, where possible
    • avoid non-essential gatherings and contact with people at risk of severe illness
  • They should also notify their employer/educational facility of their close contact status.
  • Close contacts with symptoms must continue to isolate until symptoms resolve and get tested as per existing protocols.
  • If a close contact tests positive, they must isolate for a further 7 days as per arrangements for positive COVID-19 cases.
Safety Plans

Playgroups may need to comply with a COVID Safety Plan, if this has been required of their venue. From 29 April, these may not be mandatory, but are still encouraged.

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 venue owner, centre manager or host agency is comfortable with what you are doing.

Some local governments have asked playgroups to complete COVID Safety Plans. The information provided on the Government website about this here is useful for all playgroups, even if you do not need to complete a Safety Plan. We have also prepared an Issues to Consider document, for playgroups to use as a guide, based on the Government's Safety Plan guidelines and safety plan template. Note, some of the issues to consider and plans will change as the rules change.

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.
  • You may choose to wear a mask
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 now only apply to hospitals.
  • 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. This can be be meeting in other places, going to the park, or other excursions, and meeting online, such as forming an online group for chats and video connections.
  • We 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, what you are doing, and activity ideas.

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

All the best,
Playgroup WA