School camp operations – guidance for providers and school groups

The Victorian Chief Health Officer has advised that school camps can resume operations from 11:59pm on 21 June 2020. This includes the use of shared kitchens and bathrooms aligned with the opening of holiday accommodation communal facilities.

This page provides guidance to operators of school camps and participating school groups on health and safety measures recommended to manage risks associated with coronavirus (COVID-19).

You can also download this page as a fact sheet: School camp operations – guidance for providers and school groups (docx - 107.99kb)

Bookings

Bookings are not bound by public gathering limits.

Bookings for school groups can be accepted by:

  • accommodation providers, including privately operated school camps and outdoor education schools
  • camps operated by individual schools
  • government outdoor education, leadership and camp schools including the Residential Outdoor Schools Association (ROSA) Network and the Alpine School.

Providers can accept bookings from multiple schools for the same time period, so long as measures can be put in place to avoid mixing between groups. For example, staggered use and cleaning between use of communal dining rooms and bathroom facilities.

School camp health and safety precautions

Consistent with the health and safety advice for return to on-site schooling in the context of coronavirus (COVID-19) (pdf - 288.06kb), maintaining a physical distance of 1.5 metres will not always be practical in education settings, including school camps.

Physical distancing is most important between adults. Close proximity between adults on school camp sites should be avoided wherever possible.

Reducing mixing between different cohorts at school camps (including classes, year levels and schools) is recommended as a precautionary measure to minimise risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission.

Checklist for camp operators and schools

Schools are required to follow the Department's Excursions policy (including camps and adventure activities) from the Policy and Advisory Library. This includes the requirement for risk management planning.

Camp operators should undertake individual risk assessment and planning to minimise the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission and respond in the event of a confirmed case. This should be informed by the below principles and advice for accommodation providers from Business Victoria.

The following principles should be applied to school camps to ensure health and safety precautions are followed:

  • Staff and students should not attend camp if unwell. Staff or students who develop symptoms during camp should be isolated and sent home for testing as soon as possible.
  • Reinforce hand hygiene practices and ensure access to handwashing facilities in all communal areas (where soap and water are not readily available, hand sanitizer should be provided).
  • Cleaning and disinfection of communal facilities such as bathrooms and kitchens should occur at least twice daily – including enhanced cleaning of high touch-surfaces.
  • Physical distancing is most important between adults and should be implemented as practical.
  • For sleeping arrangements, minimise numbers in shared rooms/dormitories where possible. Maintain records of sleeping arrangements to assist with contact tracing in the event of a confirmed case.
  • If multiple schools are using a facility, consider strategies to avoid mixing between groups. For example, staggered use of communal dining rooms and bathroom facilities – with thorough cleaning after each group use.
  • Parent volunteers are permitted, subject to normal arrangements, where volunteers are an integral part of the conduct of school camps. For example, where necessary to ensure adequate supervision.
  • You can find advice on the management of an unwell student or staff member or a suspected case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Health and safety advice for return to on-site schooling in the context of coronavirus (COVID-19) (pdf - 288.06kb). This should be applied on school camps.