Details for current school operations are available on the Education Directorate website.
Parents and carers can attend outdoor areas of the school site for drop off and pick up. They can enter school/classrooms with an appointment. Parents and carers can attend permitted activites (such as assemblies) if they are outdoors, outside of school hours, or ticketed. Parents and carers must must follow COVID Smart measures at all times on school sites (physical distancing, hygiene practices, staying away if unwell). Parents and carers are required to wear a mask while indoors if physical distancing cannot be maintained.
Support at home
Some support for learning will be offered at home for those needing to isolate. Details here under "attendance at ACT public schools".
Below is information on the following aspects of P&C operations
All operations, including P&C activities, need to comply with the Directorate's COVID Management plan. It includes:
- Parents or carers can enter schools (out doors) for pick up and drop off or attend events outdoors or out of school hours
- Parents and carers can enter during school hours with an appointment
- Essential P&C volunteers or staff members are allowed on site (eg for running services such as uniform shops and canteens).
- Adults must physically distance
- Adults are encouraged to wear masks when on school grounds (usual exceptions apply). Masks must be worn if physical distancing is not possible.
- Volunteers, staff and visitors must not attend the school site if unwell, and go home immediately if they become unwell, after informing the school
- Good hand and respiratory hygiene practices are vital, and must be encouraged with posters etc and made possible with santiser etc.
- P&Cs operating canteens, uniform shops and fundraising events at school will need to have a written COVID-safe plan (see templates below).
- P&C events which involve visitors who are not school familiesmust be held out of school hours.
Given ongoing pressure on schools from staff absences and subsequent teacher workload, Council asks P&Cs to be mindful of the pressures school staff are facing and to work collaboratively to support them. At the moment, only P&C activities which DO NOT require teacher time should go ahead.
Employers and volunteer managers such as P&Cs have obligations to make workplaces and volunteering as safe as reasonably possible. This includes following public health directions and developing COVID-safe plans.
P&Cs wanting more information about volunteering obligations should read the Not-for-profit Law information on volunteers and COVID-19.
Note that the vaccination mandate no longer applies in schools. This means that the vaccination status of employees/volunteers cannot be collected without the consent of the staff/volunteer - they are not obliged to reveal their vaccination status. The Fair Work Ombudsman's website has FAQs to help, and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner provides information on privacy requirements. Conversations about vaccination should be conducted sensitively.
P&Cs are required to have a written COVID-safe plan for all their activities. A COVID-safe plan is a great way to think through the risks of COVID transmission and how to minimise risk to keep everyone safe. We have templates below for uniform shops, canteens, contactless fundraising, and BBQs/food stalls which we trust are a good starting point for your own plans.
When your event includes visitors who are not school families, they must be held out of school hours. ACT Health now provides a useful template for your COVID-safe plan for such events.
P&C meetings are now able to be held on school grounds, in consultation with the Principal.
School staff can attend if they have the capacity, though this may not be in person. Please discuss with your principal what is possible at the time. Council believes that it is a reasonable expectation for a school staff member to attend one P&C meeting per term.
Note that associations, such as P&Cs, can currently host their meetings by videoconference or teleconference, even if this is not permitted under your constitution - thanks to a temporary amendment of the Associations Incorporation Act. The amendment, due to the pandemic, will remain in force until 12 months after the pandemic ends. Check out this article from last year on running Better Online Meetings, or this one sharing the experience of a couple of our P&Cs.
Only P&C activities which DO NOT require teacher time should go ahead.
Activities which require help from other school staff (eg the front office collecting money, orders or raffle tickets) should be kindly discussed with the school first.
We suggest P&Cs check in with schools/staff to make sure any school involvement is still within capacity. Note that what is possible for schools may change quickly. An activity that seemed ok to proceed may still be subject to last-minute cancelation.
Two types of fundraising activity in schools are allowed:
- on site events and activities out of school hours and have a COVID plan. Outdoor activities are preferred. P&Cs should work closely with their schools, and note that school requirements and allowable activities may change quickly (and may vary school to school depending on circumstance). Our COVID plan template for election BBQs is a useful starting point, as it follows current requirements for ACT events.
- contactless fundraisers with minimal volunteers at any time - for example a mango drive with drive-through pick up. A COVID-safe plan is required. We have a template contactless fundraiser COVID-safe plan which will be useful in making your plans.
Online fundraising is always permitted! So we have pulled together COVID-friendly and online fundraising ideas.
Community events can occur on site, as long as they are out of school hours. Outdoor activities are preferred.
Only P&C activities which DO NOT require teacher time should go ahead.
P&Cs should work closely with their schools to see what is possible. Activities which require help from other school staff should be kindly discussed with the school first.
Note that what is possible for schools may change quickly. We suggest P&Cs check in with schools/staff to make sure any school involvement is still within capacity. An activity that seemed ok to proceed may still be subject to last-minute cancelation.
Following member need and questions, we have put together options and examples of community building activities and events for lockdown.
Uniform shops can open with a COVID-safe plan in place. We have updated our template COVID-safe plan for in-school uniform shops.
Please note that:
- counter services can be offered so that parents can come onto site, by appointment, to help children try on clothes. Click and collect is still preferred.
- essential P&C volunteers (and staff) can enter school sites to run uniform shops
To adapt the Template plan for your situation:
- carefully read, consider and fill out how you will address identified issues in the template
- follow the recommendations of Council, as indicated on the template plan, as these comply with school health guidelines
- work collaboratively with your principal in planning for your uniform shop, including hours of operation, appointment times and pickup/delivery options.
Canteen services, including counter service are permitted, in consultation with the school principal, and with a COVID-safe plan in place.
Talk with the Principal
In considering counter service at your canteen, discuss arrangements with your school principal, particularly in respect to queues of students.
All canteens are required to have, and follow, a COVID-safe plan (as was the case previously) which outlines ways in which you will reduce the risk of COVID infection when operating the canteen. It must also be available for viewing upon inspection by ACT Health. We have updated our template COVID-safe plan for P&C-run canteens as a starting point for writing yours. It complies with current school and business restrictions.
The ACT Government Business Liaison Line (6205 0900) is also a great source of information on assistance and business activities. P&Cs might also be interested in looking at the range of (free) services the Canberra Business Enterprise Centre can provide.
Please regularly check the latest advice from ACT Health, available from www.health.act.gov.au
The ACT Government's business liaison help line is a great place for advice and details of regulations on activities: 6205 0900
Last updated 9 August 2022