COVID-19 Restrictions: Can Students Still Use Playground Equipment?
In this uncertain and ever-changing Covid-19 environment, you are likely faced with new questions and considerations about school operations each and every day. Previously unquestioned school practices and activities must now be examined to ensure that they do not appreciably increase the health risks to your students, staff or other members of your school community, nor breach new restrictions.
One area of uncertainty for schools is whether students are permitted to use playground equipment whilst on campus. Public playgrounds are closed, so does that mean that schools too must close theirs?
Can students use the playground?
Use of playgrounds at schools is currently considered a discretionary matter for schools. That is, it is up to the individual school to decide whether they can be used or not.
The Federal Government does not consider that playground use by students at school appreciably increases the risks around Covid-19. Accordingly, the Federal Government has not prohibited their use.
That being said, if you are going to permit your students to use the playground equipment, you should put in place measures to minimise any apparent risks. Such steps may include:
- Staggering access for different student groups (the more you can avoid mixing groups of student the better)
- Limiting numbers of students permitted to be on the playground at one time to avoid overcrowding
- Enforcing social distancing requirements, as far as practicable, at all times
- Cleaning/disinfecting playground equipment frequently (preferably between student group uses but at least daily)
- Requiring students to wash their hands before and after using the playground
- Preventing unwell students from using the playground
If you are not confident that you can effectively implement strategies to minimise the risks associated with communal equipment like playgrounds, you may resolve to err on the side of caution. However, if you are comfortable and well placed to implement appropriate risk mitigation steps, then you may consider that allowing students to access the play equipment may assist in managing their wellbeing.
The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) released a statement/information sheet last week to assist schools in managing the Covid-19 risks throughout different elements of the school environment. We encourage Principals to access that information and ensure their schools are implementing all possible steps to minimise risks and talk to us if you have any concerns. The AHPPC statement can be accessed here.
How can Brennan Law Partners assist?
If you have any questions regarding any information in this BLP Brief, we welcome you to contact us at any time.
This is meant as a guide only and should not be taken as legal advice.