Monday, 22 March, 2021 - 17:00
School Camps and School Excursions - Covid Normal World

As life slowly returns to the COVID-19 ‘new normal,’ schools are once again looking beyond the school gates to educate and inspire their students.

Clearly, things are a bit different than they were 12 months ago, but that doesn’t mean that school activities, school excursions and camps are off the curriculum. It just means they’ll take a little more planning and active preparation.

Remember, what is okay in one State or Territory is not necessarily okay in another, so check with your State or Territory’s health and education departments before you head off on a trip or excursion. However, the general rules and advice around preventing the spread of COVID-19 are similar, no matter where your school is located.

Physical distancing, hand hygiene and meticulous record keeping remain the stalwarts of COVID-safe practice. But there are many more things you can do before and during your school activity to ensure your students, staff and parent helpers remain healthy and COVID-safe.

Before your activity, excursion or camp

  • Study your individual State Education Department’s excursion policy, including the requirement for risk management planning. Ensure you include this element of your school’s program in your Safety Management Plan for COVID-19 (COVIDSafe Plan).
  • Ensure permission forms include the latest updated information about COVID-19 (available on your State or Territory’s health department site) and any procedures that will apply in the event of a student displaying COVID-19-like symptoms.
  • Before departing for school camp, establish a register that contains the current emergency contact details for every student, parent helper and staff member.
  • Advise staff and students that if they are unwell, they should stay at home and be tested for COVID-19.
  • If you haven’t already, download the MyGov app and QR reader.
  • Camp operators are required to develop and regularly review their COVIDSafe Plan. Ensure these plans are made available to your school to review before you arrive on site.

Quick tip

Consider the range of activities and facilities available to your students and recognise that some facilities and activities may need to be altered, deferred or delivered remotely to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. When making decisions, take into account the potential risk associated with the activity, the potential level of community transmission, and the modifications available to minimise risk.

During your camp, activity or excursion

  • Encourage physical distancing where possible
  • Reinforce hand hygiene practices and make sure there is access to handwashing facilities in all communal areas. Where soap and water are not readily available, hand sanitiser should be provided.
  • Avoid sharing drinks or food
  • Encourage students to cough or sneeze into their elbow, or a tissue which should be discarded immediately
  • Fill water bottles from bubblers rather than using the bubbler directly.
  • Limit the mixing of students and staff by creating camp ‘bubbles’. This will help minimise the risk of transmission between groups and aid containment in the event of a confirmed COVID-19 case. For example, staff and students sharing a room can be considered a ‘bubble’.
  • Stagger the use of communal facilities, and thoroughly clean the facilities after each camp ‘bubble’ exits.
  • Avoid large group activities. Use your camp ‘bubbles’ to organise activities.
  • Ensure you are prepared to notify your State or Territory’s Health Department when a suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) is linked to a school camp. Schools will need to provide requested information and take required actions. Good record-keeping, including accurate documentation of sleeping arrangements and any visitors, will assist with the prompt identification of individuals that may have been in contact with a confirmed case.
  • Anyone who develops symptoms during camp should be isolated and sent home for testing as soon as possible, with designated space(s) made available on the premises to support isolation where required. (Likewise if a staff member or student is identified as a close contact of a positive case of coronavirus during the camp period, they will also need to self isolate and return home as soon as possible).
  • Where a staff member or student becomes unwell or is identified as a close contact of a confirmed case, the wearing of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) will be required. School camps should also have appropriate PPE available in case it is required by their staff, contractors or guests.
  • Cleaning and disinfection of communal facilities such as bathrooms and kitchens should occur at least twice a day, or more frequently when in high use by the group – including enhanced cleaning of high-touch surfaces.
  • Minimise numbers in shared rooms/dormitories where possible.
  • If your camp is providing food services, ensure staff maintain the highest hygiene practices, as per individual health departments’ safe food handling policy.

We have all experienced first-hand just how disruptive COVID-19 has been to our everyday lives, and those of our students. It’s great to look forward knowing that we can cautiously start to plan ahead for school activities, school excursions and school camps – albeit with a COVID-safe approach.


Each state and territory government will continue to assess the COVID-19 situation and make its own recommendations for school excursions, school activities and school camps. For up-to-date information on schools in your state or territory, visit and choose your state or follow the links below:

Australian Capital Territory

New South Wales

Northern Territory


South Australia



Western Australia

For national information, visit the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment website.

It’s great to look forward knowing that we can cautiously start to plan ahead for school activities, school excursions and school camps – albeit with a COVID-safe approach.