WA Premier Mark McGowan has announced all school students in the state must return to the classroom from next week.

Key points:

  • It’s time for all WA students to go back to class, the Premier says
  • Home learning packages will not be issued without an exemption
  • Attendance at public schools is already up to more than 85 per cent

“From next Monday, May 18, Western Australian school students will be required to return to school in the public, Catholic and independent school sectors,” he said.

“This decision has the support of all stakeholders in the education sector and our health experts.”

Mr McGowan said there would be exceptions for students who were “medically vulnerable or those who have a family member with chronic health issues.”

“These students will be assessed and can continue to learn from home and will be supported by their schools and the Department of Education,” he said.

He said students who remained away from school from May 18 without the exemption would no longer be provided with home learning packages.

“And their absence will be marked as unauthorised,” Mr McGowan said.

Primary school classroom with wooden shelf

More than 85 per cent of WA’s public school students have
returned to their classrooms.(ABC News: Eliza Laschon)

Attendance rates jump to new high

Under the current public school term two arrangements, parents have had the option to send their children to school for face-to-face learning or keep them at home to be educated with the assistance of online resources and learning packages.

But Mr McGowan said WA had yesterday recorded its highest public school attendance rate since the start of term with 85.6 per cent of students going to school.

The schools announcement came as WA Health Minister Roger Cook confirmed there had been one new case of COVID-19 overnight, taking the state’s total to 554.

The new case was a woman aged in her 30s from the metropolitan area, he said.

She was a close contact of a previously confirmed case.

One person remains in hospital with COVID-19 in the state, and they were being treated in intensive care.

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