Statement from PGL Adventure Camps:
PGL has hosted 40 different schools and 2400 students at our sites in Victoria since school camps were allowed back in November 2021. We have been notified of five schools which had a positive COVID case while on site with no transmission. Unfortunately, in this case, it seems the infection has spread despite all of our protocols in place.
We were notified on Monday 13th of December that a school that attended Camp Rumbug on 8 – 10 December has returned positive COVID tests. The students from this school had become symptomatic on Friday 10th December. We were also notified that the other school on site has positive cases among the students. On notification, PGL immediately ceased activity and sent all our staff for PCR testing. Unfortunately, this meant that we cancelled camps for students who were intending to travel in the week from 13 – 17th December, but this meant that there was no possibility of potential transmission to new schools.
PGL staff became symptomatic on Tuesday and there are five positive covid cases within our staff. We are doing everything we can to support our staff through this difficult time. Staff have complied fully with DHS requirements, and we believe that our swift action has prevented any further transmission.
PGL has rigorous infection control measures in place and provides hand washing and sanitising stations at all activities and in the dining area. Good hygiene is promoted at PGL camps. PGL staff wear masks at all times and are vigilant in keeping groups separate, as we were in this instance. At all times, our staff were following our COVID safe plan which is written in line with state government requirements. Current DET guidelines state that “facemasks are not mandatory for students in grade 3 – 6 and primary school staff when attending school camps or excursions.”
We would like to see higher vigilance with students wearing masks in indoor areas at camps, and on buses while travelling to and from the camp. Rapid Antigen Testing prior to students departing on camp can also prevent potentially serious outbreaks. We do not yet know if, or how, the infection transmitted between the two schools who shared the site. We are working with the Department of Health as it conducts its investigations and we will commit to carrying out any recommendations.
PGL exists to bring great outdoor experiences to students, we know how keen families have been for their kids to come to camp after two years of disruption. Our staff have been amazing in adhering to protocols, while ensuring that kids have the best possible camp experience. Our thoughts are with all of the people impacted by this outbreak, especially at this time of year.