The Territory Labor Government has today announced the plan to keep kids safe and learning ahead of the 2022 school year commencing.
The plan has three key objectives: keeping our kids safe, keeping our kids in school, and supporting the Territory’s hardworking teachers and school staff.
School-based measures to reduce the risk and spread of COVID-19 have been strengthened and extended in time for term one beginning.
· All Government school air-conditioning systems undergoing audits to ensure they meet or exceed relevant standards for fresh air intake and circulation;
· Installing 500 air purifiers in schools that don’t have central air-conditioning, especially in remote areas;
· Strongly encouraging students from Year 3 and up to wear masks; and
· Practising enhanced health and cleaning measures, including using hand sanitiser and education on its importance.
In addition, all Government school staff will have access to three rapid antigen tests a week as required, and remote school staff will be required to take three tests in their first week in the community.
When there is a positive case at a school:
· The positive case will be required to stay home for 7 days, in line with existing Directions;
· Parents will be notified when there is a positive case at their child’s school; and
· Parents will be notified if their child is considered a close contact.
For close contact children in primary school – as long as they do not have symptoms, they can keep going to school, and will not require testing.
For close contact children in middle and senior school – as long as they do not have symptoms, they can keep going to school but will need to take a daily rapid antigen test before coming to school for a week. These tests will be provided.
If a child has symptoms, they must stay at home and not go to school.
All schools are equipped with home learning packs and online learning options for students who test positive, show COVID symptoms, or if their parents or carer makes the choice to keep them at home.
Quotes from Chief Minister Michael Gunner:
“Even as we face this Omicron wave, we must keep our kids learning.
“We can’t remove the risks from our schools. But as with every decision we have made throughout the pandemic, this is about reducing the risk – not removing it all together.
“We need to manage COVID, and get on with it. And this means keeping as many students in classrooms and learning as safely as we can.
“Parents are at the centre of our plan to keep kids safe and keep them learning. Parents have the most important job in monitoring their child for any symptoms – so students can stay safe and our schools can stay safe.”
Quotes from Minister for Education Lauren Moss:
“We know parents and carers are busy getting their kids ready to go back to school, but along with bags, books and uniforms we ask that you add getting your child vaccinated to your long list of jobs before school goes back.
“This plan will help keep our smallest Territorians safe and learning, whilst also supporting our incredible and hardworking teachers and teaching staff.”