26 September 2023

School kids to face faces as masks unmasked

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Mask requirements across the Territory’s schools and early childhood education and care settings have been lifted as ACT Health continues to review COVID-19 safety settings.

Chief Health Officer, Kerryn Coleman said arrangements in ACT public schools would stay the same as they were in Term 1 for at least the first two weeks of Term 2.

“In the context of the ACT and our current situation, it is my view that mandates for mask wearing in school settings are no longer a proportionate response,” Dr Coleman said.

“Taking into account our improved understanding of the severity of the Omicron variant, our community vaccination coverage and broader mask wearing requirements across other settings in the ACT – now is an appropriate time for this change to be implemented.”

She said it was still strongly recommended that masks be worn by adults and students when in small indoor settings where physical distancing was not possible.

“We know that mask-wearing helps to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, and staff and students are encouraged to continue wearing masks if they choose to do so, particularly if it helps them to feel more protected,” Dr Coleman said.

The Chief Health Officer said staff and visitors to school sites would no longer be required to check in using the Check in CBR app, but asked that schools continue to display their QR codes for voluntary use.

She said schools would need to consider the potential implications of these changes and review their COVID Safety measures accordingly.

Director-General of ACT Education, Katy Haire said that for the first two weeks of Term 2, public school staff and secondary students would continue to wear masks; checking in with Check in CBR app would continue to be required for visitors; and household contacts would not be able to attend public school sites, even if they were asymptomatic.

“The Education Directorate will consult with unions, and other public school stakeholders, about workplace health and safety measures for the rest of the term,” Ms Haire said.

“Public schools will communicate directly with staff, parents and carers, as COVID safety measures are adjusted,” she said.

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