The Education Directorate has released its plan for the start of the school year, with students expected to return to face-to-face learning next week.
Unveiling its plan the Directorate said new students would begin school on 31 January and returning students on 1 February, as previously planned.
“With the level of the transmission of COVID-19 in the community in the ACT, our Back to School plans acknowledge the unavoidable reality that we will see COVID-19 cases in our schools,” the Directorate said.
“Each school will have its own COVID-safety plan in place, tailored to the individual circumstances of the school environment, staffing arrangements and student cohort,” it said.
“These plans are based on refreshed ACT Health Guidelines that have been endorsed by the Chief Health Officer and apply to all school settings, outlining risk mitigation strategies that have been developed and refined to enable our schools to manage cases as they arise and where possible avoid closures.”
The Directorate said many of the measures in its Back to School arrangements for Term 1 were very similar to the measures that were operating in schools during Term 4 of last year.
It said for public schools this included the provision of rapid antigen tests, two per week for all school-based, care and early childhood education staff; compulsory use of masks indoors for all adults and students in Years 7-12; cohorting of children and staff; staggered timetables; maximised outdoor learning and ventilation in classrooms; and increased cleaning across schools.
The Directorate said Term 1 would also see revised drop-off and pick-up arrangements; restrictions to visitors on site; restrictions of school events and excursions; and no interstate excursions.
Minister for Education, Yvette Berry said a lot of work had been undertaken over an extended period of time to prepare and refine plans for the return of children to school.
“Comprehensive prevention, risk mitigation and response strategies have been developed and refined to enable our schools to both avoid and manage cases as they arise and where possible avoid closures,” Ms Berry said.
“Schools will be contacting their school communities directly with more information about how the health guidelines will be applied in each school setting,” she said.
“If at any stage you are concerned about your child attending face-to-face learning, please seek advice from your health provider, visit the relevant ACT Government websites for more information and speak to your school if you have further queries about your individual circumstances.”
Further information on the Directorate’s Back to School arrangements can be accessed at this PS News link.