New South Wales and Victoria have announced near-identical plans to slow the spread of COVID-19 as students return to classrooms, with both states relying on rapid antigen tests in the first month. Source: The Guardian.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews outlined their state plans yesterday acknowledging they had collaborated so the two biggest jurisdictions were in sync.
The leaders agreed that getting students back into the classroom after two years of disrupted learning was a priority despite the Omicron wave sweeping across Australia.
Both states will provide staff and students with enough rapid antigen tests (RATs) to facilitate twice-weekly surveillance testing during the first four weeks of term one.
In NSW, the state government will provide more than 12 million RATs to over 3150 government and non-government schools and early childhood centre staff.
Schools should receive the first 6 million tests by Wednesday ready to be distributed to parents.
In Victoria, Mr Andrews said a total of 14 million RATs would be delivered across the coming weeks. He said 6.6 million tests will be at school by the time classes start back next week.
In contrast to NSW, Mr Andrews said that there will also be enough RATs to allow students and staff at specialist schools to test for the virus every day to better protect medically vulnerable children against severe illness.
Schools will no longer close in NSW or Victoria if a student tests positive for the virus – and there will be no contact tracing for students or staff.
Catholic Schools NSW CEO Dallas McInerney said parents can be “very confident” the NSW Government’s back-to-school plan ensures their child’s learning journey continues as best it can amid external circumstances, says
Catholic Schools NSW boss backs government back-to-school plan (Sky News Australia)