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Pandemic preparation for school starting

A student applies hand sanitiser in NSW. Source: AAP

Victoria has announced its back to school plan with a range of COVID-19 health measures to ensure students can safely return to the classrooms for 2022. While authorities and health experts support the need for children to return to face to face learning, there are concerns that the first term will have a disruptive start.

Students are returning to Victorian classrooms at the end of January after COVID-19 forced many children to experience up to 18 months of broken and remote learning.

The Victorian government has released its back-to-school plan, which includes the delivery of more than 14 million rapid antigen tests to primary and secondary schools.

Premier Daniel Andrews says every measure will be taken to protect staff and students from COVID19.

"The features of schools returning will be twice-weekly rapid antigen testing. That surveillance testing is all about detecting cases, not necessarily every case, that would be almost impossible given the amount of transmission that's in the community, but it's about finding as many cases as we can and shutting down those chains of transmission."

Mr Andrews adds that remote learning will only be used as a last resort.

"It'll be challenging, not everything will go exactly as we hoped, that's the nature of this virus. There's no response that's perfect. But through hard work and goodwill, I'm absolutely confident that we'll get our kids back and keep them there and keep them safe, as safe as we possibly can."

Click on the player at the top of the page to listen to this information in Punjabi.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at https://www.sbs.com.au/language/coronavirus

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