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Pandemic preparation for school starting

Back to school Source: Getty images

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

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, including 6.6 million before the first week of term one.

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."


 

Highlights

  • The Victorian Government has announced twice weekly rapid antigen testing and mandatory COVID-19 booster shots will form part of the state's strategy to avoid another year of remote learning.
  • Six million rapid test kits expected to be available for distribution by Wednesday. 
  • Some parents remained concerned about how the safety measures may affect their children.

Under the plan, medically vulnerable students and teachers at specialist schools will be urged to have tests five days a week.

More than 50,000 air purification devices have been ordered and will be delivered to government and low-fee non-government schools in time for the start of Term One.

Deputy Premier James Merlino says purifiers in classrooms, alongside staff vaccination mandates and masks for years three and above, are all considered to be strong lines of defence against the virus.

New South Wales has released an almost identical plan after collaboration between the states. Premier Dominic Perrottet says keeping children in school is his number one priority.

"We all know kids do better at school, not just from an educational perspective but from a mental health and social outcome perspective. It is where our kids learn the best and where opportunity is created."

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