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Education system needs to be prepared

The State Government must ensure face to face education can, as far as possible, safely continue once Tasmania opens its borders.

Shadow Minister for Education Josh Willie said schools will play a crucial role as Tasmanians emerge from the pandemic.

“With school going back this week it is crucial the government outline its plan for education when our state reopens or if there is an outbreak,” Mr Willie said.

“Ventilation and air purifiers are one way in which the government can help reduce the risk of COVID spreading in schools. It would come as no surprise to Tasmanians that many school buildings are older and may not be designed for adequate airflow or to be COVID safe.”

Mr Willie said other states had been quick to install purifiers and fix other ventilation issues, however apart from a Department of Education audit, it was unknown whether Tasmanian schools had made the necessary upgrades.

“There has been plenty of time to prepare and ensure children and staff are as safe as possible in schools, yet the government has delayed this important measure.

“We know the Victorian Government is investing heavily in measures to reduce the risk of COVID transmission with 51,000 air purification devices to be rolled out to all government and low-fee Catholic schools.

“We have heard very little from Minister for Education Sarah Courtney on what the plan is for Tasmania or what commitment she will make to ensure our schools are COVID safe.  

“Parents are rightly concerned about potential disruptions to education and how our school system will cope living with COVID.

“It’s also crucial school staff are kept safe in what is sure to be a challenging time.

“Delta doesn’t discriminate based on age and it is vital our state is prepared if or when the virus enters our borders.”

Josh Willie MLC  
Shadow Minister for Education