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Release the schools audit and prove the COVID work has been done

With the start of the school year approaching as COVID cases continue to rapidly escalate, Education Minister Sarah Courtney needs to provide evidence that the work needed to ensure schools are safe has been done.

Shadow Education Minister Josh Willie said rather than merely attempt to provide families and teachers with flimsy assurances, Ms Courtney and the government must release the COVID safety schools audit carried out by her department last year which showed what upgrades needed to be carried out on school buildings.

“If Ms Courtney has done the work that needs to be done, the most sensible thing to do to give actual assurance to the school community is to release the report and provide proof that the work has been done,” Mr Willie said.

“If Ms Courtney cannot do that, she must let parents and teachers know if there is an alternative plan for Term One.

“Parents and staff need to be making plans now for the possibility that face to face classes will be delayed and kids will once again be schooled from home.

“Has Ms Courtney’s department carried out upgrades, including ensuring all windows are working as intended?

“Will 1,000 air purifiers be enough for over 200 Tasmanian government schools and Child and Family Centres?

“How much from the government’s $300 million COVID fund has the government spent on school upgrades and will every school be upgraded to be COVID safe on day one of Term One?

“What is the government’s plan to keep vulnerable students and students living with a disability safe and engaged in an inclusive curriculum?

“Will there be enough rapid antigen tests available to ensure students and staff are virus free?

“Will there be enough staff to keep schools operational?

“Ms Courtney had months to do the work before the government opened the border to COVID and we witnessed the government’s flimsy plans crumble under pressure in other sectors.

“Now is the time to provide evidence that she has done the work or tell parents if there is a plan for school not to resume on February 9.”

Josh Willie MLC  
Shadow Minister for Education and Early Years