October 27, 2021
Sarah Courtney, Minister of Education
Our number one priority since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic has been to keep Tasmanians safe.
Our Reconnecting Tasmania plan will see our borders securely open to all jurisdictions on December 15, when all eligible Tasmanians aged 12 and over have had the opportunity to get vaccinated.
The Tasmanian government ensures that we maintain safeguards in our community, including our schools.
The Ministry of Education recently completed collecting equipment information, including heating, air conditioning and ventilation data, on each building owned by the ministry.
In response to this, we will take a series of actions, including improvements to ventilation, support for the use of air purifiers, improved outdoor learning zones, the provision of face masks, as well as a continued focus on hygiene and social distancing and site management including cleaning.
The government has allocated $ 300 million in our budget to support the COVID response, and we will spend whatever is necessary to support our students in government and non-government schools.
A joint task force is being created with representatives from independent schools in Tasmania and Catholic education in Tasmania, to ensure a multisectoral response to COVID safety in schools.
We know that maximizing natural ventilation in our learning spaces is one of the most effective methods of minimizing the potential spread of COVID-19.
In addition, information on external school windows is being collected over the next two months, with results to be received gradually over this period.
The information gathered will inform corrective work, such as softening and adjusting windows to ensure they perform as intended, to maximize ventilation in indoor environments.
We aim to have this work completed before the start of the school year in February 2022, and where it takes longer, alternative strategies will be put in place.
The Ministry of Education will order air purifiers, the type and quantity of which will be determined based on a needs assessment.
We’ll also look at where we can use outdoor learning zones to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19, which may include installing shade structures, nature-based play areas, outdoor seating and renovation of outdoor common areas.
The government will continue to work closely with public health and schools on this issue and take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of our children.
More press releases from Sarah Courtney
More press releases from the Minister of Education