Free rapid antigen testing will be done on NSW students as major changes are expected to be made in the way Australian children return to school.
NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell told Radio 2GB on Tuesday morning that schools across the state would have access to free tests before the first quarter.
It occurs when reports suggest that students in the state may have to take two quick tests at home each week before going to the classroom under Covid safety measures.
State governments are also considering asking parents to supervise students, as Covid-infected teachers work remotely.
The NSW Independent Schools Association on Monday informed NSW private school principals and told them that up to 20% of staff could be ill at the same time due to the rise in Omicron infections.
Meanwhile, NSW private school principals were informed on Monday by the Independent Schools Association and told them that up to 20% of staff could be ill at one school at a time due to the increase in Omicron infections.
Staff were told that parents could volunteer to supervise those in the classroom while educators taught from home, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Parents will not be able to teach students, but they should follow early childhood education programs.
Meanwhile, as the first term begins in NSW and Victoria in the coming weeks, the NSW government is considering a plan that would allow each parent to give enough RAT to test each student twice a week before school.
Those who are negative may continue to attend school while infected students will have to be isolated for a week, the Herald reported.
NSW has imported 1.2 million RAT kits in preparation. However, some RAT 24 million would be required to test each student twice a week for a ten-week term.
Victoria is also leaning towards a model of surveillance testing, but neither state has finalized its plans.
Authorities expect NSW infections to peak, but Health Director Dr Kerry Chant warned on Monday that deaths were expected to rise.
NSW directors have also been told that activities considered high risk, such as hiking, sporting events and singing, could go ahead if they had their own security plans against Covid.
Last week, teachers threatened a boycott after Scott Morrison announced that they should stay in the classroom even if they were close contact.
Teachers have threatened to boycott after Scott Morrison announced that they should stay in the classroom even though they are in close contact with Covid-19.
Mr Morrison on Thursday announced a series of drastic changes to Covid’s isolation and close contact rules to curb staff shortages.
Teachers and daycare workers are now exempt from the rules of close contact isolation, while Canberra staff have been told to keep classrooms open even during Omicron outbreaks.
Australian Education Union President Correna Haythorpe called the changes “deeply offensive” while saying staff had been treated as “kangaroos”.
“As a result, the AEU would advise our members that if they feel vulnerable as close contact or are concerned about the potential risk to others, they should not go to a school setting,” he said.
“All that the Prime Minister offered was an announcement that there would be another announcement, delivered within a framework that says schools need to be open to provide a babysitting service for the general workforce. .
Ms Haythorpe said the changes endangered the well-being of students and teachers.
“This is deeply offensive and shows no respect for the thousands of dedicated and professional teachers, principals and education support staff who have worked incredibly hard to provide a high quality education during the extremely difficult circumstances of the pandemic.”
The NSW / ACT branch of the Australian Independent Education Union added that exempting teachers from isolation rules could lead to further class closures.
The new rules of isolation also apply to anyone working in the food supply sector, as well as in the transport, freight and logistics industries whose role is considered critical.
Critics say relaxed rules are likely to lead to even more positive cases, amplifying the supply chain crisis, as quick tests do not detect someone’s infection for several days, meaning they could be negative, but still be infectious.
Mr Morrison on Thursday announced a series of radical changes to Covid’s isolation and close contact rules to curb staff shortages in schools.