Page 45 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 8 February 2022

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I present the following papers:

Status of the Public Health Emergency due to COVID-19—Chief Health Officer Reports—

No 21—December 2021, dated 7 December 2021.

No 22—January 2022, dated 10 January 2022.

No 23—February 2022, dated 7 February 2022.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)—ACT Government response—Ministerial statement, 8 February 2022.

I move:

That the Assembly take note of the ministerial statement.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

COVID-19 pandemic—return to school

Ministerial statement

MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Early Childhood Development, Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister for Women) (11.31): I am very pleased today to address the Assembly during the second week of our school term and report that 83,000 ACT school students are back in the classroom with their teachers and peers.

To ensure that we could return to face-to-face learning during this current Omicron outbreak, many thousands of people have worked together, united by a common purpose for the benefit of our kids—to create a COVID-safe back to school experience. We have seen volunteers, school leaders and educators, and public servants making extraordinary efforts in order to find the best and safest way to return Canberra’s children and young people to the classroom.

I want to make special mention here of the work of principals, teachers and staff in all schools, early childhood workers educating and caring for our youngest students, and those providing out of school hours care. I also express my thanks to Canberra’s parents, carers, children and young people, who have shown incredible resilience, flexibility and kindness, as our schools grapple with the challenge of delivering high-quality education in the midst of a pandemic.

With the current level of community transmission in the ACT and across the country, cases of COVID-19 in our schools are both expected and planned for. Every public school has a COVID safety plan tailored to its own circumstances, staffing arrangements and group of students. These plans prioritise the safety of students and staff, while putting in place a series of measures to minimise the disruption to learning.

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