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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 13 Hansard (Tuesday, 30 November 2021) . . Page.. 3845 ..

have been extraordinary this year—continuing to provide an excellent education to our children through some of the most difficult circumstances, I think we can all agree.

Everyone working in education has gone above and beyond. School admin staff have supported teaching teams and families through rapid change. BSOs and maintenance staff have kept school facilities functioning. School leaders have been steering their ships and keeping communities feeling hopeful and united.

Allied health professionals have continued to help students access learning and have supported wellbeing for our children. School cleaners, who we were really pleased to have welcomed into the public service, have done an incredible job this year in keeping our communities safe. Of course, the support staff in the Education Directorate have been liaising with health officials at all hours of the day every day, setting up pop-up testing clinics, delivering Chromebooks, developing remote education, administering additional funding and, throughout everything, keeping on delivering government policies like building new schools for our city.

After the year that we have had, it is great to see that we can come together in a COVID-safe way to celebrate, with graduations, formals and other end-of-year events.

DR PATERSON: Minister, how are schools implementing the health advice to keep these events COVID-safe?

MS BERRY: As I said, it has been great to be able to get together again in a COVID-safe way to celebrate the end of the year; but, of course, we need to maintain vigilance. The Chief Health Officer has developed COVID-safe guidelines for all of our end-of-year events. Public schools are following these guidelines very closely. The guidelines require that every event has a COVID safety plan and follows the broader community COVID requirements.

I want to acknowledge that there will be students and families who will not be able to attend these events because they have been identified as close contacts or because they have developed symptoms. I know it is heartbreaking that they will not be able to celebrate these milestones with their peers. But I am sure that they will find a way to celebrate at home.

The Education Directorate has developed a guide to virtual end-of-year events, which also has lots of great ideas for celebrating remotely. Also, if everybody is doing the right thing, we will keep making sure that our community can remain safe.

MR HANSON: Minister, is it true that teachers are being exploited by this government, as the AEU assert in their recent teacher survey report?

Ms Berry: Madam Speaker, I seek your advice on whether that question is relevant and in line with the questions that have been asked. Of course, I have mentioned teachers, but it is a bit vague.

Mr Hanson: On the point of order, Madam Speaker, on relevance—

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