Schools to open on 26 May, govt to prioritise testing for staff

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From Tuesday 26 May, all Prep, Grade 1 and Grade 2 students, specialist school students, as well as VCE and VCAL students will return to on-site learning at government schools, the Victorian government announced today.  The government will prioritise all school staff for voluntary coronavirus testing for a two-week period from both mobile and fixed testing sites, starting 12 May. The government also announced 25 May a pupil free day, giving staff, schools and families time to prepare for the change.

Since the beginning of Term 2, most children in Victoria have been learning remotely, limiting the number of people moving around our state every day to help slow the spread of coronavirus.

The reopening of schools before the end of May was announced following advice from Victoria’s Chief Health Officer that it is safe for the community to do so.

“As a father of three kids who have been learning from home, I know this has been a really challenging time for many families but thanks to everyone’s efforts in sticking to the rules and getting tested, we’re now able to start getting our kids back into the classroom,” said Premier Daniel Andrews.

The Victorian Government thanked parents, teachers and staff for their efforts in helping deliver remote and flexible schooling this term and, in doing so, playing a vital role in flattening the curve of this pandemic. “We know remote learning has been challenging, but our principals, teachers, support staff, students and families have done an outstanding job making it work,” said Minister for Education James Merlino.

“Having most of our kids learning from home has made a big contribution to limiting the number of people moving around the community and reduced the spread of the virus”

Vulnerable students in years 3 to 10, and children in those years whose parents or carers cannot work from home, can continue to attend school on-site as needed during this period.

“Having most of our kids learning from home has made a big contribution to limiting the number of people moving around the community and reduced the spread of the virus,” added Andrews following the announcement.

Students in the broader year 3 to 10 cohort will continue to learn remotely until Tuesday 9 June, to give the Government and the Chief Health Officer time to monitor and evaluate the effects that the return to school by other year levels has on the increased movement of people and transmission within the community.

The Government will invest up to $45 million for enhanced cleaning that will occur every day at every school across the state for all of Term 2 and Term 3. This will help to reduce the spread of viruses and germs in schools and will include the cleaning of frequently used high-touch surfaces.

Schools will be encouraged to implement a staggered drop-off system to reduce the number of adults congregating outside the school at any one time, as well as staggered break times to manage the number of students mixing across year levels. Schools will also implement social distancing measures for all adults.

The strict health protocols that are already in place will be followed if a member of the school community tests positive for coronavirus.


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