ACT students from preschool to year 10 will continue at-home learning for at least the first four weeks of Term 4, as part of the ACT Government’s roadmap out of lockdown.
The plan is based on advice from the ACT Chief Health Officer, with the potential spread of the Delta variant within school-aged children playing a major part in the decision.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said we’ve already seen the negative impacts of student to student transmission within the Gold Creek School and Lyneham High School communities.
“It also demonstrated the risk associated with then have 20,000 Canberrans in quarantine… and the impact that that had across services delivery, for example in our health system, in police and emergency services and also across the private sector as well.”
Year 12 students, who are set to complete their final exams in Term 4, will be the only group to return to face-to-face learning from the first week of Term 4 on 5 October.
Those students as well teachers and staff were granted the earlier return after having the opportunity to get priority COVID-19 vaccinations over the last few weeks.
Minister Barr said it is critical those returning in week one are protected against COVID-19.
“The risk of going too early, and without parents of school aged kids being vaccinated, is that you’ll have a lot of people in quarantine for a long time and that will have just as much economic disruption and arguably more social impact.”
If the ACT’s COVID-19 situation doesn’t deteriorate, Year 11 students will then return to on-campus learning on 18 October for week three.
Minister Barr said plans to bring other students back to school will be developed over the school holidays.
“Our goal is to get kids back to face to face learning as soon as it is COVID-safe to do so, and we will continue planning for the phased return to on-campus learning for pre-school to year 10 kids in Term 4.”
All schools, out of school hours care and early childhood education and care services will stay open for vulnerable students and for families who can’t have their kids home due to work.
Specialist schools will also remain open.
The ACT Government will continue to keep locals updated on the schooling situation as it develops.