Mandatory face masks and on-demand rapid antigen test kits will form the strategy of Queensland’s back to school plan released today.
Starting from February 7, the plan will see mandatory mask wearing for all staff in all schools and for all high school students.
Masks are “strongly encouraged” for students in Years 3 to 6 and will be supplied to primary schools.
Unlike Victoria and New South Wales, Queensland will not ask students to conduct twice-weekly rapid antigen tests as a form of surveillance testing.
Instead, rapid antigen tests will be made available to schools for use on students and staff who develop COVID-19 symptoms while on site.
If a member of a school community develops COVID-19 symptoms while at home, they can attend a local Queensland Health testing clinic where they will be given priority access to a rapid antigen test.
or the first four weeks of on-site learning from February 7 to March 4, all school camps, excursions, assemblies and large gatherings are suspended.
Visitors to schools will be limited with the exception of parents and carers of students experiencing vulnerability, and all students attending Early Childhood Development Programs, Kindergarten, Prep or Year 1.
“Teachers can remove their masks to teach and students can remove them when seated. And like I said, masks will be available at school,” Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
“It’s really important to the whole school community, if you are sick, stay at home. Don’t go to school. Just like we say in the workplace – if you are sick, don’t go to work.”
If a student becomes symptomatic at school, they will be isolated from the rest of the community and their parents will be contacted to collect them.
If a staff member becomes symptomatic at school, they will leave immediately and will be provided with a RAT to administer at home.