AEU Tasmania response on schools COVID plan for Weeks 6-10

The plan for continued COVID safety measures in Tasmanian schools, while welcome, fails to deliver on a number of key areas.

Australian Education Union Tasmania President David Genford said the Gutwein Government has been unable to provide schools with the promised 1700 relief, proper ventilation in classrooms and upgraded outdoor learning spaces.

“The AEU welcomes a continuation of safety measures – only agreed to after strong union advocacy – such as free masks and Rapid Antigen Tests, auditing and repairs to windows and air purifiers in classrooms,” Mr Genford said.

“However, it’s clear much more needs doing to safeguard Tasmanian schools.

“We have continuing relief teacher shortages, classrooms without adequate ventilation and upgrades to outdoor learning spaces are yet to be announced, let alone completed.

“Action to prepare for cooler months is required now – by the time outdoor learning spaces are upgraded, it will be too cold to use them.

“The State Government needs to commit to a full ventilation audit of schools and colleges and fund the upgrades to indoor spaces that ensure students and staff have safe places to learn and work.”

The Morrison Liberal Government contributes nothing to public school infrastructure and it’s time for that to change, Mr Genford said.

“Ensuring every classroom is safe, ventilated and warm enough in winter requires urgent action and funding now, not when it’s too cold and too late,” he said.

“Where is Scott Morrison when our students need him? Properly ventilated classrooms are not just safer in a COVID environment, they are good for learning and general health.”