Below are some points you may like to include when providing feedback on the DoE’s Draft Risk Management Plan.
- Vaccination was central to COVID safety plans and remains strongly recommended by health authorities to protect staff and students in our workplaces.
- People without COVID vaccinations are at a significantly higher risk of severe illness, hospitalisation and death from a virus we know is being transmitted in our workplaces. No additional health and safety measures have been proposed in the draft plan to replace vaccination as a primary protection, so unvaccinated staff would be at an unacceptable risk in education workplaces.
- Masks are essential in reducing the spread of airborne viruses such as COVID-19 and must remain a key measure in continuing COVID safety plans.
- Health experts are increasingly recommending that more effective P2/N95 masks are required to significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19 and these should be made freely and readily available at all education workplaces.
- A full and thorough ventilation audit must be urgently undertaken across all Tasmanian schools and colleges to identify any working environment with unsafe air in a context of high local COVID-19 case numbers and more transmissible variants. It is worth noting that poor air quality negatively affects student learning and the productivity of staff.
- Non-essential large gatherings, especially without measures such as vaccination, respirator (P2/N95) masks and adequate ventilation, should be avoided to minimise the risk of viral transmission.
- The COVID safety measures advocated above require leadership and communication from State Government and the Department of Education to educate school and college communities and support the implementation of health and safety actions.