NSW Students Encouraged To Wear Face Masks As Covid Cases Spike
New South Wales school students will be advised to wear face masks to avoid the spread of Covid in classrooms during winter.
The NSW Education Department said masks were “strongly encouraged for all staff and students for the first 4 weeks of Term 3.”
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The new direction comes as Covid cases have escalated across the state, with reported teacher sick days currently 30 per cent higher this winter.
Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said on Tuesday that a "four-week blitz" will kick off as schools returned for the first day of Term 3.
Mitchell said mask wearing will be encouraged, while rapid antigen tests (RATs) will be distributed to families.
“We do need to be very clear with our school communities that we are still dealing with Covid in our community, and of course we see that impact in our schools. So from today, a lot of the measures that we’ll be having in place throughout this term, are very similar to what we had in turn two,” Ms Mitchell said at a press conference.
“We’re encouraging mask wearing when you’re indoors when you can’t socially distance and we’re also doing another distribution of rapid antigen tests out to our school communities, so every parent should keep an eye out for that allocation. There’ll be five per student being provided to school.
“We are asking parents to be vigilant. Please keep your children at home if they’re sick. Please use the rapid antigen tests that we’re writing for you," she said.
If follows a move by the Victorian Department of Education, as well as Independent and Catholic schools on Tuesday, advising all staff and students to wear masks for the remainder of Term 3.
But Ms Mitchell said NSW school communities will most likely produce a consistent approach whether the institution be independent, catholic, or public.
“It’s up to individual private schools here in terms of the measures that they put in place, but we’re certainly talking to both the heads of the Catholic and the independent schools.
“I would expect consistency, but obviously, particularly individual private schools, they can make their own judgments and their own determinations about what they do in their school community as individual schools and that’s ultimately a matter for them,” Ms Mitchell said.
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