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South Australia’s new Premier will continue the mask mandate for year 7 to 12 students and staff for the first four weeks of Term 2.
Masks will also be ‘strongly encouraged’ for those students in years 3 to 6.
Peter Malinauskas confirmed the rule will remain during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
‘Wearing masks for kids in schools isn’t convenient and isn’t natural and I certainly feel for our students that are going to continue to wear masks for the next four weeks, but we’re making this decision in their best interests,’ Mr Malinauskas said.
‘This was a difficult decision.. that’s a tough judgment.
‘School was certainly disrupted during term 1, we know (it was) a difficult period for many of our students and many of our teachers.
Newly elected South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas has confirmed that mask mandates will remain across the state
‘Anything that we can do to prevent the consideration of (school closures) is something that we’ve got to keep on the table.
‘Most adults now don’t have to wear masks but our school students will. I don’t particularly like that, but we’re going to do everything we can to relieve students of the mask mandate in four weeks’ time, but do it in a safe way.’
Last month, Australia’s former deputy chief medical officer, Dr Nick Coatsworth warned mask mandates are detrimental to kids’ learning.
‘You’re not actually protecting the kids themselves because it’s a very, very mild disease in children with or without the vaccine,’ he said.
‘It doesn’t stop them from getting very sick because they don’t get very sick.
‘Yes … there’s lots of cases around. The people who are getting very sick with this are the very frail elderly … in nursing homes. Or the people with severe underlying conditions.
‘There is an overemphasis on the risks posed by Covid in a fully-vaccinated population and an overemphasis on the benefits of masking kids.’
Prof Coatsworth explained how he spent a week working in a hospital recently and struggled with wearing a mask.
Students across Australia are preparing to head back to school after the Easter holidays with eased Covid restrictions this week (pictured, students at Tweed Heads Public School)
‘I have trouble communicating with my patients (while wearing a mask),’ he said.
‘It’s hard for them to hear me, it’s hard for them to know who I am, and if that’s hard for me then I can only conclude that it would be detrimental to kids.’
Both Victoria and NSW have already scrapped many Covid rules for kids returning to the classroom.
Students in grades three to six Victoria will no longer be required to wear a mask as they return to classrooms on Tuesday.
The contentious rule, which was criticised by several health experts in the interests of learning outcomes and socialising, was introduced last October.
The Victorian Department of Education and Training still recommends face coverings in school settings, with some students to continue to wear a mask.
School students and staff in NSW no longer need to isolate for seven days if they’re a household or close contact of a positive case (pictured, students return to school in Sydney)
While school staff and volunteers are required to be triple-vaccinated in Victoria, the vaccine requirement for parents and visitors to school grounds has been scrapped.
Previously, visitors had to show proof of two doses, or a vaccination exemption.
Victorian students deemed close contacts of a Covid-19 case will no longer be required to quarantine, as long as additional safety precautions are taken, in line with the requirements of close contacts in NSW schools.
Parents or carers will be asked to notify the school the student is a close contact, with the child required to return a negative RAT five out of seven days.
Meanwhile in NSW, teachers and students will still be able to attend school if someone they live with contracts Covid-19.
They will have to take a rapid antigen test daily before attending and must wear a face mask indoors, with the exception of primary school students for whom face masks are only a strong recommendation.
Source: Daily Mail