Genuine concerns of parents and teachers must be addressed in Minister’s absence

Tasmanian Labor

Serious questions need to be addressed today by the Premier about what genuine efforts have been made to prepare Tasmania’s schools for COVID in the continuing absence of Education Minister Sarah Courtney.

Shadow Education Minister Josh Willie said with Ms Courtney remaining on holidays, the Premier needs to provide a comprehensive return-to-school plan and guarantee all safety work has been undertaken on school buildings when he addresses the Tasmanian school community after National Cabinet today.

“While Ms Courtney remains on holidays, it’s up to the Premier now to give genuine assurances that the work she promised would be done has been done,” Mr Willie said.

“That must include a plan to keep vulnerable students and students with a disability safe and engaged in an inclusive curriculum.

“It needs to outline what is being done to make vaccinations more accessible for five to 11 year olds to increase the rates before Term One begins on February 9.

“The Gutwein Government needs to provide specific detail about how many free rapid antigen tests will be available to students and staff and how many N95 masks or similar masks will be distributed.

“The government needs to finally release the Department of Education COVID safety audit and outline how much from the government’s $300 million COVID fund has been spent on school upgrades.

“Close contact guidelines for students and school staff need to be outlined.

“And the government must tell the school community if they have a plan for enough staff to keep schools operational or do they have an alternate plan?

“With Ms Courtney not on the job, Premier Peter Gutwein must provide this detail and give an absolute undertaking that every effort has been taken to keep students and staff safe and every effort has been made to ensure the work has been done.”

Josh Willie MLC

Shadow Minister for Education and Early Years

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