SA grapples with school return amid virus


South Australia is grappling with how to manage the new school year amid a surge in coronavirus cases which could peak around the start of term one.

SA reported a record 2552 new virus infections on Monday and has more than 14,000 active cases.

Premier Steven Marshall says modelling is being prepared in regards to when the current outbreak could peak and he’s expecting it to hit before the end of January.

That could put it close to the start of the new school year on January 31.

Mr Marshall said officials were looking at every option for schooling and would hopefully be in a position soon to provide parents with an update.

He said SA had also asked for some standard advice to all states from Australia’s chief medical officer.

“It is something we are concerned about but we are not in a position yet to let parents know how that (the return to school) is going to occur,” the premier said.

“Obviously, people learn better in a face-to-face setting.

“But we do have a responsibility to make sure that we keep our students and our staff protected.”

SA has previously used remote learning during COVID-19 lockdowns but has largely kept schools open so far during the pandemic.

It moved quickly to have students aged 12 and over vaccinated towards the end of 2021 and will begin the vaccine rollout for those aged five to 12 from January 10.

But with the paediatric doses to be staged eight weeks apart, those students will be due to head back to the classroom well before receiving their second jab.



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