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Premier of Tasmania – Continuing to keep students safe

January 12 2022

Sarah Courtney, Minister of Education

The Department of Education is working closely with Public Health as we prepare for students to return to school on February 9.

The department is currently implementing a range of measures in schools including natural ventilation improvements, air purifiers, enhanced outdoor learning and additional cleaning arrangements to ensure student safety.

This included the department’s evaluation of the school’s external windows.

The intent was to inform the window repair work that needs to be done to improve ventilation in our schools, with the majority of the work completed before school starts in Semester 1.

Maintenance contractors conducted site-by-site inspections and identified needed repairs and communicated this to management when assessments were made.

I have learned that of the 12,329 rooms surrounding the schools, 2,614 rooms require repairs, with a total of 8,018 windows requiring repair.

The bulk of this work will occur while schools are closed for the summer holidays, and is now in the pipeline with the majority of repairs completed before the first term begins.

The department has received 1,000 air purifiers, more than 800 of which have already been delivered to schools and more air purifiers will be received and distributed before the start of term, with an additional 3,500 to be received before the start of the first term.

Air purifiers will be available for use in learning areas where natural ventilation is not sufficient.

This followed work undertaken earlier last year in which facility information including heating, cooling and ventilation data was collected on each department-owned building, which was used to update the department’s asset management system.

This construction work and the purchase of air purifiers complement measures already implemented in schools such as social distancing, hand hygiene practices and additional cleaning of school sites.

In addition, I have learned that the AHPPC is currently preparing advice for the National Cabinet to consider forming a national position and a national vision regarding the reopening of the school.

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