COVIDSafe in schools

Safety: Lowanna Principal Adam Hogan holds rapid antigen tests.

Alyssa Fritzlaff

THE start of the school year has looked a little different for Victorian students.

Latrobe Valley schools, and schools all over the state have been doing their best to create the safest environment possible.

More than 6.6 million rapid antigen tests (RATs) are being delivered to schools this term and 51,000 air purification devices were delivered to government and low-fee non-government schools across the state on Monday, January 31.

All students in Grade 3 and above are required to wear masks, although they will not be required to be worn outdoors.

Premier Daniel Andrews said making sure face-to-face learning continues is the priority.

“Face-to-face learning is the best option for our kids’ learning and wellbeing – that’s why we’ve done the work to get students safely back in the classroom from the start of Term 1, and make sure they stay there,” he said.

At the end of Term 4 last year, 99.7 per cent of school staff were double vaccinated in Victoria.

Local schools are doing their bit to ensure the safety of staff, students and their families,
including Newborough-based secondary school Lowanna College.

Principal Adam Hogan said the school received RATs and air purifiers from the state government.

“Each student and staff member received a five pack of RAT tests… we received 41 air purifiers at the start of this year, one for each classroom,” he said.

As recommended by the state government, students at Lowanna are required to take two
RAT tests each week, and are required to report any positive results to the school.

The school is implementing tactics to increase classroom ventilation through using air purifiers, opening doors and wearing masks whenever indoors.

“We are really excited to have the students back, and the Department of Education has indicated that a return to remote learning is unlikely – we welcome that,” Mr Hogan said.

“We are looking forward to the return to normality.”