- Questions on Notice No 6333
- Assembly59 Parliament First Session
- Asked: 1 December 2021
Question on Notice
Mr Rowswell to ask the Minister for Education — In relation to the presence of COVID-19 at Beaumaris Primary School in November 2021:
(1) Can the Minister provide assurance that every support was extended to the Beaumaris Primary School community to help them during this time.
(2) Can the Minister outline the nature of support offered to the Beaumaris Primary School community.
(3) Can the Minister provide an update on the status of air purifiers for the Beaumaris Primary School community.
- Answered: 10 January 2022
I am informed as follows:
The Andrews Labor Government is making sure the return to onsite learning is as safe as possible, with the biggest investment in education ventilation in Australian history being rolled out across Victorian schools as part of a plan to keep school communities protected with the Three Vs: Ventilation, Vaccination and Vital COVIDSafe Steps.
All government schools, including Beaumaris PS will receive an allocation of air purifiers. The timing of distribution of air purifiers to individual schools is dependent on the delivery schedule of the supplier and the prioritisation of schools is based on public health advice. I am pleased to inform you that Beaumaris primary school will receive their full allocation of 14 air purifiers. These are expected to be delivered before Day 1, Term 1. The air purifiers will assist in removing potentially infectious particles – like coronavirus – from higher-risk areas in schools including staff rooms, sick bays, music rooms and other high traffic areas.
The Department of Health continues to be consulted to confirm the most appropriate prioritisation of air purifiers as deliveries are received by the Department. All schools will receive an email notification within the week prior to when their allocation of air purifiers arrive. The government is expediting the delivery of the devices where possible through the use of air freight, and the Department of Education and Training is continuing to work with the supplier to secure devices earlier than scheduled.
To better support schools to manage coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, the Department of Education and Training and the Department of Health have revised how coronavirus (COVID-19) cases will be managed in schools.
These new processes ensure that schools will close for only 24 hours if necessary, and that communications are streamlined and localised. Consistent with the current advice on how to manage outbreaks, I understand that the Beaumaris Primary School was required to close for 24 hours on two separate occasions to respond to coronavirus (COVID-19) cases. I also understand that the principal was supported with communications for the school community and assistance with completing contact identification and notification.
Schools are also supported with clear advice on their operations via the Schools Operations Guide that is delivered as soon as possible following changes to settings. In addition, the DET Coronavirus webpage includes a wide range of advice for schools, staff, and families: https://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/department/Pages/coronavirus.aspx.
School communities can also access the Department of Education and Training’s coronavirus (COVID-19) hotline on 1800 338 663 for additional support. The hotline operates from 8:30am to 5pm Monday to Friday, and 10am to 3pm Saturday and Sunday.
The safety and wellbeing of students and school staff is of the utmost importance to the Government. Throughout this pandemic, decisions on the operation of Victorian schools have been made on the advice of the Victorian Chief Health Officer. The Department of Education and Training has comprehensive procedures in place with the Department of Health to manage suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in schools.
The Hon James Merlino MP
Minister for Education
Minister for Mental Health