Greens Leader Adam Bandt, Greens Education spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi and Greens Health spokesperson Jordon Steele-John have joined teachers and parents calling for a national COVID Safe Schools action plan as students return to schools in NSW, Victoria and the ACT and public health restrictions are eased across the country.
The Greens want the Commonwealth to work with states and territories to ensure proper ventilation audits of schools, installation of HEPA filters and air quality monitoring and proper social distancing and mask wearing requirements are implemented as schools open up.
Medical experts have called for a national strategy and warned about spread of the virus in schools and increased illness amongst students, teachers and their families unless proper COVID-safe measures are implemented.
The OZ Sage medical expert group has warned that 1–3% of unvaccinated children could be hospitalised without proper protections. Currently children under 12 are not eligible for vaccination. Long COVID is likely to be experienced by large numbers of kids.
Greens Leader Adam Bandt MP said:
“The Prime Minister and National Cabinet must act. Schools are starting to open across NSW and Victoria and the virus is likely to circulate through zero COVID states. We need to ensure kids and teachers are protected as much as possible. There needs to be a national plan.”
Greens education spokesperson Mehreen Faruqi said:
“It’s important that school children are back in the classroom as soon as practicable, but we have to make sure it’s safe. School communities are understandably concerned. There must be Commonwealth support and coordination for all states and territories to implement comprehensive measures across all schools.”
Greens health spokesperson Jordon Steele-John said:
“We have already seen the virus spread through schools in Australia, and as schools have opened up in Europe and the United States, we’ve seen the virus spread.
“Vaccination of teenagers and teachers is not enough to ensure all school children are looked after. We need to address ventilation and other protections including masks in all schools, at all ages.
“NSW Parliament added ventilation when politicians returned to the building. If we are making these changes for politicians, we must urgently do it for our kids.”