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Transparency Needed on School Covid Numbers

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 16 February 2022

Tags: Schools, Health, COVID-19, Teachers, Education

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Health spokesperson

On behalf of teachers and the families of Tasmanian school children, we are calling on the Gutwein Government to be transparent about Covid case numbers in schools. 
We’ve heard in the week since school returned of seven outbreaks in schools, but the Government has not revealed how many schools have Covid cases, and how many cases are in each school.

Parents have a right to the full picture, as do teachers. 
Yesterday, case numbers jumped up dramatically from Tasmania’s previous seven day average. We understand around half the reported 625 Covid cases were in school-aged children. This means schools are already spreading Covid among young unvaccinated children, as predicted. 
If those numbers are correct, it shows an average case or two in every school in less than a week. How many cases are expected in another week? 
Are schools notifying parents when there is a case at the school, not just their class? They must do this. 
Teachers need to know what to expect, as do families who will be deciding whether it is safe to send their children to school. 
On every reported measure, the Premier’s school response is designed to underestimate the true number of infected children in a school. This Government has defined a school outbreak as “five cases in one classroom”. Currently, seven schools have been flagged with Covid outbreaks, but there must be countless others with several cases sprinkled across multiple classes in a school. 
Parents wanting to reduce the risk of their child becoming infected and of getting long Covid prior to full vaccination, or to protect vulnerable family members, have no idea when risks in the classroom escalate. 
Premier Gutwein is being purposefully deceptive about the actual positive case numbers in schools.

Peter Gutwein’s Liberal Government has a problem with transparency at the best of times, but the health of children, their families and teaching staff, demands honesty.