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COVID-19 - Mask Mandate in Schools

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 1 June 2022

Tags: COVID-19, Schools


Daily COVID 19 case numbers remain very high. Another 829 people reported being infected yesterday. More then 150 000 Tasmanians have been infected since the borders opened - more than double what you projected. Of these, nearly 50 000 are children. So far, 40 per cent of primary and high school students have been infected. Meanwhile, evidence builds every week about the disabling long-term complications that can follow COVID 19 infection.

Young people have their whole lives ahead of them. Do you agree we should do everything we can to prevent them from contracting this airborne virus? Will you rule out removing the mask-wearing requirement for high school students and introduce mask wearing in primary schools?



Mr Speaker, I thank the member, Dr Woodruff, for her question. I understand her concern with respect to the pandemic and COVID 19, and her advocacy in terms of restrictions, mask wearing -

Greens members - Protections.

Mr ROCKLIFF - Protections. We have consistently said that we will follow Public Health advice and we have done. As I have said previously, I get the data from the day every single night and my heart sinks when I see deaths recorded, with COVID-19 or of COVID 19. Thankfully, our hospitalisations and death rates are comparatively low compared to the rest of the country. I know that brings no comfort to the many Tasmanians who have passed away as a result of, or with COVID 19. My condolences to their families, friends and loved ones.

We have consistently followed Public Health advice -

Dr Woodruff - There are protections that can keep children safe - 50 000 children.

Mr SPEAKER - Order.

Mr ROCKLIFF - Others states have not, Dr Woodruff, as you well know. There has been some separation between the Public Health equivalent in other states and the Tasmanian Government and other governments. We have worked very closely and been guided by Public Health advice.

Dr Woodruff interjecting.

Mr SPEAKER - Dr Woodruff, order.

Mr ROCKLIFF - We have been consistent in that. You have mentioned masks in primary schools. There are good practical reasons why we do not compulsorily require our primary school students to wear masks. Of course, they can if they wish. We will be following the Public Health advice with respect to high schools as well. As you know, it is still a requirement to wear masks in our high schools. This will continue until we have the discussion with Public Health and their recommendation is to lift that requirement.

I can assure you, Dr Woodruff, that your concerns are not lost on me as Premier and Minister for Health and, indeed, as Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing. We have been consistent in following Public Health advice and we will continue to do so.