Monday, October 3, 2022

Thousands of SA students return to face-to-face learning as three COVID-19 deaths reported

South Australian school students have returned to face-to-face learning for the first time since last year, with authorities urging parents to keep children at home and get tested if they have COVID-like symptoms.

For the past two weeks, years 2–6 and 9–11 have been learning online as part of the state’s staggered return to the classroom aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.

Paralowie R-12 School year 5 student Chloe Gough is among thousands of students looking forward to face-to-face learning, leaving her tablet computer behind.

“Because I don’t get the full understanding of the whole lesson, it’s been a bit hard,” she said.

Year 11 Reynella East College student Lucy McDonald said she was feeling nervous but happy to be back in the classroom.

“You go there and you know what you’re going to do and you get to see your friends,” she said.

“At home, you know, you sign in and do your own thing, which is good in a way, but it’s going to be great to get back into that routine.”

‘Anxious’ parents reassured by principals

South Australian Secondary Principals’ Association chief executive Jayne Heath said parents and students should feel reassured schools were doing all they could to keep them safe.

“I think it’s really important to acknowledge that parents will possibly be feeling anxious about the return to school today,” Ms Heath said.

A woman with a child
Year 1 student Swythyn Rosario with mother Helen Rosario at Rose Park Primary School.,ABC News: Evelyn Manfield,

Education Minister John Gardner said parents should do whatever they could to help keep COVID-19 cases out of the classroom.

“Given the desire we all have to keep our community safe and continue the learning in our schools, it’s never been more important to keep your kids home if they are sick or displaying symptoms,” he said.

He said fewer than 1 per cent of students had been absent from school because of COVID-19 so far this year.

“That includes, I suspect, a majority of cases, but not all, who’ve contracted COVID in the community or in the household, as well as those who are also close contacts,” he said.

Three COVID-19-related deaths were reported today.

One of them died on January 7 and two died on January 19, Premier Steven Marshall said.

There were 1,027 new positive cases — the lowest since December 28, while 214 are in hospital, including 18 in intensive care and five on ventilators.

About 2,900 people aged 19 or under contracted COVID-19 last week, according to SA Health, out of about 9,000 new cases overall.

A boy rides a scooter across a school crossing
Year 7 students will attend South Australian public high schools from this year.,ABC News,

No spike but capacity at hospitals

Mr Marshall said authorities were not predicting a dramatic spike in numbers, but thousands of temporary relief teachers were on stand-by to cover staff who caught COVID-19 and the health system had capacity for children who need care.

“We have got plenty of capacity within our Women’s and Children’s Hospital,” he said.

“I think we’ve only had one child in intensive care in hospital with COVID in the entire pandemic.”

SA Health reported two deaths from COVID-19 yesterday, along with 1,165 new cases, the second lowest number this year.

With school returning, the Royal Automobile Association is expecting traffic to return to levels seen in January 2020, with just over 4 million cars passing through monitored intersections around Adelaide today.

Public transport use has also increased, with daily bus, train and tram trips at their highest level in the past two years.

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Data shows many older Australians haven’t had their booster

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