Students who attend ACT public schools and are household contacts of COVID-positive cases are still required to follow first term stay-at-home rules and will continue to wear masks on campus despite Tuesday's changing rules.
Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith on Thursday, April 21, announced that household contacts of COVID-positive cases will be able to go back to work and study in certain circumstances from 11.59pm on Tuesday, April 26.
Household contacts can now mix with the community if they are asymptomatic and return a negative COVID test 24 hours beforehand, and can return to work if they can't do so from home and have an agreement with their workplace.
While the ACT government has removed the mandate for masks in schools, the Education Directorate requires ACT public schools to continue previous COVID safety protocols for at least the first two weeks of Term 2.
Director-General of ACT Education Katy Haire says schools and childcare centres need to consider the implications of the new rules for the community.
"The Education Directorate will consult with unions, and other public school stakeholders, about workplace health and safety measures for the rest of the term," she said.
"Public schools will communicate directly with staff, parents and carers, as COVID safety measures are adjusted."
Here's what is required of students in the ACT.
Can my child go to school if someone in the house has COVID?
If they attend a public school, not for the first fortnight at least.
This is still relevant if your child is experiencing no COVID symptoms and is receiving negative test results.
The Education Directorate is working closely with unions and other public school stakeholders about what measures are to be taken for the rest of the term, and will inform school communities accordingly.
Does my child have to wear a mask to school?
Again yes, for at least the first two weeks of term.
Even though ACT Health has dropped the mask mandate for schools, the Education Directorate has extended its policy to make them mandatory during this time.
Masks are no longer required at Catholic schools in Canberra, and other non-government schools will inform staff and families of their requirements going forward.
Where can I get rapid antigen tests (RATs) for my kids?
RATs will be available at ACT public schools for students on request.
Alternatively, they can be bought at pharmacies, chemists and supermarkets all over Canberra.
People who are experiencing financial hardship can also collect RATs from Garran and Mitchell COVID-19 testing centres.
People who hold eligible Commonwealth concession cards are able to access up to 10 free RATs over a three month period through community pharmacies.
The Find A Rat website can also help locate where to find RATs in your area.
If you or your child are experiencing COVID symptoms, do not go into schools to collect rapid antigen tests, and consider doing a PCR instead.
Will my child's school go to remote learning?
As schools brace for winter COVID-19 waves, switches to online learning may be implemented to tackle teacher shortages and hinder any spread of the virus.
Switches to remote learning at this point in time will be temporary and situational.
What is happening with non-government schools?
It is up to each school to decide.
Canberra's non-government schools will contact staff and families with their intentions for Term 2 going forward.
Catholic schools in the ACT are no longer requiring masks, and will be assessing household contacts separately to determine whether it is appropriate for them to attend school.
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