News Coronavirus Masks to stay in South Australian high schools
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Masks to stay in South Australian high schools

South Australia COVID-19
South Australian high school students will have to wear masks in classrooms for another month. Photo: AAP
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South Australian secondary students will be required to wear masks in schools for another month to try to minimise COVID-19 infections.

The state’s Emergency Management Council met on Tuesday and decided to keep mask use in place for the first four weeks of term two starting next week.

Primary school students will not be forced to wear masks but it will be recommended.

All teachers, in both primary and high schools, will be required to wear masks.

Premier Peter Malinauaskas said the decision to keep masks in place for high schools, weeks after dropping more widespread mask use, was a difficult one.

“Wearing masks for kids in schools isn’t convenient,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

“But we’ve made this decision in their best interests.”

The premier said the state government would accelerate work to check on and improve the ventilation status in all schools and was buying another 1000 air purifiers at a cost of about $535,000.

SA also released new modelling on Tuesday which indicated the state could expect to have more than 2000 new infections on a daily basis for some time.

It puts the daily hospitalisation rate at between 180 and 200.

That came as SA reported another 3463 new infections along with seven more deaths.

Health Minister Chris Picton said despite the modeling and the decision on masks in schools, SA remained on track to drop the requirement for COVID-19 close contacts to isolate for seven days.

The change comes into effect from Saturday, bringing SA into line with NSW, Victoria, Queensland and the ACT.

It will come with new rules including a requirement for close contacts of positive cases to take five rapid antigen tests over the seven-day period.

They will be required to wear masks when outside the home, are banned from visiting high-risk settings such as aged care centres, and must tell their employers and any schools they have contact with of their status.

Close contacts will further be urged to avoid any non-essential gatherings or contact with vulnerable people.

If they develop symptoms they must take a PCR test and isolate until receiving the result.

– AAP