COVID-19

Major changes announced to masks in schools and SA’s State of Emergency Declaration

South Australia’s Major Emergency Declaration has ended after 793 days and comes in line with the lifting of mask rules in schools.

South Australia’s Major Emergency Declaration has ended after 793 days. The state was placed in a state of emergency in response to the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020 with today’s lifting marking as a significant day in the state’s management of the virus.

Effective immediately, Premier Peter Malinauskas made clear that the lifting of the declaration is only possible following the successful passage of the government’s legislation to amend the Public Health Act in Parliament last week.

“This is an historic and significant moment for our state,” he said.

“{But}, We must remember that the lifting of the Major Emergency Declaration does not mean the pandemic is over. 

“We cannot be complacent. We must maintain vigilance to protect our community – that means getting vaccinated, wearing masks where required, getting tested if unwell, and quarantining while COVID positive.”

The Emergency Management Council also resolved to lift the requirement for masks in schools from next week. Masks will now be strongly recommended, but not required, for all adults, including visitors, and students in years 3 to 12.

Compulsory masks were dropped in primary schools at the end of term one, though they are still recommended, however, high school students were required to maintain their mask-wearing for at least the first four weeks of term two, a period which comes to an end this week and has seen growing anticipation as the date neared closer.

Malinauskas said key factors were taken into consideration upon making the decision including the health advice.

“I am pleased the Emergency Management Council has also resolved to remove the requirement for masks in schools. This is a very positive step forward for students and teachers,” he said.

“We are in a stronger position in our schools after implementing a number of changes including the distribution of air purifiers, ventilation improvements and the establishment of vaccination hubs.”

The State Government has undertaken a number of measures to reduce the risk in schools including deploying an additional 1,195 air purifiers to schools across the state. Natural ventilation improvements have been completed at 50 per cent of schools, with 75 per cent completed by the end of May and all completed by the end of June. 

Compulsory masks were dropped in primary schools at the end of term one, though they are still recommended however high school students were required to maintain their mask-wearing for at least the first four weeks of term two, a period which comes to an end this week and has seen growing anticipation as the date neared closer.

Latest COVID Statistics

New cases today: 3482
Current active cases: 23,279
Hospitalisations: 232
ICU: 9

If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, please seek testing as soon as possible.

Find your nearest testing site at www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/COVIDtesting.

For more information visit https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/ or call the SA COVID-19 Information Line on 1800 253 787

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