SA Cases Rise As Teachers Threaten Strike Action Ahead Of School Return
Finding a ‘middle ground’
South Australia reported 3829 new infections on Monday.
It marks a slight rise in cases from 3450 detected the day before, however it is still significantly below the numbers recorded late last week.
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The new cases were detected from 969 at-home RATs and 2,860 from PCR swabs collected from state-run hubs.
There are currently 227 people in hospital with Covid, while 26 of those are in ICU and five patients are on ventilators.
SA premier Steven Marshall, on Monday warned against complacency as students across the state prepare for a return to school.
It comes amid teachers threatening strike action.
However, Mr Marshall says its “too early” to for strike action, instead spruiking the government would find a “middle ground” with teachers, schools, and unions.
"We still haven’t finalised what that return-to-work strategy will look like ... We’ve got provision in place for teachers to be able to return to work," he said.
"We would really like to get a handle on what’s going to go through national cabinet on Thursday this week with regard to rapid antigen tests, but I am confident we’ll be able to find a middle course…"
"I think we’ve got the balance right," he said. "We want to work with teachers, principals … we want to navigate a way through."
Concerned over being forced into rolling periods of isolation, the executive of the Australian Education Union SA met on Monday to discuss the response to Covid back-to-school rules.
Announced last week, the rules outlined that if a student in a class has Covid they must not attend school, while close contact teachers and classmates should continue to attend classes unless they become ill.
Despite a vague explainer that rapid antigen tests (RATs) will be part of the process, AEU SA president Andrew Gohl said there was a concerning lack of detail.
“Imagine a class with 29 students; over a term maybe five might contract Omicron,” Mr Gohl said.
“Those cases are likely to be staggered but the teacher sails through because they’re fully vaccinated."
“But they’re considered a close contact so when they go home, they’re required to isolate – and over a term that may be three or four stretches of 10 days," he explained.
“So, for weeks they go to work but can’t see their own family at home. It’s absurd.”
- Mr Gohl
Schools are due to start on February 2 with a staggered system.
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