The government's failure to consult with education staff, unions or disability advocates over its Term 3 COVID-safe schools plan is causing angst, as stress levels among teachers reportedly remain "at an all-time high".
Under the new plan, school camps and overnight excursions are back and masks are not mandatory, however, classroom ventilation, outdoor learning, cleaning and physical distance requirements will be maintained.
It signals a return to pre-pandemic schooling where "regular school and learning activities will continue in a COVID-safe manner".
The plan states that students with disability and complex health needs will continue to be supported by individual learning plans, but the minimal detail and consultation on the issue has been criticised by Tasmanian disability advocate Kristen Desmond.
Ms Desmond said children with disabilities were still unable to attend school due to the risk of COVID-19, and specific strategic planning for this cohort of children was needed.
She said it was an equity issue, and about ensuring students with disability got the same learning opportunities as those without disabilities.
"Ignoring students with disability doesn't mean they don't exist," Ms Desmond said.
"We still have a lot of vulnerable children in our school and if the government is saying that the best place for them is at school, then what are they doing to actively ensure students with disability are safe," Ms Desmond said.
"We have learning plans in place, and that is fine, but we need a broader strategic plan on how they can be educated if they can't be at school, or an active plan on how the school system should keep kids with disability safe."
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Australian Education Union state president David Genford said the latest plan occurred without teacher and union consultation.
"Although the Public Health emergency measure is over, the government still has health and safety responsibilities to teachers, staff and students," Mr Genford said.
"Educator workloads and stress levels are at an all-time high, while increased staff absences this year remains a significant concern. Also concerning is the level of catch-up work that's required following student absences," he said.
"We're now seeing senior staff and principals forced to fill gaps, contently meaning other crucial work is not getting done."
Education Minister Roger Jaensch said it was important that schools continued to stay open.
"This next plan builds on everything we have learnt and implemented in the first half of the school year and since the start of the pandemic," he said.
"In Term 3, Tasmanian government schools will be able to support a wider range of school activities compared to the start of the school year, including the return of intrastate school camps and overnight excursions."
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