SA Premier rules out longer Easter school holidays to counter COVID-19 outbreaks in schools


South Australia’s premier quickly shut down any talk of public schools ending term one a week early due to COVID-19 pressures.

The Australian Education Union said yesterday the early closure was necessary to help schools and teachers regroup after a chaotic opening of the year which saw thousands of pupils and teachers absent for reasons related to the COVID.

However, Peter Malinauskas said starting the school holidays earlier didn’t make sense.

He said it wouldn’t happen “if I have anything to do with it – and I do”.

“I just can’t accept the idea of ​​extending the school holidays for an entire week,” he told ABC Radio Adelaide.

“The number of disruptions that would cause parents, cause students, cause people who don’t have a fixed income, which is to say they might not be public servants.”

He said he spoke to Department for Education chief executive Rick Persse last night to explain his views.

Yesterday Mr Persse said extending the Easter school holidays was ‘in the mix’ and that he planned to discuss it with new Education Minister Blair Boyer.

Department figures show 491 teachers were absent on Wednesday because they had COVID-19, were self-isolating or caring for someone else — about 200 more than at the start of the month.

Another 287 non-teaching staff were absent.

Of all public school students, 3.5% had COVID-19 or were in isolation as of Wednesday.

Australian Education Union state chairman Andrew Gohl had called for all four days of week 11 (April 11-14) to be declared student-free days.

South Australia recorded 4,742 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, the second highest number of daily cases on record since the start of the pandemic.

Two other men with COVID-19 died, one in his 60s and the other in his 60s.

A meeting of the Cabinet sub-committee of the Emergency Management Council will discuss the relaxation of close contact rules this morning.

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