School children from Year 7 to Year 12 in South Australia will still be required to wear face masks in the classroom for at least the next four weeks.
Masks will continue to be strongly encouraged for students in Years 3 to 6.
Premier Peter Malinauskas said the “difficult” decision was made in the best interest for all students.
“Mask-wearing for kids in schools isn’t convenient and isn’t natural and I feel for our students who will have to continue to wear masks for the next four weeks, but we’re making this decision in their best interests,” he said.
“This was a difficult decision.. that’s a tough judgment.
“School was certainly disrupted during Term One, we know (it was) a difficult period for many of our students and many of our teachers.
“Anything that we can do to prevent the consideration of (school closures) is something that we’ve got to keep on the table.”
An additional 1000 new air purifiers will also be purchased at a cost of $530,000 within the next four weeks for schools.
Vaccination hubs will also be created in at least 40 South Australian schools targeting students aged five to 11.
An online registration system would also be created.
“We’ve accelerated that for the next four weeks so that when the mask requirement is lifted in schools, we will have mitigated some of the risk,” Mr Malinauskas said.
“Most adults now don’t have to wear masks but our school students will.
“I don’t particularly like that, but we’re going to do everything we can to relieve students of the mask mandate in four weeks’ time, but do it in a safe way.”