Arrangements for the start of the new school year in South Australia will be finalised by the end of next week but parents have been warned to expect disruptions because of the surge in COVID-19 cases.
Premier Steven Marshall said authorities are looking at “all and every opportunity” to have students return to school.
“It is our absolute preference to get students back to school because we know they have much better learning outcomes in that face-to-face environment,” he said on Friday.
“But we need to consider this return to school in light of the Omicron variant and in light of the vaccination status (of students).”
Mr Marshall said there was more data and information to collect and still “lots of moving parts”, but promised the government would reveal its plans by the end of next week.
Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said it was likely that there would be teachers, support staff and students with the virus.
“So we could say quite clearly there is going to be disruption and it’s not going to be such a straightforward start to the school year,” she said.
“There will be quite a number of children who may be too sick to go to school, so it’s advantageous that there is some online learning.
“But the best type of education is face-to-face and we’ve been working to make the schools as safe as we possibly can.”
SA’s public schools are due to return on January 31, three weeks after the first children aged five to 11 are able to receive the vaccine.
That means if schools resume almost all primary school students will not be fully vaccinated and many could still be waiting to have their first jab.