1 November 2021

UPDATED: Positive COVID-19 case was on site last week at a Tuggeranong school

| Lottie Twyford
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Wanniassa School Junior Campus

A COVID-positive case attended the school three days last week. Photo: Facebook.

UPDATED 5 pm: A positive COVID-19 case was on site last week at Wanniassa School (Junior Campus), ACT Health has confirmed.

A spokesperson said ACT Health was notified yesterday (31 October) that an individual with COVID-19 was on site at Wanniassa School (Junior Campus) while unknowingly infectious on Wednesday 27 October, Thursday 28 October and Friday 29 October.

Direct communication from ACT Health and the ACT Education Directorate regarding the details of the exposure has been provided to the school community, the spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for the ACT Education Directorates said the entire Junior Campus, including the Preschool, was closed today to all students and affected areas of the school are being cleaned.

As the Senior Campus was not impacted, this was open as normal.

Further information has been sought regarding when the school will reopen.

The news follows a positive case at Ainslie School last week.

Yvette Berry

Minister for Education Yvette Berry has confirmed that 98 per cent of teachers and 97 per cent of school staff have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

UPDATED 2 pm: As all students across the ACT today returned to school, so too did the first-dose vaccine mandate for teachers and school staff come into force.

The ACT Government has confirmed that 98 per cent of school teachers and 97 per cent of school staff in primary and early childhood settings have received at least one dose of a vaccine and were able to continue to work as usual today.

It was previously estimated 97 per cent of teachers were either fully-vaccinated or intended to be.

Speaking on ABC Radio earlier today, Minister for Education Yvette Berry said these high vaccination rates had been expected and were “in line with what Canberrans have done in regard to vaccination rates”.

While Ms Berry did not have exact figures on how many people would need to be redeployed, she said very few Education Directorate staff had a medical exemption from vaccination.

Under the vaccine mandate, staff will need to show proof of full vaccination by 29 November.

Last week, three schools in the region – Ainslie School, Queanbeyan West Public School and Queanbeyan South Public School – were closed down for deep cleaning and contact tracing after positive cases attended campus.

Today, Ms Berry sought to reassure parents and carers schools are safe.

“We’ve been doing everything the Chief Health Officer has recommended we do and our schools are as safe as possible,” she said.

READ ALSO More students headed back to class today in the ACT, but what will the rest of Term 4 look like?

A spokesperson for the ACT Education Directorate previously said that any ACT public school staff who choose not to be vaccinated would be supported to work from home where suitable duties can be identified.

Otherwise, they would be redeployed to suitable duties within the Education Directorate or broader public service.

Charnwood-Dunlop Primary School principal Rob Lans made headlines earlier this month when he appeared in a video alongside One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts speaking out against the vaccine mandate.

It’s since been revealed that Mr Lans will now “be taking some time out of the classroom”.

The current mandate for teachers is limited to those who come into contact with children aged under 12, and Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman indicated several weeks ago that this could be dropped when the under-12 cohort can be vaccinated.

ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith.

Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith said the disability worker vaccine mandate had been pushed back by two weeks after community consultation. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Meanwhile, the vaccine mandate for disability support workers has also been pushed back by two weeks after what the government described as significant consultation with the sector.

Employers had expressed some concern that the initial dates provided did not allow workers enough time to get vaccinated, Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith said in a statement.

Now, those working in the sector will need to have one dose of a vaccine by Monday, 15 November, and be fully vaccinated by Monday, 13 December.

Initially, a first dose had been required today (1 November) and a second by Monday, 29 November.

A new public health order to this effect will be signed today.

Ms Stephen-Smith said there had been strong support for the public health direction from the disability sector.

One new COVID-19 exposure site has been listed this afternoon – the Aquatic Achievers in Calwell is a casual contact site for Wednesday, 27 October, between 3:40 pm and 4:20 pm.

See the ACT Government’s COVID-19 website for more details, including instructions to follow as a casual contact.


Canberrans can book a booster shot at ACT Government vaccination centres, including at the AIS. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

UPDATED 11:15 am: The ACT has recorded five new cases of COVID-19 to 8 pm last night.

ACT Health has also confirmed two deaths: a man in his 60s and a woman in her 70s. Both people had been receiving intensive care prior to their deaths. Ten deaths have now been linked to the current COVID outbreak in the ACT.

There are eight people in hospital with COVID, including three in intensive care and three requiring ventilation.

Of ACT residents aged 12-plus, 92.6 per cent are now fully vaccinated.

In the past 24 hours, NSW has reported 135 new cases and four deaths.

There are 77 people in ICU and 87.7 per cent of people aged 16-plus have had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Victoria recorded 1471 new cases and four deaths overnight. There are 136 people in intensive care.

Of their 16-plus population, 80.3 per cent are fully vaccinated.

AIS vaccine clinic

The mass ACT Government COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic at the AIS is likely to be used for booster doses in the months ahead. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

9:55 am: The promised vaccine booster shot program will soon begin its rollout with fully vaccinated Canberrans aged over 18 now able to book to receive a third dose at an ACT Government clinic.

To be eligible for a booster dose, people must have had their second dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccination over six months ago at an ACT Government facility, or through the GP or pharmacy network.

Over the border in NSW, the state’s booster program rollout will begin today (1 November). As in the ACT, only fully vaccinated residents who received a second dose more than six months ago are eligible for a booster shot.

Most Canberrans will receive Pfizer as their booster dose, regardless of which vaccine they received for their first two doses.

However, AstraZeneca can also be used as a booster dose for people who received AstraZeneca for their first two doses or who had a significant adverse reaction to an mRNA vaccine.

Currently, bookings are only open through the ACT Government mass vaccine hubs for fully vaccinated people before June and only for Pfizer.

Anyone who received their second dose at a government clinic will be contacted by ACT Health when they become eligible for a booster dose.

READ ALSO: Major grants set to encourage Canberrans back to the city centre with events, art, free classes and more

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said boosters were an important part of the ACT’s move into the next phase of the vaccination program.

“Booster doses extend your protection against COVID-19 and will help keep you, your loved ones and our community safer for longer,” Mr Barr said.

“Canberrans have shown an amazing enthusiasm for getting vaccinated and we expect that this will carry over into the booster program.”

The booster program is in addition to the ongoing third-dose program for immunocompromised people, where an extra dose is required to complete the regular course of vaccination.

Bookings can be made online through MyDHR or by calling the COVID-19 vaccination booking line on 5124 7700.

Today also marks the first day that travel for fully vaccinated people is allowed through all of NSW – including Greater Sydney – as well as Victoria and the ACT.

COVID-19 warning sign

These COVID-19 warning signs will now hopefully become a thing of the past. Photo: David Murtagh.

The ACT Government will, from today, manage interstate travel with NSW and Victoria through a localised hotspot system. Fully vaccinated people who have been in these locations can still enter the ACT but will be required to fill in an online declaration form.

Unvaccinated travellers who have not been in a hotspot location can also enter the ACT but will need to apply for an exemption if they have and will only be granted one if travelling for essential reasons.

International travel is also now open, with vaccinated Australians able to return from overseas to NSW, Victoria and the ACT without having to quarantine.

The Federal Government says it’s confident the borders will now remain open.

More to come.

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