The no-mask-wearing policy for Brisbane secondary students will remain in place despite a student testing positive at a local high school this week.
- Queensland Health says mask wearing in public is one of the most effective weapons against COVID-19
- The Queensland Teachers Union says it trusts the science and supports CHO Jeannette Young
- The union says members can wear masks if they want and that is the same for students
Queensland Health is standing by the instruction even though South Australia moved to order teachers and secondary students in the state to mask up while indoors at schools.
This is also despite Queensland Health restrictions requiring children aged 12 and older to wear a mask when going out in public.
On Thursday, Indooroopilly State High School was closed after a 17-year-old girl tested positive for the virus.
The state’s health authorities on Friday were still trying to ascertain how the virus infected the teenager at the school, which is attended by about 2,400 students.
Queensland Health on Friday would not comment on why teenagers were being required to wear masks in public but not at school.
A spokesperson said mask wearing in public was one of the most effective weapons against COVID-19, especially the Delta variant.
“A person in their usual environment, such as their workplace, should were a face mask if they cannot maintain social distancing,” the spokesperson said.
“However, this direction does not apply to school students onsite at an education premises or attending outside school hours care.”
Both the Education Department and the Queensland Teachers Union (QTU) are also following Queensland Health’s advice on students and masks.
“The Department of Education continues to take our lead from expert health authorities and will continue to do so moving forward,” a spokesperson said.
“Schools across the nation remain open on expert health authority advice and it is important for us to keep students in normal routines and support them.”
QTU president Cresta Richardson said the union supported Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young.
“We trust the science and follow Dr Young — as things emerge and change that advice may change,” Ms Richardson said.
“Our number one priority is the care of our members and kids.
“Members can wear masks if they want — it’s the same for students.”
In South Australia, SA Health moved to implement the mask-wearing mandate for students on Tuesday.
Teachers were also required to wear masks in all grades except when actually teaching.
SA Education chief executive Rick Persse said the requirement was brought in after a discussion with chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier.