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SA records six COVID deaths as school students set to begin term one

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South Australia has recorded six more deaths of people with COVID-19 as the State Government unveiled a new online resource for students who are isolating or close contacts when school resumes on Wednesday.

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Premier Steven Marshall told reporters on Monday that the state recorded 1505 positive cases in a 24 hour period, below the seven day average of 1850.

The six deaths included three men in their 70s, a woman in her 80s, a woman in her 90s, and a woman over the age of 100, SA Health confirmed.

As of Monday there were 281 people in hospital, including 25 in intensive care and four on ventilators.

Marshall highlighted that the number of healthcare workers furloughed due to contracting COVID-19 or exposure as a close contact had continued to drop.

“If we go back two weeks ago it was over a thousand health workers furloughed, now it is down to 371,” said Premier Steven Marshall.

The state government on Monday also unveiled a program of online resources for students who have to isolate at home if they contract COVID-19 or are identified as a close household contact.

Children of essential workers, or those who are vulnerable, were allowed to return to school today as South Australian students begin the first stage of the State Government’s controversial “hybrid” back to school plan.

Year 1s, 7s, 8s and 12s will return to school for face-to-face learning on Wednesday while the remaining year levels will remain at home for two weeks in a bid to limit the state’s Omicron wave.

Education Minister John Gardner said this afternoon that dozens of powerpoints and video lessons had been uploaded to the Our Learning SA portal, with the Department of Education aiming to add hundreds more in coming weeks.

“There will be a number of children who will be COVID positive or close contacts and have to isolate, and it is not practical for teachers to prepare two methods of delivery,” he said.

“These materials, dozens and dozens — ultimately hundreds — of powerpoints to ensure the learning needs for those students isolating at home will be met.”

The lessons, which will also be made available on YouTube, will cover subjects including literacy, numeracy, social sciences and physical education for students from reception to year 10.

“These videos are South Australian teachers teaching in a South Australian context the national curriculum,” he said.

A helpline will also be made available to provide IT support to parents of children studying online.

“We are restarting the parenting hotline for those facing ICT issues — via the helpline IT experts familiar with education settings will be available,” Gardner said. 

Gardner acknowledged that some early learning centres in regional areas were yet to receive their RAT test supply, apologising for the “logistical hiccup” and promising they would be delivered today and tomorrow.

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