Schools could randomly test asymptomatic teachers, students and staff for Covid-19 under an idea put forward by the country’s chief education union.
In the Australian Education Union’s submission last month for the parliamentary inquiry into long Covid, the union has called on the government to improve mitigation measures in public schools which they say are currently “not adequate”.
They say the committee should recommend that a “regular asymptomatic testing program” be reinstated in all educational settings, and mandate the reporting of results.
“And that mandated isolation from the school or other education setting is reintroduced for students or school staff who are infected with Covid,” the union said.
“Current government approaches to limiting Covid infection, repeat infection and long Covid demonstrates a lack of concern for the health and wellbeing of students, teachers and the broader school community.”
Former education minister Stuart Robert said the idea was “nuts”.
“It is ridiculous. It is a complete brain fade by the education union,” he told the Nine Network.
“Covid is now endemic, which means we treat it like any other endemic disease – that is the medical advice.
“But do we do random testing for chickenpox, measles, mumps or rubella? Do we do it for the flu and find another disease that comes along and shove things up young kid’s noses because they have no choice.
“This is nuts. Let’s be sensible.”
The rules relating to schools and Covid-19 lie within the remit of state and territory education ministers.