Attendance at government schools has risen steadily during the first week of term, with the latest figures from the Education Department showing that over 69% of students across South Australia are now learning at school.

The figures show more than double the number of students learning at school this week compared to the number at the end of Term 1.

There attendance rates are similar to those in the Northern Territory and Western Australia, where schools are also encouraging their students to return in line with health advice.

During the school holidays, South Australia’s Chief Public Health Officer Professor, Nicola Spurrier, wrote to families and educators around South Australia expressing her confidence that schools are a safe learning environment.

Education Minister John Gardner thanked the education workforce for their efforts during a complex start to the school term.

“Our teachers, educators and support staff have done an amazing job during this unprecedented time, and I thank them for all their hard work and professionalism,” said Minister Gardner.

“At the end of Term 1, our schools were preparing to face a different scenario this week. The low rates of COVID-19 in SA are great news for our community, but have presented some complexity for our schools as we transition back to face-to-face teaching sooner than expected.

“I also want to thank families across South Australia for their patience and understanding with their children’s teachers at this time.

“It has been fantastic to hear from principals and educators throughout this week, who have reported positive experiences welcoming many students back to school.

“Physically attending school provides a superior learning environment for young people, providing access to specialist facilities and more opportunities to engage with teachers and fellow students.

“The health advice from Professor Nicola Spurrier and her team, as well as the AHPPC, has remained consistent that schools, preschools and early childhood facilities are low risk environments and should remain open.

“Our strong protocols remain in place for instances where a positive test for coronavirus is received by a student or staff member who has been attending a school or preschool, and we will continue to follow the latest public health advice and will act accordingly.”