Published: 01 July 2021

Legislative Council Wednesday 30 June, 2021


With regard to COVID-19 safe arrangements related to gatherings, I note that for indoor seated events where people have to be seated most of the time, the number of people that may be permitted at any time is up to the seating capacity of the premises in all seated areas and one person per two square metres in all unseated areas but no more than 2000 people. This has enabled the very welcome return to full capacity for theatres such as the Theatre Royal for performances and shows.

I understand some, if not all, schools currently are not permitted to hold school assemblies with all students in attendance even when the above restrictions can be complied with. What are the current COVID-19 safe requirements around gatherings in schools? Are all schools the same, public and non-public schools? Why are the restrictions limiting school assemblies to less than 100 per cent comparable to other venues for large gatherings? When is the restriction related to school assemblies likely to be eased to enable whole school assemblies?


Madam Deputy President, I thank the member for delivering that question on behalf of the member for Murchison.

The answer is:

(1) In line with Public Health advice the focus for schools is on maintaining physical distancing and effective hygiene measures. Assemblies are considered normal operational activities in line with lessons and schools follow the one person per two square metre rule for adults and visitors. The one person per two square metre rule does not apply to students. This is in-line with public health advice.

Where an activity is open to the broader community, such as an annual school production or fundraising event held on the school site, the activity is considered a gathering and must operate in accordance with the framework of COVID-19 Safe Events and Activities in Tasmania.

(2) The same public health advice applies to both government and non-government schools and education sectors within Tasmania worked together when seeking advice from public health.

(3) Public health advice is that school assemblies are part of normal operational activities in-line with lessons. Therefore, ordinary gathering limits and venue density rules apply to school assemblies. Schools follow the one person per square metre rule for adults and visitors at normal operational activities.

The one person per two square metre rule does not apply to students. The number of adults and visitors permitted at normal operational activities is determined by the calculation of the area, that is one adult per two square metres with a maximum of 250 adults. Teachers and school staff are counted as part of the 250 adults.

(4) The Department of Education is continuing to regularly review these arrangements in consultation with public health.

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