The Northern Territory has reported 432 new COVID-19 cases and rolled out its back to school plan to keep students in class and learning.
Measures such as face masks, extra cleaning, free rapid antigen tests and hygiene education will help protect students, Chief Minister Michael Gunner said.
"We can not remove all risk from our schools. It's about reducing risk not removing it altogether," he told reporters on Friday.
"We are entering unchartered territory by returning to school in the middle of a large outbreak but this has to be done."
Classes resume on January 31, with teachers at remote schools required to return three negative rapid antigen tests in the first week.
Teachers and students who test positive for the virus will be required to isolate at home for seven days.
Online lessons and home learning packs will be provided.
Asymptomatic close contacts can go to school, with teachers and parents told to keep a sharp eye out for symptoms.
"If your kid is sick, even if it is just the sniffles, do not send your kid to school," Mr Gunner said.
"In previous years it would not have mattered as much but in 2022 it matters a lot."
Schools will tell parents about positive cases and when their children are identified as close contacts.
Students will also be encouraged to physically distance "where possible", and air purifiers have been sent to some schools.
Ventilation and air conditioning systems have also been audited.
"The territory's back to school COVID-safe plan has three main objectives," Mr Gunner said.
"To keep our kids safe, to keep our kids in school, and supporting our incredible teachers and support staff."
Meanwhile, vaccination rates continue to climb among children and teenagers, with 84 per cent of 12 to 15-year-olds having received one jab and 71 per cent double-dosed.
More than 20 per cent of five to 11-year-olds have had one dose, with many more young arms expected to be jabbed in the coming weeks.
All public service staff are double-dosed under the territory's vaccination mandate for workers.
The number of infected Territorians in hospital has climbed to 62, representing 1.7 per cent of the 3570 active cases.
"This is the lowest number of active cases in a week," Mr Gunner said.
Of the patients in hospital, two are in a critical condition in intensive care and five require oxygen.
It comes as the pandemic reaches the highly vaccinated Tiwi Islands, north of Darwin, with five new infections.
There have also been five new cases detected at Jabiru, the service town for the Kakadu National Park.
The NT detected 459 cases on Thursday, 418 on Wednesday, 625 on Tuesday, 284 on Monday and 327 on Sunday.
Australian Associated Press
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