Since March 2020, NCIRS has joined forces with the NSW Ministry of Health and NSW Department of Education to investigate COVID-19 cases in schools and early childhood education and care (ECEC) services. 

This webinar examines: 

  • transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in educational settings in New South Wales
  • what the latest data show
  • how a multi-disciplinary approach has helped us all learn together.

Dr Kerry Chant, Chief Health Officer, NSW Ministry of Health provided opening remarks followed by speakers from NCIRS and NSW Department of Education.





Kerry ChantDr Kerry Chant – Opening remarks
Chief Health Officer, Deputy Secretary, Population and Public Health, NSW Ministry of Health

Dr Kerry Chant is a public health physician who is currently the Deputy Secretary, Population and Public Health and Chief Health Officer. Prior to this, Dr Chant was Director, Health Protection and Deputy Chief Health Officer. Dr Chant has extensive public health experience in NSW, having held a range of senior positions in NSW public health units since 1991. Dr Chant has a particular interest in blood-borne virus infections, communicable diseases prevention and control, and Indigenous health.


Archana Koirala

Dr Archana Koirala
Staff Specialist, NCIRS

Dr Archana Koirala is a paediatric infectious disease specialist and general paediatrician. She is part of the NSW Immunisation Specialist team and reviews children who have experienced an adverse event following immunisation. She has a special interest in how COVID-19 affects the paediatric population. Dr Koirala leads the COVID-19 in educational settings investigation project, working with the team at NCIRS.



Marnie O’Brien
Executive Director Health & Safety, NSW Department of Education

Marnie O’Brien is responsible for workplace health management, state-wide emergency management policy and response systems to ensure appropriate planning and response to school and community emergency events, formulating expert advice and sound recommendations on governance and risk management systems and leading the response to high risk taking behaviours to manage the risk and impact of violence and other high-risk incidents in NSW public schools. Marnie has been responsible for the design and implementation of a range of innovative and responsive specialist programs to support schools provide a safe working and learning environment for students and staff to support the achievement of high-quality outcomes for students. Marnie has been working closely with NSW Health and other key agencies to develop and lead the risk management program across the Department of Education to enable schools to continue to deliver educational services in a COVID safe way. Marnie has nearly 30 years' experience working in health and safety across a range of organisations and was awarded the Public Service Medal for her contribution to safety in public education.

Last updated April 2023