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Santa gets special permission to travel at Christmas

Clare Armstrong, November 30, 2020 7:00PM The Daily Telegraph

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Santa and Edie Docherty keeping a COVID-safe distance. Picture: Richard Dobson media_cameraSanta and Edie Docherty keeping a COVID-safe distance. Picture: Richard Dobson

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Santa Claus has official permission to magic his way into Australian homes this Christmas without spreading the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed that no matter what happens to Australia’s national and state borders between now and Christmas it would not impact Santa’s movements.

“Santa gets to move wherever he likes, and certainly at Christmas,” Mr Morrison said.

“If there’s one exemption* I don’t think there’d be any disagreement about (this is it).”

After a difficult year of school closures, lockdowns and cancelled birthday parties, children can rest easy ahead of the Christmas holiday season.

Qld Health shared a video message from Santa on social media in recent days reassuring children that he had been given a special global exemption from pandemic-related restrictions to travel the world.

Premier meets Santa media_cameraTasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein with Santa to talk about having a COVID-safe Christmas. The state has issued Santa an essential-worker exemption so he can travel to do his job and put in place a COVID safety plan for Santa and his reindeer. Picture: Zak Simmonds

In NSW, the jolly man-in-red’s status* as an “essential worker” has been confirmed at the highest levels of the NSW government, with Health Minister Brad Hazzard granting Mr Claus, his reindeer and “any elves required to assist with delivery of presents” permission to enter the state without completing a 14-day quarantine.

Mr Hazzard sent a letter to Mr Claus at “123 Elf Rd, North Pole” this month to ­inform him he is free to “bring joy” to the millions of children living in NSW.

Despite Santa’s “magical powers” allowing him to “travel the world safely without transmitting COVID-19” Mr Hazzard has still set out some ground rules.

Presents must be delivered “after bed time” to minimise contact, Santa and his elves must stay 1.5m away from others, wash their hands regularly and wear a mask if unable to social distance.

media_cameraCopy of the letter from Health Minister Brad Hazzard to Santa Claus giving him exemption to travel in Australia.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian also offered her reassurance to children who may be worried about Santa bringing COVID-19 into the state: “Based on the latest health advice, there is no risk of catching coronavirus from Santa.”

In the US, infectious diseases expert Dr Anthony Fauci revealed Santa had “innate* immunity*” to the coronavirus, while UK PM Boris Johnson promised the delivery of presents would not be disrupted by the pandemic.

media_cameraA family wears Christmas outfits as they pose for a photograph with Santa with plexiglas in between to keep everyone safe from COVID-19, in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, on November 28. Picture: AFP

Edie Docherty, 7, was thrilled to learn Santa’s vital visit would not be hindered* by the coronavirus pandemic.

She said she was “worried” about COVID-19, but doesn’t think there will be any risk of catching it from Santa ­because he “wears gloves”.

Psychologist at the Happiness Institute Dr Tim Sharp said it was natural for children to have some level of anxiety about the pandemic but it was great that children could now stop worrying about whether Santa would be prevented from doing his job.

“The Health Minister has approved Santa because they believe it is safe,” he said.

GLOSSARY

  • exemption: being free of having to follow the usual rules
  • status: official classification given by a country or government that determines someone’s rights and responsibilities
  • innate: what you’reborn with; natural
  • immunity: ability to resist infection
  • hindered: held back

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QUICK QUIZ

  1. Who is Australia’s Prime Minister?
  2. To what address did Mr Hazzard send his letter?
  3. What is Dr Anthony Fauci an expert at?
  4. Who is the Prime Minister of the UK?
  5. What helps make Edie confident Santa won’s spread coronavirus?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. COVID-safe plan

All shops, business and places of gathering have had to create COVID-safe plans so they can continue to operate safely. While Santa’s magic and innate immunity will protect him from getting the virus and from spreading it – it won’t hurt for him to be extra cautious.

Create a COVID-safe plan for Santa’s visit to your house. Create your plan on an A4 poster that you can put in a convenient place for Santa and the elves to see. Your poster should be easy to read and understand. Use diagrams or symbols and small amounts of text so that Santa can quickly work out how to remain COVID-safe at your place. An example of what you might include could be:

  • Please leave presents in loungeroom not on the end of our beds.
  • Please wear gloves.
  • Parents to leave a note to say if kids are asleep so Santa does not need to check.

If you do not celebrate Christmas at your house come up with a COVID-safe plan for any visitor that could be coming to your house in the near future.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Intercultural Understanding, Critical and Creative thinking

2. Extension
There will probably be some other changes to the way we celebrate Christmas or other special times this summer holidays – particularly when we think of family and public gatherings. Think of 3-5 things that you usually do to celebrate Christmas and note how they might have to be adapted this year. Every family celebrates differently so think of things that are specific to you and your family.

Please note: Different parts of Australia have different restrictions and the restrictions might ease further before Christmas so base your ideas on what is currently allowed in your state/territory. Rest assured many favourite activities may not need to be cancelled only altered to be COVID safe.

For example, Community Carols by Candlelight – might have to be more spread out this year or have limited numbers attending.

If you do not celebrate Christmas in your family, think of some summer holiday activities or another cultural festival that might need to be adjusted for this year so that we remain COVID safe.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Intercultural Understanding, Critical and Creative thinking

VCOP ACTIVITY
Read with Kung Fu Punctuation
Pair up with the article between you and stand up to make it easy to demonstrate your Kung Fu Punctuation.

Practice reading one sentence at a time. Now read it again, while acting out the punctuation as you read.

Read and act 3 sentences before swapping with your partner.

Have 2 turns each.

Now as a challenge ask your partner to read a sentence out loud while you try and act out the punctuation. Can you keep up?

Swap over?

Try acting out 2 sentences.

Are you laughing yet?

Have fun acting out your punctuation.

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