Which Schools Are Reopening In NSW For Term Two?
- Parents Only
UPDATE: Hot off the press, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has confirmed that more face-to-face teaching will resume at schools across the state in the first few weeks of term two.
Children will return to the classroom from 11th May in a staggered way starting at one day per week, then progressively more days, in preparation for full-time schooling that is expected to recommence in July.
"This does not mean all classrooms will be full," she said. "What it does mean is that NSW is considering a roster system to provide at least some aspect of face-to-face (teaching) for each student."
Ms Berejiklian said the roster system would mean students have class time staggered throughout the week in small learning groups. "Because the alternative is that unfortunately students could face up to a year or longer at home and we don't think that's appropriate," she said.
The Premier has continued her stance that, based on medical advice, schools are safe for children. She has however confirmed extra cleaning, sanitiser and health provisions will be in place.
Despite near lockdown and a virtual state of emergency, widespread bans on indoor and outdoor gatherings and heavily enforced social distancing laws to limit the spread of COVID-19, schools have controversially stayed open.
Confusion reigns and while several schools with confirmed cases of coronavirus were shut early on, the government has stopped short of mandatory mass closures.
This decision was, apparently, based on medical advice that suggested that schools, considered an essential service, did not need to close, and children were actually at a higher risk of infection if they did.
Although parents were encouraged to keep children at home, and attendance falling to 5% as a result, schools also remained open to ensure essential workers had reliable care options for their children.
Despite the ruling, several independent schools defied the government stance and closed their doors, reverting exclusively to online learning. However, some of these schools now face an expensive ultimatum - reopen or lose funding.
Education Minister Dan Tehan confirmed that, during the crisis, staying open for essential workers (that is any worker who still has a job according to ScoMo) is now part of the school funding requirement, insisting that it is safe for our educational institutions to do so. The motivation behind the tough stance is to give working parents a viable alternative between working and staying home and offering children a physical classroom environment when parents have no other option.
The bottom line? Mr Tehan has reiterated that the Federal Government wants all schools to remain open, so any private schools that defied the government guidelines will be required to reopen for Term Two. The issue will, however, be reassessed as the Coronavirus saga progresses, with an aim to deliver a consistent national response and consolidate the varied approaches currently adopted from state-to-state.
While we can all enjoy a home-learning hiatus over the holidays, schools are preparing for continued remote education for Term Two, and we collectively wait with bated breath for updates on government policies and the official word on what education will look like next term and beyond.
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