Parents can breathe a collective sigh of relief this morning after NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced schools would reopen.
New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has delivered some welcome news to parents this morning, announcing the state’s schools were just weeks away from reopening.
At her daily press briefing this morning, Ms Berejiklian said only six people in NSW had caught coronavirus in the past 24 hours and that tiny increase meant schools could reopen in May.
“Definitely from May 11, from week three of term two, students will start going back to school,” she said.
“Initially, it will just be a day a week. And then progressively two days, and then we hope by the end of term two we'll be in a position to have students going back to school in a full-time capacity by term three.
“Will it be the same as kids going to school under normal circumstances? No, it won't.
“We've made sure we've used this time not just to build up our online capacity in case children, or a proportion of them, do need to continue learning from home, but we've also made sure we have enough hand sanitisers, soap, and all those things which make a school community feel safe, not just be safe. Schools will also have capacity for temperature checks where they think it's appropriate.”
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced the state will reopen schools on May 11. Picture: Bianca De Marchi/AAPSource:AAP
Ms Berejiklian said there would be extra cleaning across school grounds, including playground equipment and classrooms.
“I want to, hand on heart, thank all of our parents, teachers, principals and school communities who, from day one, under very difficult circumstances, took the Government's advice on-board … and the results have been very positive,”
“Not only have we now seen children, to some extent, being able to learn from home, but we've also now are in a position to transition back into the classroom.”
NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell thanked teachers, principals and school support staff for their “innovation” during the coronavirus pandemic and said educators had learnt a lot from having to transition to online learning. She also outlined the way the Government saw students returning but said it was up to each individual school to tailor recommendations. “There will be flexibility and discretion on a school level as to how they implement this,” Ms Mitchell said. “We want them to make sure they are having about a quarter of students on campus each day, but how they break that group up will be a matter for them. But we are asking them to certainly consider family groupings, keeping siblings together, so that will make it a lot easier for parents as we transition back to normal schooling.”
NSW will gradually reopen schools in weeks.
Ms Mitchell said the Government was creating a cross-party working group to see if any of the innovative ways schools had adapted could be applied to future learning. “I'm going to have representatives from government, Catholic and independent schools come together to provide advice to me as minister about what we've learnt, what we can do in terms of teaching pedagogy and practice moving forward,” she said. “I think so much of what we've learned with moving online and moving to learning from home, which we know will be a part of education in term two, has been incredible, and it would be a shame to waste that work that has been done. “So this is about tapping into what our schools have done well, making sure that we can use that innovative practice going forward in education. “Today is about certainty. It's about parents understanding that their children will be returning to school throughout this term. It's about our teachers, our principals and our school support staff knowing the plan to get there. And it's about parents and students knowing that they'll continue to be engaged in their education.”