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【澳洲】Coronavirus: School drop-off time dangerous for virus spread

Schools will reopen in NSW, but there are two times that have been highlighted as danger periods for the virus spreading.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says school pick-up and drop-off will be the most dangerous time when students return to schools. Picture: AAP Image/Joel CarrettSource:AAP

The NSW Premier has warned student drop-off and pick-up will be the most dangerous period for the spread of COVID-19 when school returns in May because parents are more likely to have coronavirus. Speaking on the Today showthis morning, Gladys Berejiklian said the government and authorities wanted to ensure school was back “hopefully” by the end of Term 2, but they wanted to make it as safe as possible. “We want to make sure teachers and parents and students, not just are safe but feel safe in a school environment,” Ms Berejiklian told hosts Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon. “We’ve seen around the world, where too many countries have gone back too quickly, not in a managed way and then they’ve had to shut the schools back down again. We don’t want to see that happen here.” Ms Berejiklian said high quantities of hand sanitiser, soap, as well as extra cleaning was being made available to schools around the state, and while she “appreciated” schools have been deemed safe by health experts, there was one time of day when extra precautions would be taken.

“We’re doing some extra measures to make sure everybody isn’t just safe but it feels safe and especially with things like pick-up and drop-off,”

Ms Berejiklian said.

“For adults in particular, adults tend to spread the disease much more frequently than what’s been proved in terms of children. And so, therefore, we need to make sure drop-offs and pick-up points are well managed.”

For teachers, adequate space for social distancing would also be ensured in staffrooms – despite Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying yesterday that classrooms didn’t need to adhere to the four square metre distancing rules. NSW’s plan for sending students back to school was announced by the Premier yesterday, and will initially see children return for one day a week starting on May 11, then two, with a goal to have them attending full-time again by the start of term three. The idea, at first, is for only a quarter of each school’s student body to attend on any given day. While the Premier said this morning the government was “really pleased with what we’ve put forward” and it’s “really a way of easing kids back to school”, the President of the NSW Teachers Federation was sceptical.

The NSW Premier has warned pick-ups and drop-offs could be risky because adults are more likely to be infected with COVID-19. Picture: Toby ZernaSource:News Corp Australia

‘We need to make sure drop-offs and pick-up points are well managed,’ Ms Berejiklian said. Picture: Norman OorloffSource:News Corp Australia

This morning Angelo Gavrielatos told Today he believed the plan “can’t work”, is “near impossible”, and an “absolute nightmare” logistically.

“What we got announced yesterday by the Premier, a staggered operation of having 25 per cent of kids at school, rotating through the school one day at a time, fails to appreciate let alone comprehend the massive organisational and timetabling challenges that presents for our schools,”

he said.

“In many settings it will be near impossible. It can’t work. Organisationally, it’s a problem.”

While Mr Gavrielatos said the plan might be possible in small schools, in larger schools it’ll be an “absolute nightmare”.


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