Parents reveal if they will send kids back to school
WE ASKED our Northern Star readers if they would be sending their children back to school early next month and the results are in.
Of the readers who responded to our Facebook poll, 63 per cent of parents said they would be keeping their kids at home.
A further 23 per cent of parents revealed they would be sending their children to school and 10 per cent were undecided.
But plans surrounding what school will look like are still being revealed by the NSW Government.
After announcing the staggered school return plan earlier in the week, Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning, Sarah Mitchell, have unveiled the plan for students attending NSW public schools to progressively return to face-to-face learning from May 11.
That is week three of Term 2.
Ms Berejiklian said health advice continued to be that schools remain open, and parents, teachers and students can be confident that school is a safe place.
"We are grateful to all families who kept their children home from school at the end of Term 1 and to teachers who worked tirelessly to deliver education online," Ms Berejiklian said.
"This allowed us critical time to prepare our schools to develop better online learning options and for considering additional hygiene measures to allow schools to return.
"I'd like to thank the Catholic and independent schools for working with the NSW Government at this time, as well as staff, including teachers, principals and cleaners, for working so hard to prepare for a resumption of school."
During the first stage of on-campus learning, parents will be encouraged to keep their children home, except on their allocated day of face-to-face learning.
Initially, about a quarter of a school's students are expected to be on site at any one time.
The specific days students will be required to attend school each week will vary from school to school and will be clearly communicated to parents.
Classes will be split across schools, allowing schools to appropriately social distance students and teachers.
As always, schools will remain open for students who need them and no child will be turned away from school.
Ms Berejilian thanked parents for what's been "a tough month, often juggling working from home and caring for children".
Ms Mitchell said hand sanitiser would be available in all classrooms and provisions were in place for at-risk teachers to work from home.
"Drop-off, pick-up, recess and lunchtimes will also be staggered to ensure social distancing," she said.
The NSW Government has also committed up to $95.7 million to help keep casual and temporary school staff engaged in active work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Teachers will have an additional day to prepare for Term 2 on Tuesday, April 28, making the first day of term for students Wednesday, April 29.
A NSW Department of Education spokesman said the details and options announced around the phased return of students would be a matter for individual schools on the Northern Rivers, and parents would be advised before week three of term.
Information about preparations for Term 2 including references to online learning, health and the phases of return, can be viewed on Department of Education's website: https://education.nsw.gov.au/covid-19