Teachers have done an exemplary job keeping education going during a pandemic but they cannot be left wondering about the next steps, the education union says.
Teachers have done an exemplary job keeping education going during a pandemic but they cannot be left wondering about the next steps, the education union says.

Teachers confused by contradictory COVID-19 messaging

COMMENT

Teachers and principals have done a phenomenal job of adapting how they deliver lessons during the COVID-19 pandemic.

They turned themselves inside out, over and above the call of duty, to provide some level of educational continuity to all their students.

Regrettably, we've not been helped during this pandemic by contradictory commentary with respect to health advice.

Teachers wear masks as they prepare a lesson on the first day of online class in an empty classroom. Picture: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images
Teachers wear masks as they prepare a lesson on the first day of online class in an empty classroom. Picture: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

We are told on one hand, that it's not safe for children to be in public playgrounds and shopping malls yet, apparently, it's okay for them to be in a school playground or in a school classroom.

We're told it's not safe for children to be looked after and cared for by grandparents, yet it's okay for them to be taught by the teachers, many of whom may also be grandparents.

Whilst strict restrictions to gatherings and movement have been introduced for the general public, it is next to impossible to practice social distancing in our schools which range in size from 12 to 2,000 students, 2 to over 200 staff.

Teachers are busily adapting the state's school curriculum to remote learning lessons.
Teachers are busily adapting the state's school curriculum to remote learning lessons.

On April 27 our schools will not be closed, they will continue to operate as they operated at the end of term one - they will continue to operate in that fashion for the first few weeks of term 2.

When it is safe, as restrictions on movement and gatherings are eased, what will be required is a staged and orderly return to schools with a much smaller number of students and teachers initially on school sites in order to ensure that we can practice appropriate social distancing. As it becomes safer, and only then, student and staff numbers on school sites will increase.

In all of our actions and deliberations we have been motivated by one thing; ensuring as best we can protect the health and safety of students, teachers and principals; all members of our school communities.

Our health and safety must come first.

Angelo Gavrielatos is the president of the NSW Teachers Federation.

Originally published as Teachers confused by contradictory COVID-19 messaging


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