Thousands Head Back Into The Classroom As Coronavirus Restrictions Relax
Thousands of Australian school students are expected to return to the classroom on Monday as coronavirus restrictions ease.
In New South Wales students will return for one day of face-to-face learning each week from today, with attendance to increase over the course of the term.
The State Government is working towards a target of a full-scale return by Term Three and yesterday announced the easing of a broad range of restrictions as the state continues to flatten the curve.
However, the return to classrooms has come with a warning, with Premier Gladys Berejiklian promising any surge in numbers of confirmed cases could see a return to tighter measures.
"If there is evidence or if there is data that shows... a huge spike, then we'll have to go backward," Berejiklian said.
"But similarly, if the data shows us we're doing better than expected, we can move forward and be faster."
The government has urged parents to be vigilant about their children's health and to keep them away from school if they exhibit any symptoms of coronavirus.
Social distancing guidelines will be maintained in classrooms and extra health measures will be in place, including additional cleaning and health equipment in sick bays.
Lunch breaks will also be staggered.
Berejiklian said it is not compulsory to send children to school and parents would not be penalised for keeping them at home.
"It's never been compulsory to force parents to do one thing or another, we've been very clear about that in NSW," she said.
"But our strong recommendation is that face-to-face teaching needs to start.
"We want to get to fulltime face-to-face teaching as soon as we can. And the best health advice is that schools are safe environments."
Meanwhile, Queensland students will return to the classroom on Monday as the state government continues to ease coronavirus restrictions.
Children enrolled in kindy, prep, and years one, 11, and 12 will be the first cohorts to return to school.
The state government will assess the statewide response to the partial reopening of classrooms this Friday, before the go-ahead is given for those in other year levels.
It's proposed students from years two to 10 will return to school from May 25.
The staged approach is part of the Queensland government's wider plan to reopen the state following the flattening of the coronavirus curve.
In Tasmania, students from kindergarten to years 6, and years 11 and 12 will return to classrooms from May 25, with remaining grades to resume in June.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is expected to front the media today about the potential easing of restrictions and the plan to get kids back in classrooms.
In the Northern Territory, government schools have returned to pre-pandemic levels. And in South Australia attendance was at 83 percent last week with parents adhering to the state government's health message that it is safe to send kids back to school.
Lastly, schools in Western Australia reopened last week for term two. Attendance has reached 70 percent at public schools, according to the ABC News, and peak bodies representing WA's school principals have called for a compulsory return to face-to-face classes from week four.