New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on April 17 that a roster system will be implemented in her state’s schools so that students whose parents choose to send them can return to “face-to-face” learning with their teachers.
The proposed roster system would work by alternating the days that students attend school, and is a solution to avoid the problem that some students could face up to a year or longer at home due to the crisis caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus.
The premier’s decision comes a day after Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for schools to reopen so that disadvantaged children don’t miss out on an education.
In an interview with the ABC on April 16, the prime minister said, “We want children back to school, learning in a classroom in front of a teacher because that’s the best place for a child to get their education.” He acknowledged, however, that states and territories are in charge of schools.
Berejiklian supported the prime minister’s notion and said it should be done “in a reasonable way.” She said that some NSW students could potentially return to school even in term two, and said she was speaking with stakeholders and school communities to get it right.
NSW mum Jasmine Jones said that parents had been thrown in the deep end and have not had time to build up the resources or to plan a curriculum for their children.
“This is not homeschooling that is happening now, it is crisis schooling. No matter how skilled the parents are, they don’t have the resources a normal homeschooler would, such as museums and parks and other families to support the social and learning experiences,” she told The Epoch Times.
“Add to this working from home and we have a recipe for failure for both parents and children,” Jones said.
She said teachers or staff who are over 65 or immune-compromised, and in a face-to-face role, should be offered non-facing rolls or early retirement if they choose. She also suggested high ranking undergraduates from relevant disciplines could be offered a one-year education course as a way to fill the gap with a younger workforce.
Prior to the premier’s decision, on April 14, the NSW Teachers Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos said that older and vulnerable teachers are less likely to return to their classes as restrictions are lifted.
He also proposed that the education department should begin with a staggered approach. He suggested starting with Year 12 (final year) students and kindergarten—two groups with the most to lose.
NSW students are currently on school holidays following the end of term one and are set to return on April 27, when lessons will continue online.