Principals, teachers respond to lockdown extension

Principals, teachers respond to lockdown extension

Yesterday, NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian announced that schools in Greater Sydney would shift to online learning next week for four days after additional cases of COVID-19 were recorded and the number of exposure sites grew.

Today, NSW Health confirmed 38 new cases of COVID-19, including one overseas acquired case. Eleven of the cases were active in the community whilst infectious.

On Wednesday, the Premier said the existing lockdown will now be extended until at least 16 July for Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour, which had anticipated an end to lockdown this Friday.

Schools in Greater Sydney will return to online learning from Tuesday and there will be no face-to-face professional learning on Monday’s School Development Day, but staff may attend their work site if they need or want to.

Regional students, however, will resume face-to-face learning from Tuesday when the rest of the schools in the affected regions begin their second week of lockdown.

NSW Primary Principals Association president, Robyn Evans, said schools were prepared at the end of Term 3 for the possibility that another lockdown would happen.

“There is a strong focus on readiness for learning from home to different operating arrangements for Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountain, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour,” Evans told The Educator.

Evans said the NSWPPA have advocated for all teaching and school staff to be deemed front line workers, so the vaccination is readily available if they choose.

“Currently the issue is the supply of the vaccination,” she said.

“Importantly, I acknowledge the agility and focus of our principals, school leaders, teachers, administrators and support staff – communities across NSW can be both proud and thankful that this workforce has a strong focus on the learning and wellbeing of students in the public education system."

Evans said all practices and procedures put in place by the Department “must therefore support the workforce both in health and wellbeing.”

‘Lockdown will impact schools significantly’

Meanwhile, the NSW Teachers Federation (NSWTF) is questioning why they weren’t told about the lockdown sooner.

NSWTF president, Angelo Gavrielatos, said its members are “aghast” at the “continued and repeated disrespect” shown for the teaching workforce.

“Federation acknowledges the immediate and significant impact this will have on our teachers, principals and school operations,” Gavrielatos told The Educator.