Students in New South Wales (NSW) will be allowed back to class one week earlier than expected.
The staggering return of students will start from October 18 with the students of Kindergarten, Year 1, and Year 12.
Years 2, 6, and 11 students return on October 25 followed by levels for the rest of the year on November 1.
Regional NSW areas where stay-at-home orders have already been lifted will begin face-to-face learning from the first day of term four, 5 October.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the state’s school-to-school scheme has always been tied to community vaccination rates, which have risen faster than expected.
“Managing a return to a school system the size of NSW is no small task,” Berejiklian said. “Keeping a phased approach, but moving it a week ahead, allows schools to advance their plans and still provides time for staff and eligible students to be vaccinated.”
NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said it was worth spending an extra week face-to-face in a safe and sane way.
“It is fantastic that we will meet the vaccination targets in NSW earlier than originally anticipated,” Mitchell said. “This has allowed us to extend the plan to all schools in the affected areas.”
“I know there are some concerns in the community about school return, but students, staff and parents should be confident that this approach gives schools enough time to be as COVIDSafe as possible,” Mitchell said.
All teachers must be vaccinated for COVID-19 before going back to classes, the second dose deadline is November 8, unless they have a medical exception.
The vaccine mandate has met with considerable opposition after nearly 60,000 people signed a petition within a week calling for teachers not to be forced to take the COVID-19 vaccination.
This may put further pressure on the state’s education system which is facing shortage of teachers.
The Independent Education Association (IEU), which represents teachers and staff in non-government schools, said they were extremely disappointed by the lack of consultation before making a decision, and preferred to stick to the original programme.
“The IEU considers this current phased plan to return students and their teachers to school as the safest option,” said Carol Matthews, Acting Secretary, IEU NSW. “It enables schools to make adjustments to campus and procedures as the need becomes clear.”
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times