Kingborough students Kinder to Grade 6 and Years 11 and 12 were able to return to the classroom yesterday, Monday, May 25, as the State Government’s restrictions to stop the spread of coronavirus continue to be eased.
Year 7 to 10 students are expected to resume face to face learning on Tuesday, June 9.
Parents and carers with medically vulnerable children will still be supported through distance learning for the remainder of Term 2 so that these students are able to stay home.
All parents and carers have the choice to continue to keep children home for the rest of the term, however if children do not fall into a medically vulnerable category,, guardians will be responsible for supporting their child’s learning through their own resources during this time.
“The health and safety of our students, staff and communities are our top priority,” said Minister for Education, Jeremy Rockliff.
Minister Rockliff stated that the Department of Education would continue to follow Public Health advice and would adjust plans as needed, if the current advice were to change.
“We know that until we find a vaccine for COVID-19, it will remain a part of our ‘new normal’ way of life,” Minister Rockliff said.
“Health and hygiene at school remains vital.”
Additional safety measures are in place for all schools including strict handwashing and hygiene protocols, frequent cleaning, cancellation of all gatherings such as assemblies, trips and interschool activities and encouraging all adults to observe physical distancing practices.
Students will also be encouraged to observe physical distancing although this will not be a requirement based on evidence supporting the low risk of COVID-19 transmission between children.
The Australian Education Union (AEU) said the consistent application of health advice and the cooperation of parents, government and educators will see a safe and successful return to full school attendance.
“The Department of Education and Tasmanian Government have listened to the concerns of educators and the result is a clear, manageable timeline consistent with health advice and the easing of community restrictions,” said AEU Tasmania President Helen Richardson.
“What we need now is for the whole community, parents, carers, government and educators, to work together and ensure the plan and timelines are followed.”
The AEU welcomed the commitment from the Tasmanian Government to support schools and colleges through the next few weeks with advice, resources and supplies required.
“Vulnerable educators will continue to work from home and we will work with the government to ensure that this is resourced with centrally-funded relief staff allocated where needed,” Ms Richardson continued.
“Every teacher, principal and education support person deserves a huge thank you and congratulations for maintaining a focus on learning through the most difficult of circumstances.
“The innovative and engaging new practices learned through this crisis will not be forgotten; they will be incorporated into in-class delivery,” concluded Ms Richardson.
Parents or carers with any questions about the return to school should contact their school directly.
There is also general information available at the Department of Education website https://www.education.tas.gov.au/
Pictured above: Harper, a Snug Primary School student, explored different kinds of play based learning experiences during the lockdowns, including thorough experimentation with muddy puddles. Across Kingborough, primary school students and Year 11 and 12 students returned to the classroom yesterday, May 25, to resume face to face learning. Students were excited to reconnect with teachers and friends as lockdown restrictions continue to ease. See page 19 for more photos. (PS)