School students across NSW will receive face-to-face learning one day a week from May 11 building up to a full-time return to the classroom in late July.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Tuesday said public, Catholic and independent schools were all on board with the plan. Schools are currently open amid the coronavirus pandemic but students are encouraged to learn from home.
Current guidelines will remain in place for the first two weeks of term two through to May 11, after which students will need to attend school one day a week.
No more than a quarter of the school cohort will be on campus at one time and students will learn the same unit of work regardless of their location.
The government is aiming for a full-time return to school in term three, starting in late July, but pledged to pay close attention to the data and change tack if required.
“Will it be the same as kids going to school under normal circumstances? No, it won’t,” Ms Berejiklian told reporters on Tuesday.
“We’ve made sure we’ve used this time not just to build up our online capacity … but we’ve also made sure we have enough hand sanitisers, soap and all those things which make a school community feel safe.”
Schools will also have the ability to temperature check students where appropriate and cleaning protocols will be ramped up.
Medical advice dictates the highest transmission risk in schools is between teachers rather than students.
Elderly or ill teachers have been advised to remain at home and teachers will receive priority coronavirus testing if suffering respiratory symptoms.
Meanwhile, six new cases of COVID-19 were on Tuesday confirmed in NSW, taking the state total to 2969 with 21 people in intensive care.
It’s the second consecutive day in which six new cases have been confirmed.
“We can now see a definite trend forming in terms of the reduced number of cases,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“But I do also want to stress that sometimes it just takes a handful of people to do the wrong thing to have all this hard work go to waste.”
More than 1750 people have fully recovered from COVID-19 in NSW, chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant told reporters.
Three-quarters of those cases recovered within three weeks while 95 per cent were fully recovered within six weeks.
However, authorities remain focused on stopping the spread of COVID-19 cases linked to a nursing home in western Sydney, where 42 people have become infected.
NSW Health on Monday confirmed a second person at the Newmarch House nursing home in Caddens, a 94-year-old man, had died.
He was the second person from the facility to die of the virus after a 93-year-old man died the previous day.
The men’s deaths brought the state’s death toll to 30.
Newmarch House is home to about 100 people with 28 residents and 14 staff now infected with coronavirus. Strict isolation protocols are in place.
A worker with mild symptoms entered Newmarch House on six consecutive days – leading Dr Chant to warn even those with minimal symptoms should avoid work and get tested.
Originally published as Weekly return to school in NSW from May 11