The teachers’ union has slammed NSW’s plan to have students back in classrooms by mid-May, calling it incomprehensible.
NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos wants the state government to abandon its plan to stagger student attendance in schools during term two.
“It beggars belief,” Mr Gavrielatos told Nine’s Today show on Wednesday.
“It fails to appreciate, let alone comprehend, the massive organisational and timetabling challenges that presents for schools.
“In many settings it will be near impossible.”
School students across NSW are supposed to attend class for face-to-face learning one day a week from May 11, building up to a full-time return to the classroom in term three.
Initially, only a quarter of students will be at schools at any one time. The government wants schools to use house colours or surnames to work out which students should attend, and when.
Schools will also be required to stagger start and finish times, and lunch breaks and recesses.
On Tuesday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said public, Catholic and independent schools were on board with the plan and the NSW department of education had contacted school principals with ideas.
But Mr Gavrielatos disagreed. He said the plan was “contributing significantly to the stress levels of our teachers and principals”.
Ms Berejiklian defended the state government plan later on Wednesday.
“We’re really pleased with what we’ve put forward. It’s the beginning of kids back to school,” she told Today.
“I know it’s a leap of faith but I’ve said to all the parents, and teachers, we’re so grateful you’ve taken our advice to date and it’s paid off.”
NSW schools are open amid the coronavirus pandemic but students are encouraged to learn from home if they can.
Elsewhere, the NSW coronavirus toll hit 33 on Wednesday, with the deaths of three people in 24 hours, including a third person from a virus-hit western Sydney nursing home.
Health authorities on Wednesday confirmed a 92-year-old woman died on Tuesday at Anglicare’s Newmarch House in Caddens. In all, 28 residents and 14 staff members at the facility are confirmed to have COVID-19.
Two other people died in NSW on Tuesday – a 75-year-old man at St George Hospital and an 80-year-old woman at Gosford Hospital.
An additional five coronavirus cases were confirmed in NSW on Wednesday, taking its total to 2974, with 20 people in intensive care.