Schools stay open

By Daniel Hughes

Schools in the Southern Riverina will remain open despite growing national calls for social distancing and self isolation measures to be mandated in certain industries.

While parents are being asked to make their own decisions about sending children into the school environment, both the Commonwealth and NSW Governments have advised that educational facilities will be available to those who require them.

Finley High School principal Jeff Ward said intensive cleansing and safety precautions are being implemented at the school in line with health advice.

“For us it's business as usual, but we are following the advice from the New South Wales Government and Department of health,” he siad.

“I wish to emphasise that there have been no reported cases of the virus at our school and that Finley High School is open.

“I met with all staff to ensure we are doing all we can to ensure we maintain a quality learning environment and communicate advice from the Department of Education.

“It is important for parents to know that our school is cleaned thoroughly at the end of each day. All rooms and toilets are cleaned daily and I will be working with Department of Education cleaning contractors to ensure that other precautionary cleaning measures are implemented.

“Teachers will have windows open for increased ventilation as much as possible.”

While classes will continue as normal, non-essential school activities have been cancelled or postponed on government advice.

It means all whole-school assemblies have been cancelled.

Any necessary updates will instead be provided at smaller year group assemblies.

Mr Ward also said all excursions and sporting events have been postponed or cancelled until further notice.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the decision to keep schools open despite mounting pressure to close them is to specifically assist parents who have no choice but to send children to school.

“We appreciate that or some parents it (keeping children at home) is not possible.

“No child will be turned away from school.”

A single unit of work for each year group is being developed by the NSW Education Department to ensure no one is disadvantaged by whichever choice they make.

The same units will be taught in classrooms and via online learning for those staying at home.