The NSW Teachers Federation’s resounding message to the Federal and State Government is that teachers, principals and other school staff are not dispensable, as they continue to campaign for the closure of schools as the COVID-19 pandemic worsens across the state.
The Federation’s Executive Committee has been publicly slamming Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian over their handling of schools, while simultaneously moving to shutdown virtually all other aspects of public life.
Federation President, Angelo Gavrielatos, said advice from both parties had been “hypocritical” and “contradictory” and believes the education sector is on the cusp of a disaster, as teachers, principals and school staff attempt to juggle the transition towards online learning and keeping doors open for onsite learning.
Atop the list of complaints from the Federation was the messaging around social distancing and schools, with both levels of government telling the public that schools were open, despite the Berejiklian Government also encouraging parents and guardians to keep kids at home where possible.
Gavrielatos also called out both governments for seemingly downplaying the risks of infection transmission among students and school staff while at school, while emphasising these risks to the wider community elsewhere.
Gavrielatos said the Federation had lost confidence in both the Prime Minister and Premier and was now calling for schools to be pupil free from March 30.
“It is now essential that an immediate transition to an emergency mode of school operation be put in place, with minimum staffing to support essential frontline services workers who are unable to care for their children during this crisis, and necessary systems to provide maximum health protection for all present on site.
“Staff not rostered on minimal supervision, are to work from home providing educational continuity as far as is practicable for students online during term time,” Gavirelatos said.
Press releases, Mar 23-25
Angelo Gavrielatos, NSW Teachers Federation
Reporter: Dilon Luke