Parents concerned about close contact rules

Central Coast Council of P&Cs wants a plan that will keep students and teachers safe when they return to school

Central Coast Council P and Cs (CCCP&C) said parents share teachers’ concerns over changing close contact rules in the region’s schools.

A recent announcement from National Cabinet that staff in schools, early childhood centres and post-secondary colleges are exempt from COVID isolation rules has sounded alarm bells with teachers’ unions.

NSW Teachers Federation President, Angelo Gavrielatos, said the move was of great concern.

“This smacks of desperation – noting, regrettably, inevitable absenteeism due to COVID infections,” he said.

“It will increase risk at a time when governments should be improving and strengthening risk mitigation strategies.”

CCCP&C spokesperson, Sharryn Brownlee, said while children are keen to be back at school with their friends and to find out what classes they are in and which teachers they have but, parents worry the scenario will be very different from the one being painted.

“The ease of catching and spreading COVID is high in all schools but especially in primary schools,” she said.

“The lack of vaccine availability and wider community transfer of disease will be much worse than the disruptive term 4 of 2021.

“Education matters a great deal but children, their families and teacher’s safety matters more.

“It is dangerous to pretend we are not still in the middle of an ever changing worldwide pandemic.

“Making decisions that put all the risk on front line workers and children is not acceptable as governments should be doing everything possible to protect these young children.

“It is not acceptable to say it is OK have teachers and pupils get sick and take it home to family and vulnerable younger and older family members.

“It is not safe in schools until most children have had both vaccines and staff their booster shots.”

Terry Collins