The price of safety is avoiding complacency

Are we all COVID-safe in our schools?

It is now evident that children can and do contract COVID-19. What is your school doing to support and keep your workplace as safe as can be for both students and staff?

Is social distancing being enforced? Are students required to sanitise their hands when they enter the classroom? Is hand sanitiser readily available to both students and staff? Are desks and equipment cleaned after every lesson?

Have all extracurricular activities been put on hold or are they being monitored closely? What is happening with choir, sport, masses, assemblies, form meetings, staff meetings and guest speakers? Do teachers have a safe zone in the classroom?

What more can schools do that will not put the health of students and staff in jeopardy?

It is very concerning that schools are being closed after we’ve been told that students do not contract COVID-19. But now we see that both teachers and students are testing positive and many lives and families are being affected.

With Year 12 students in their final weeks of schooling, there is tremendous stress on everyone. The pandemic will be with us for a long time yet. We need to accept this.

In the meantime, we must not become complacent – keep up the daily rituals of cleaning and staying safe. Wash and sanitise your hands and practise social distancing at all times. Wear a mask if you need to or want to.

Eventually we may all be required to wear face masks, and some may need to wear protective face shields, gloves and even protective clothing to ensure safety in classrooms with up to 30 students crammed in two to a desk.

Many senior students have casual jobs in retail and hospitality that bring them into contact with the general public. They drive cars, visit pubs and bars and socialise with friends during the weekends. There is some risk in this.

Thank goodness we are half way through the term and can almost smell the holidays in the air. But we cannot venture outside NSW so we'll have to be creative about enjoying the break.

I urge you all to visit the IEU website and register for one or more of the amazing professional development sessions on offer. Relax at home, Zoom in and enjoy.

Stay safe, mask up, social distance – and keep up the good work, there is light at the end of the Term 3 tunnel.

Chris Wilkinson