NSW Teachers Federation demanding Muswellbrook teachers' health be put first

SHUT DOWN: The NSW Teachers Federation is calling for the closure of all schools, with only front line essential workers' children being allowed on sites.
SHUT DOWN: The NSW Teachers Federation is calling for the closure of all schools, with only front line essential workers' children being allowed on sites.

THE debate regarding whether schools should remain open in any capacity or not is raging on - and the NSW Teachers Federation (NSWTF) has let its stance be known.

As of the time of writing, the NSW Government's advice is that students should be kept home, but schools will remain open and no students will be denied entry regardless of whether the parent or carer is an essential service worker or not.

While this has caused confusion for some, it has triggered frustration for others, namely teachers and their family or friends who fear for their safety.

That has extended to areas such as Muswellbrook, which despite having not registered a case yet, is still feeling the effects and anxiety caused by coronavirus (COVID-19).

Regional organiser for NSWTF Jack Galvin-Waight said educational staff are sick of being worried about the wellbeing of anyone on school grounds.

"Teachers in Muswellbrook are very concerned about not only their health and safety but the health and safety of their students as well," he stated.

"Teachers in the Hunter and across the state that are part of the federation are calling on the government to stop delaying the inevitable."

However, the offer to keep educational institutions open to the children of front line essential workers such as health professions is still on the table from NSWTF.

As of Friday, March 27, more than 3000 Australians had been infected with the virus, and recent cases had been confirmed in the Upper Hunter and Singleton local government areas (LGAs).

Only one to four positive tests had been registered in those LGAs, but Mr Galvin-Waight said the attitude of local educators was no different to that of their counterparts in hot spots such as Sydney.

"I think that even though there's obviously more cases in the city, any think any school across the state is very concerned and there's similar issues and difficulties for teachers and students in regards to social distancing," he added.

Despite the push for a shutdown of schools, he said teachers would still carry a large workload during the term as online units of work is tasked to pupils, and he was also adamant no teachers should be docked pay during that time.

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