PARENTS and teachers alike have flagged serious concerns about the NSW government's back-to-school plan, after details of it were reported by media on Tuesday morning.
Among the more eye-catching details were that willing parents may be asked to step in and supervise classrooms if too many teachers are off due to COVID, and kids may have to be rapid antigen tested at home twice a week.
The government would provide those tests, and 24 million would be required across the 10 week term.
President of the New England Regional P&C Rachael Snowden said if the reports are to be believed, then she has serious trouble understanding how enough rapid antigen tests would be provided and distributed by the start of week one - which is just 10 days away.
"I've not been able to get my hands on any RATs, so the idea that in just over a week there'll be enough tests to hand out, 2.4 million, seriously how ridiculous is that," she said.
"And the people that will miss out will be the people in rural and remote areas because it'll be 'well get it from your local chemist', and the people who won't be able to get it are the people who live 100 kilometres away from the nearest chemist.
"To think they'll be able to ramp that up in such a short amount of time was the most laughable part of the whole thing."
She also isn't comfortable with the prospect of parents having to fill in to supervise. Ms Snowden said parents and carers expect skilled education staff to be in charge of classes, especially at private schools where enrolment fees can be very high.
However, that possibility was raised by the private school lobby, according to NSW Teachers' Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos, who said he does not support the idea.
"That is highly problematic and we certainly wouldn't support that, that is something we wouldn't support because it gives rise to more issues that we could do without," he said.
"There is no doubt that infection rates will be such that there will be high levels of absenteeism, which will result in the disruption of schools and indeed schools being deemed non-operational.
"That is regrettable, but unavoidable."
Singing and dancing going ahead in schools, pending a COVID-safe plan, was also mentioned as a possibility, while the government has reportedly moved away from the idea of allowing children who are close contacts to return to the class after receiving a negative RAT result.
Ms Snowden said she was actually not opposed to that option though, especially for kids who are vaccinated.
Both Ms Snowden and Mr Gabrielatos said they are hopeful the details released on Tuesday were just a part of a broader, much more thorough plan that will protect children and teachers in equal measure.
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