NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has hinted at schools in Sydney staying shut after the state recorded 77 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday.
When questioned on what life will be like in the near future for parents working from home, Ms Berejiklian said the government is still awaiting health advice before making a hard decision on reopening schools.
“There‘s no doubt that the challenge for us is limiting mobility,” Ms Berejiklian told the media on Sunday.
“Schools are safe but what is not safe is having hundreds of thousands of people leaving home the same time, dropping kids off, picking kids up. That level of interaction is always
a concern for us.
“Obviously, as a government, our priority would be to return to face-to-face learning, but only when it‘s safe for the broader community a we will obviously take health advice on that.
“So given mobility is still a challenge for us, yes, initially we assumed it would potentially be four days of home learning, but given where we’re at, please allow us to provide that advice closer to the time.”
The NSW government confirmed on Wednesday the Greater Sydney lockdown would be extended for an additional week and not end at midnight on Friday.
Face-to-face learning will not resume until July 19 to limit the mobility of parents and carers in and around school communities, Ms Berejiklian told reporters.
“In relation to Greater Sydney, the reason why we took the decision around schools not resuming face-to-face learning next week is not because schools aren’t a safe place, they are a safe place, but what we really need to do in Greater Sydney is reduce mobility,” she said.
The premier said schools would be open to children of parents who needed to work, whether they were considered essential workers or not.
“We went through this the last time New South Wales had a lockdown and no school turned any child away,” she said.
“But we also appreciate that parents have to make some serious decisions. Our strong preference is that parents keep children at home for home schooling for the four days.
“If they have no other option, the child is welcome on the school grounds. That is what we had decided or what we did last time round, and it worked well.
“The school communities are aware of what needs to occur. Parents are aware of what needs to occur.”