Students head back to class

As of Monday, school will be back in session in the Snowy Valleys, just in time for the term to wind down.

The decision to reopen public schools was announced on Thursday morning by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, with the lockdown in Regional NSW lifted in most Local Government Areas – including the SVC.

Schools are now set to reopen, with Level 3 CovidSafe measures in place, despite the final day of Term 3 being just a week away on Friday, September 17.

Stage 3 restrictions include a variety of activities which were prohibited prior to the recent lockdown, including:

• Mask wearing for all students in Year 7 and above in indoors settings and for all staff in indoor and outdoor settings

• No singing or chanting

• Schools must make alternative arrangements for graduations, formals and school dances to comply with Covid guidelines

• No emergency drills

• No inter-school activities

• No assemblies

• No school performances

• No excursions

• No student visits to aged care facilities

“It is still a restricted environment,” said Deputy Premier John Barilaro as the easing of restrictions was announced.

Carmel Stuckey at Franklin Public School described the news as ‘a little bit of a shock’ and asked parents to be patient on Friday.

“We’re still under fairly strict guidelines from the Department [of Education] as far as supervision. I understand that parents are getting frustrated. At this stage [Friday], we can only have five staff members on site.

“Next week we will return to Level 3, which is students returning to school, but we’re not encouraging mingling or sport or those things, so that will make a difference.

“We’re just making sure that we’re very CovidSafe.”

Mrs Stuckey said bringing students back for a single week would present unique challenges and said she had expected the government to wait until the start of Term 4 before reopening.

“You would have thought that they may have been a little bit more lenient and let us get through the holidays rather than bring mass groups back together,” she said, expressing concern about the likelihood that people will start travelling through the regions as the lockdowns lift.

“We’re very safe in Tumut, but with lots of people mingling and moving with the holidays, you hope that we won’t get back to where we are now.”