22 January 2020

Help for families preparing for return to school

We are working to support school communities affected by bushfires to ensure a return to school as normal as possible.

The NSW Department of Education is working to support school communities affected by the summer bushfires to ensure a return to school as normal as possible for as many students as possible.

We encourage students and families who have been affected directly and indirectly to seek practical help through government and non-government agencies such as the NSW government’s Office of Emergency Management. The department also provides advice to assist parents, teachers and students.

The Office of Emergency Management has a list of bushfire recovery assistance contacts including emergency accommodation, animal welfare, recovery allowances and payments, farm and business assistance, legal assistance, water assistance, and counselling.

Affected staff can seek support through the Department’s Employee Assistance Program during the holiday and in term time, and counselling will be available for students and staff through their school once term begins.

The assessment of school buildings and facilities affected by the fires was started by officers of School Infrastructure NSW as soon as it was safe to do so, in order that school communities can be advised as soon as possible about the status of their school, and, if necessary, alternative arrangements.

It is expected that the vast majority of students will be returning to school as normal: advice about preparing for the start of school is on the Department’s Back to School page, but families facing any additional difficulty can also contact their school once term begins.

The school safety page will be updated with a list of government and non-government schools that are not operational.

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