As our schools continue to respond to the complexities of COVID-19, I dropped in to Parramatta Public School to chat with Principal Gail Charlier.
With between 20% and 30% of students staying home sick, their focus has been on how students will continue to learn if the school becomes non-operational.
For older students they use many of the same tools as in the classroom - from flipped learning to online platforms such as Google Classroom.
Kindergarten will be more of a challenge, but Gail thinks tools such as Seesaw will also be useful.
As always, thanks to teachers across the state for your commitment to our children.
Video - COVID-19 update, Thursday 19 March
Duration - 2:19
Transcript of COVID-19 update, Thursday 19 March
Well today we're at Parramatta Public School with Gail Charlier, she's the principal here. Gail, we were here just a few weeks ago at the opening of the new school. A lot's happened since then. You've got to implement a social distancing policy how's all that going?
It's a steady and slow process, but what we've done is we've asked our parents to drop their children at the gate rather than staying in. They're very social, they like to be here and enjoy the company and watch their children go into their classrooms. Yeah. But they're very cooperative. They're absolutely on our side, so that's helping us immensely.
How's all the hand washing going?
Oh, amazingly, I've seen videos in classrooms, especially in Kindergarten, they're showing them how to do it. All the staff have done that, they've got posters on the walls. It's constantly being reminded and repeated throughout the day. So the children are kept safe and the teachers are.
One of the things I know that schools are doing is thinking through, if we did reach a shutdown stage, how would we keep teaching and learning going? How are you approaching any preparation for that here?
Yeah, we've started those discussions. We've been talking as an executive and they're all starting to plan what they could do with their stage because we see different stages. It's going to be easier than others and will require a slightly different platform. For our older children, they're much more used to using the Google Classroom platform, working online, doing flipped learning activities like that, so we feel that that will be quite easy to roll out. By comparison, for our little ones we're looking at do we need to do videoing of lessons and put them home. But we had the Seesaw platform, which we share, but we also use Google Classrooms a lot. So I think that will help us in our endeavor.
And, just tell us what you're seeing about student attendance at the moment. We're giving pretty clear messages. If you're sick, you've got a cold, fever, stay at home. How's student attendance at the moment?
It's going between about 20% to 30% away each day. Our parents are so much on board. They've been amazing. We have sent children home and we're not getting any disputes or worries. It's yes, of course if my child is not well, I'll keep them home till they well again. So 100% support from our community. It's just been delightful.
Challenging days. Thanks for all the great work you're doing here at Parramatta Public School, Gail, and thanks to all our teachers and principals in all their schools around NSW. Challenging times, extraordinary times. Thanks for your leadership. Thanks for your commitment to our children.
End of transcript.