The AEU strongly backs Premier Peter Gutwein’s call for parents to keep students at home from Monday 30th March, where they are able to supervise and support their learning.

“We welcome the Premier’s acknowledgement of the stress that teachers have been under, many of whom have been putting their students’ education and welfare ahead of their own needs in this crisis,’’ Helen Richardson, AEU Tasmania President.

“This announcement is the result of ongoing solutions-focused discussions between all parties; the AEU representing the needs and concerns of educators, The Department of Education and the Education Minister,” she said.

“Student-free days for the remainder of Term 1, with the exception of essential workers’ children and students who are not supported to learn from home, will give educators some relief as they try to prepare for Term 2 while continuing to provide for the students in their classes now.

“The Premier’s appeal to parents to keep their kids at home, if they’re able, is warmly welcomed and will reduce anxiety for educators under immense pressure to plan for a new world of learning in Term 2, while dealing with COVID-19 related health and safety issues.”

“Less students in class makes the social distancing and hygiene measures more practical to implement and frees up some time to prepare Term 2 offsite learning, which has a range of complexities.”

Education delivery in Tasmania from Term 2 onwards will look very different with teachers needing to cater for students who need to continue attending school on-site; for students who are able to engage in online learning; and for early childhood students and those who don’t have internet access and will need offline learning packages.

“It will be a very complex situation and teachers, principals and support staff are committed to maintaining high quality and tailored learning for each child and we look forward to working closely with the Government on challenges and solutions in these unheralded times for public education,” Ms Richardson said.

“We continue to engage with TasTAFE to see members there receive similar recognition and action to reduce health risks to them and the wider community.”