Stay home: Desperate plea from schools as thousands return
Principals are pleading with parents to keep their children at home after thousands more students attended public schools on the first day of term 2 yesterday compared to the end of last term.
Department of Education data yesterday found 87 per cent of parents kept their children at home, a fall of 7 percentage points since last term when 95 per cent of kids did remote learning.
The extra 56,000 students now turning up to class is overwhelmingly being felt in primary schools where 15 per cent - or almost one in six - students attended school yesterday.
Comparatively only six per cent of high school students went to class.
NSW Primary Principals' Association president Phil Seymour pleaded with parents to keep children at home.
"We need parents to hold the line, to follow the instructions their school gives out," he said.
"By sending lots of kids in you're going to send the whole system into chaos."
He said parents had become confused by the complicated and conflicting messages coming from different levels of government.
"I think parents are in a dilemma because of what the Prime Minister has been saying and pushing, but he should butt out," he said.
"Our premier has got it sorted, what the best thing is for our schools and we have a plan and we're working on that."
NSW P and C Federation president Tim Spencer said parents were confused about whether schools were now deemed safe.
"We are getting mixed messages from them, one minute the state (government) says one thing and then the feds will come in over the top and say it is perfectly safe to go to school and there is no social distancing."
"It changes on a daily basis and it is difficult to get your head around and parents are finding it really challenging to even understand what it all means."
Secondary Principals' Council head Craig Petersen said parents were understandably struggling with remote learning.
"Parents are a bit frustrated with learning from home, they're juggling work and managing the kids," he said.
"I am hearing that kids are fed up, they're missing their mates, they're finding learning from home boring."
"Anecdotally, the highest absenteeism was in the city, and as you move out of the city into the regional areas, the attendance rate increases."
A Department of Education spokesman said schools were open and operational for students that need to attend but where practical, parents are encouraged to keep their children at home.
"A phased operating model for NSW schools will see students being reintroduced to some face-to-face learning on campus starting from May 11 (week 3 of Term 2)," he said in a statement.
"The plan is phased, and flexible, allowing us to slowly bring schools back to normal while responding quickly to changed circumstances and transmission numbers."
Originally published as Stay home: Desperate plea from schools as thousands return