More than 60 per cent of Western Australia’s public school students are expected to attend classrooms as they reopen for term two, with special arrangements in place to reduce COVID-19 risks.
Parents have the choice to keep their children at home for remote learning for the first three weeks of the term, which starts on Wednesday, but Year 11 and 12 pupils are strongly urged to be physically present.
Cleaning is being increased throughout the day, students must adhere to hygiene requirements and schools are able to implement staggered starts, breaks and meal times to reduce contact.
Education Minister Sue Ellery said not all parents had responded to surveys about attendance sent out by principals but of those who had, just over 60 per cent indicated they would likely send their children back to class.
“I’m actually anticipating that figure will go a little bit higher,” Ms Ellery told reporters on Tuesday.
The State School Teachers’ Union of WA ran a full-page newspaper advertisement last week saying schools should be open for vulnerable students and the children of essential workers but others should stay home if possible.
The WA government, however, says experts advise schools are safe and the best place for students.
An 80-year-old Perth woman, whose partner travelled onboard the Costa Victoria cruise ship, was WA’s only new COVID-19 case on Tuesday and brought the state’s total to 550.