National is calling on the Government to give parents, students and education providers certainty about what the criteria is for school closures as we continue to deal with the impact of Covid-19, National’s Education spokesperson Nikki Kaye says.

“We know that it’s a difficult time for a number of students, parents and educators. I have written to the Minister of Education asking for information about the criteria for education providers to close. I have also requested an urgent briefing on the situation around education institutions and I have had confirmation that I will get that this afternoon.

“It is important we urgently get clarity and have transparency about what factors are being taken into account. Parents want as much certainty as can be given around what arrangements they will need to make for their children and teachers deserve to know what will happen with their jobs.  

“There are a range of factors that need to be taken into account including the effectiveness of stemming the spread of coronavirus and the impact of closure on the health workforce and older people who may be needed to care for younger children.

“There will be a need to be innovative if there are closures to ensure there are adequate childcare options for health workers. We also need to see the Government’s plan for large scale remote learning.

“If the Government decides to keep education providers open, we believe there are additional measures the Government should implement such as:

  • Greater financial support for those schools, early learning services and tertiary providers impacted by Covid-19.
  • Additional funds for schools, early learning centres and tertiary providers for hygiene, cleaning and disinfection.
  • Greater flexibility around school and early learning funding due to potential staff and student absences.
  • Funding to ensure schools do not lose support staff.

“National will continue to work constructively with the Government as we have over the past six weeks raising a range of issues about the preparedness of our education system for coronavirus.

“National will support the Government around our education system to take whatever measures are necessary to keep students, educators and the public safe and key decisions around our education system are crucial in the fight against coronavirus.”

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