Students stay at home

Warren Hately and Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Georgiana Molloy Anglican advised parents to keep their kids home on Tuesday.
Camera IconGeorgiana Molloy Anglican advised parents to keep their kids home on Tuesday. Credit: Busselton-Dunsborough Times

Monday saw the start of a major decline in attendance across Capes schools as parents voted with their feet to withdraw students amid concerns about COVID-19.

The much-criticised WA Government policy to keep schools open had little sway for parents believing the risks were not worth continued education.

However, today Premier Mark McGowan said if parents were able to keep children home, and have access to online education resources, they should.

From now until next Friday, April 3, children can still attend public school and go to their regular classes.

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Minister for Education Sue Ellery said in the last week of school, which finishes on April 9, there would be no formal teaching.

“Schools will provide supervision only, not teaching for those students who cannot be at home because their parents require them to be there to maintain their jobs or children in vulnerable circumstances,” she said.

“While children are at home, parents and students can access the learning from home website which ... is now live and provides more than 150 eLearning resources as well as links to sites that provide a multitude of curriculum linked learning activities.”

Schools were down about 50 per cent on Monday, and by Wednesday some local schools only had about 20 per cent attendance.

In Busselton, schools have rapidly made learning materials available online as Georgiana Molloy Anglican School released a letter on Tuesday encouraging parents to keep children at home.

Principal Ted Kosicki said effective social distancing was not possible in a school and he worried for the health of his staff, students and families.

“We are ... discouraging families from attending unless they are in a position where caregivers cannot take care of their children at home; have limited or unreliable broadband connectivity; or are frontline health care or essential workers,” he said.

Capes teachers privately doubted it would be feasible to reopen after the break.

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