It's a nervous time for many as school prepares to return full time from Monday - not just students, but parents, teachers and school bus drivers would all be experiencing various levels of trepidation.
So, how will it all work? What's allowed and what's not?
The Mercury contacted the NSW Education Department and Hunter Valley Buses to get the lowdown.
What students can do:
- Use the school library;
- Engage in non-contact sporting activities;
- Year 11 and 12 students only may attend classes/activities relating to subjects only available on other campuses.
- VET work placement for Year 12 students can proceed from June 1. Year 10 and 11 work-placement is able to proceed from Term 3.
- School based apprenticeships and traineeships can recommence once the relevant workplaces are back in operation.
- Trade Training Centres can operate on school sites.
What students can't do:
- School assemblies (unless for critical information)
- School incursions and excursions including camps;
- Work experience;
- Inter-school activities (debating, inter-school sport);
- In-school activities requiring parent or other volunteers;
- Use hydrotherapy pools;
- Drink from a water bubbler - bring a water bottle instead;
- Attend TAFE for study but may continue to learn online.
Schools will receive additional cleaning. Target areas include high-touch areas and other hard surfaces, door handles, lockers, light switches and handrails in stairways and movement areas. There will also be additional cleaning of toilets and bubblers and topping up of supplies like soap.
Schools have received supplies of soap, hand sanitiser, toilet paper, paper towels, disinfectant wipes and personal protective equipment. The school is able to order more as needed.
There should be no visitors to school sites unless the school considers it essential.
Each school will provide advice on drop off and pick up procedures.
Canteens and uniform shops can open at the discretion of the principal.
Out of school hours care can continue to operate.
Wherever possible, P&C and parent/carer/teacher meetings should be conducted online.
All students should be at school unless they have a medical certificate stating that they are unable to return to school due to an ongoing medical condtion, or if the student is currently unwell.
Health advice to students:
Students are asked to follow good hygiene practices including:
- regularly washing hands;
- avoiding sharing drinks or food;
- coughing or sneezing into your elbow, or a tissue which should be discarded immediately.
Reporting and assessment:
Students have been assessed during the learning from home period and will receive additional assessment on their return to school.
Semester 1 reports will be sent out before the end of August (Week 6, Term 3). It will be a simplified version of the report normally sent out.
The Mercury spoke with Wayne Jeff, chief executive officer of CDC, which operates Hunter Valley Buses.
"With the normalisation of NSW school timetables, all CDC drivers and staff, including those at Hunter Valley Buses, are continuing with a range of measures to avoid the spread of the coronavirus," he said.
"These measures include:
- Continued additional bus cleaning. School buses are cleaned thoroughly after each morning and afternoon school run.
- Extra consideration for drivers' health. All drivers are temperature-checked before shifts and are issued with a replenishable supply of hand sanitiser. Drivers also have a dedicated COVID-19 hotline to call if they present with symptoms.
- Physical distancing. At CDC we are encouraging all passengers to continue practising physical distancing on our buses.
"However, in line with advice from Transport for NSW and NSW Health, physical distancing between students is not required on buses. Additionally, no student will be left at a bus stop.
"CDC NSW will continue to work closely with Transport for NSW to ensure the safety of all passengers."