26 March 2020

TAFE NSW 'paused' but state school teachers still waiting for closure

| Elka Wood
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TAFE at Bega

TAFE NSW Bega. TAFE NSW classes will pause on Monday but are scheduled to recommence on 27 April. Photo: Supplied.

TAFE NSW has announced it will ‘pause’ all face-to-face classes from Monday (30 March), except for those which are healthcare-related such as enrolled nursing and aged care.

A statement from TAFE NSW said the health of their students and staff is the priority and that a Crisis Management Team has been operating for several weeks to oversee the agency’s response to the unfolding coronavirus situation. TAFE NSW has been working on the plan in consultation with NSW Health.

“TAFE NSW is pausing course delivery so that teachers can plan lessons, develop learning materials and modify training to be delivered to students online. The pause comes into full effect from Monday, 30 March, with classes to recommence on Monday, 27 April,” the TAFE NSW statement said.

Throughout the pause, TAFE NSW facilities will remain open so that students can access a range of services, including disability, library and technology access support. It is expected that all students will maintain social distancing while using the facilities.

TAFE’s 5000 teachers are being trained to provide content online.

“From 27 April, TAFE NSW will re-commence delivery to students through connected and blended delivery. This may include face-to-face delivery where necessary and where adequate social distancing measures can be implemented. Teachers will discuss arrangements directly with their students over the next few weeks.”

Meanwhile, state school teachers and principals are growing increasingly frustrated at the government’s apparent reluctance to close schools in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NSW Teachers Federation Executive met this morning and unanimously endorsed ceasing normal school operations for the health and safety of students and staff. The Teachers Federation called for schools to be pupil free from Monday.

“It is essential that an immediate transition to an emergency mode of school operation be put in place with minimum staffing (to support essential frontline services workers who are unable to care for their children during this crisis). Staff not rostered on minimal supervision are to work from home providing educational continuity as far as is practicable for students online during term time,” the president of the NSW Teachers Federation, Angelo Gavrielatos, said.

Mr Gavrielatos added that an urgent meeting is being sought with the NSW Premier.

TAFE NSW students can contact 131 601 or visit the TAFE NSW website for more information.

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