With term two now underway across Australia, states are working independently with their own plans to get our children back into classrooms.

While NSW is planning to send kids back to school for one day per week from May 11 and gradually increase days to have all students attending school for term three, Queensland has announced that online learning will continue until at least May 22.

Regardless of what state you’re in and where you live, there is a debate raging for parents on whether it’s safe for children to go back to school. Sure, the COVID-19 curve is flattening in Australia and our kids are missing the physical aspect of being in the classroom, not to mention the social connections with their friends but could we be putting our kids’ and teachers’ health at risk by sending them back too early?

 

Alisa believes it’s time for her two kids to go back to school, saying they are “old enough to keep social distance from others and wash their hands.”

The big question is: Should our kids be going back to school?

“YES, it’s time,” says Alisa, mum-of-two, Lachlan, 13 and Macy, 11

As a teacher and father-of-two, James believes school should resume when other social isolation restrictions are lifted.

 

“NO, it’s not safe,” says James, a high school teacher and father-of-two, Jack, five and Eve, two

Should kids be going to back to school? No, not until it is safe to do so.

In NSW, the state government has ordered schools to go back in a limited capacity in Week Three of second term and this is before any social isolation restrictions have been lifted. Why is a guy getting fined for sitting on a park bench eating a kebab but it’s okay for 24 individuals – teacher and students combined – to spend one hour together in a nine-metre by nine-metre room? This is inconsistent and it doesn’t make sense to me.

I’m a Sydney high school teacher and I’m worried for my own health and my family’s through the risk of being infected by these classroom gatherings six times a day. I understand the potential risk to students in terms of contracting the virus are minimal but no one seems to have considered the risk to teachers.

On one hand we are all to be socially isolating ourselves to stop the virus and on the other, we go ahead and do the complete opposite if we’re within the school gates.

I want to get back to work and I love teaching but like anyone, I want to do this when the conditions have been deemed safe, which is not the situation for the rest of society at the moment.

I’m not comfortable sending my five-year-old back to school and my two-year-old back to daycare as kids this age struggle to understand good hygiene and practice social distancing. While kids this age may not be significantly affected if they get the virus, they can still spread it to parents.