NSW Teachers Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos calls Year 12 return to school ‘premature’

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The NSW Teachers Federation (NSWTF) has responded to the updated vaccination priority of Year 12 students to help schools return to in-classroom learning. 

NSWTF President Angelo Gavrielatos says Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s plan is coming too soon an will put the safety of students and teachers at risk. 

“These are very, very difficult and concerning times and we certainly believe that the announcement made by the premier last week was premature, particularly when you consider the caseload, more than 200 each day over the last three days, and more worrying still, less than half of that in isolation during their entire infectious period,” Mr Gavrielatos told the Today show.

NSWTF President Angelo Gavrielatos speaks with the Today Show (Photo: Screenshot from 9 News)

He says schools were very similar to large worksites, with hundreds of people closely interacting. 

“We want our students back to face-to-face teaching and learning. We want them back but we want them back when it is safe to do so,” he said.

When Ms Berejiklian announced the staggered return of face-to-face schooling on April 21 last year, the number of daily cases in the community was around five, making it a very different situation even before the Delta variant came into play, Mr Gavrielatos said.

“This is the Delta strain, it is highly contagious and highly transmissible. We must put the health and safety of students, their teachers and families first.”

Announcing the plan for Year 12 students to return last week, Ms Berejiklian said students would be given rapid antigen testing to catch any cases of COVID-19, and those living or studying in hotspot areas would be prioritised for the Pfizer vaccine.

“We don’t want students coming to face-to-face learning, getting the virus and taking it home to their families, that’s why we will start a vaccination program,” she said.

Source: 9 News

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