Schools across New South Wales will reopen for face-to-face teaching from 18 October, one week earlier than originally planned.
But in an interview with ABC News, President of the NSW Teachers Federation, Angelo Gavrielatos, said that because vaccines are still unavailable for under 12s, schools won’t be without risk.
Mr Gavrielatos added that the fact only fully vaccinated teachers are allowed on school grounds from October 18 will also be a challenge.
“That’s necessary. That’s important. But what’s unknown at this stage is how many teachers will have been fully vaccinated by that time and if teachers haven’t been fully vaccinated by that time, well that lies at the feet of the government which failed repeated calls to prioritise teachers for the vaccination rollout,” Mr Gavrielatos said.
Mr Gavrielatos went on and said COVID-19 cases at schools are still likely and that’s why measures need to be taken to mitigate those risks before reopening.
“Months ago we called on the Government to conduct a ventilation audit because we know with Delta it’s transmitted through airborne particles,” he said.
“They remain resistant in terms of measures like ventilation, filtration, etc. These are serious matters.
“It’s a ripple effect. It’s not contained just simply to the one child, the one family, the one teacher. That’s why we need to put in place those other risk mitigating strategies to minimise risks.”