The NSW Department of Education says school attendance is almost back to normal

School's in: Attendance levels in NSW public schools are almost back to normal levels. Picture: John Veage
School's in: Attendance levels in NSW public schools are almost back to normal levels. Picture: John Veage

Attendance levels at the state's public schools are almost back to pre-COVID levels, the NSW Department of Education said today.

It comes as a petition asking that parents be given a choice on whether or not they send their children to school during the coronavirus pandemic has reached almost 9500 signatures.

The petition, which you can view by clicking here, was started after NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian ordered the state's public school students to go back to classrooms full-time from last Monday.

A NSW Department of Education spokesman responding to an inquiry from the Leader said student attendance levels at NSW public schools last Friday and today were at 89 per cent.

This is up from 86 per cent last Monday, May 25.

The spokesman said this was close to 'normal' NSW public school attendance levels, which averaged about 92 per cent.

Both Ms Berejiklian and NSW Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said on-site school attendance was compulsory from last Monday and failure to attend without a medical reason would be recorded as an unexplained absence.

The petition, on Change.org, calls on Ms Mitchell and NSW Department of Education to let parents decide whether their children should attend school during the coronavirus pandemic or continue learning from home. It said the department had decided to reopen schools due to "political and/or economical pressures".

The NSW Department of Education said students should follow good hygiene practices, such as regularly washing hands, avoiding sharing drinks or food, and coughing or sneezing into your elbow, or a tissue, which should be discarded immediately.

It said schools would receive additional cleaning of "target areas", such as hard surfaces, door handles, lockers, light switches, handrails in stairways, movement areas, toilets and bubblers.

Supplies of soap, hand sanitiser, toilet paper, paper towels, disinfectant wipes and personal protective equipment will be "topped up", with 740,000 items so far dispatched to schools.

This story School attendance almost back to normal first appeared on St George & Sutherland Shire Leader.