Local schools introduce distancing measures

CPS Cross CountryCondobolin Public School had great fun at their 2019 Cross Country. However they will not hold their Cross Country events this Term, so they are in line with Department of Education guidelines on social distancing measures. Image Credit: Melissa Blewitt.

The NSW Department of Education has introduced proactive measures to limit the impact of COVID-19 in local and state wide schools.

Condobolin Public School and St Joseph’s Parish School, have already announced the postponement or cancellation of a number of events.

This includes the cancellation of St Joseph’s School Mass, which was to be held on Tuesday, 17 March. The PSSA Knockout Cricket match where Condobolin Public School were to contest on Thursday, 19 March has also been postponed.

Due to the advice received from the Government and Department of Education, organisers have decided to cancel all Peachey/Richardson Gala Days for Term One. Both CPS and St Joseph’s had teams registered the play in the event.

The Wilcannia Forbes Winter Trials to be held on Tuesday, 17 March, 2020 have also been postponed. According to the St Joseph’s Parish School Condobolin Facebook Page, “this decision has been made in consultation with the Catholic Education Office who are receiving advice from NSW Health.” “It is important that we take sensible measures to prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19 across rural, regional and remote NSW.”

CPS has cancelled the remainder of the Years Three to Six Swimming Program, as the Department of Education has directed schools to cancel excursions. They will also be no longer holding assemblies until further notice.

Schools will also not hold their school cross country events.

Mark Scott, Secretary of the Department of Education announced on Monday, 16 March that schools across NSW, would adopt social distancing measures requiring them to cancel assemblies, excursions, travel, some events and conferences.
He added these measures are precautionary and designed to reduce exposure via non-essential gatherings.

“Schools have been a focus of the community and the government as the impacts of coronavirus have developed globally,” Mr Scott explained.
“From Monday onwards, I expect school assemblies and substantial gatherings to be cancelled, along with all excursions.

“The community expects schools to be as safe as possible. We are implementing these measures to provide peace of mind for students, parents and staff.”
“These cancellations also extend to inter-school arts, sports, initiative activities and events.

All major Arts, Sports and Initiative activities and events will temporarily be ceased until further notice. This includes whole school sporting events and inter-school events involving three or more schools.

“Local inter-school sport and other activities, can proceed but we ask organisers to ensure that as far as possible, reasonable precautions are taken,” Mr Scott stated.
“I trust our principals and staff to show leadership during this time.”

Schools will be provided with more detailed advice and suggestions on how they can adjust their day to day activities with minimal disruption.

The Department is continuing to prepare for further closures if necessary with scaling up of technology, additional training of staff and preparation of offsite lessons.

By Melissa Blewitt.