Bags packed as kids back to school for Term 2

Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
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Elle, 5, and Markus Winkler, 9, with mother Ainslie Western.
Camera IconElle, 5, and Markus Winkler, 9, with mother Ainslie Western. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson

Albany students will return to classrooms tomorrow after Mark McGowan gave the green light for on-campus learning to resume in Term 2.

The State Government announced earlier this month it would take a “cautious and safe” approach to schooling heading into the new term, with all public schools to open to students on April 29.

But the ultimate decision remains in the hands of parents, with schools continuing to offer distance-education packages and online learning resources.

School cleaning will be ramped up to protect students and staff, with $43 million to expand daily cleaning regimes, including $13 million to pay cleaning staff to work throughout the day.

The decision has been met with criticism from the State School Teachers’ Union of WA who took out a full-page advertisement in The West Australian on Friday.

The advertisement stated the union supported schools being open for vulnerable students and the children of essential workers but called on families to keep their children home if they could “to make schools as safe as possible for students and staff”.

For some parents the return to school is bittersweet, with many having used the weeks at home to spend some quality time with their children.

Albany mum Ainslie Western said she had mixed emotions about sending her kids Elle, 5 and Markus, 9, back to school this week.

“I think it will be really good for the kids to go back — good for their mental health and they are looking forward to seeing their friends,” she said.

Ms Western said it had been a challenging six weeks juggling her work commitments and children’s education.

“They really enjoyed the online stuff but it was hard to minimise the screen time and only having the one computer between the both of them was difficult at times,” she said.

“We did a bit of cooking and life skills.

“It was actually quite nice being back to basics with them and spending a bit of time doing things that you often wouldn’t get time for.”

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