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COVID-19 update: Message from Department for Education CE

23 March 2020

The Department for Education CE provided us with a message at 1.36 pm, 23 March 2020

We’re living in extraordinary times.

Constant public debate about the merit of operating schools and preschools has been unsettling, and I know you have a lot of questions.

I’ve been speaking to the Premier, Minister and Chief Public Health Officer. And I want to be as transparent with you as possible.

It was decided at last night’s National Cabinet meeting that schools and preschools will stay open. However, parents can choose to keep their children at home. Some jurisdictions have introduced variations on the theme.

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) – made up of the chief health officers from each state and territory – does not support the closure of school sites. The AHPPC views schools as an essential service and strongly supports keeping them open.

So, here in South Australia we will keep our schools and preschools open until national health advice changes.

Our school holiday dates in South Australia will not change, unless public health advice changes.

In these uncertain times, we must prepare to transition to flexible delivery so that learning can happen at home as well as at school. We need an approach where kids can continue their learning. This is likely to include:

Learning from home: a mix of hard copy learning materials, supported by increasing online delivery. Our learning from home online presence will launch shortly, and be continually built upon. It will be a resource for students, families, teachers and schools.

Learning at school: an option for those families who choose to continue having their children attend school or preschool.

We’re looking at a range of scenarios. There are some kids – those of our essential services personnel, and some of our most vulnerable children – who might not be able to continue their learning at home. We need an option for these children. We do our very best to not have kids fall through the cracks.

The wellbeing of each and every one of you, and all of our students is always top of my mind.

You are being faced with things you’ve never been asked to do before. I know transitioning our teaching and learning to a more flexible approach won’t be perfect on day one. But we will improve day by day.

Thank you to all of you for the professionalism, leadership and flexibility you are showing our students, parents and wider community during such unprecedented times.

I’m so proud to have you all as colleagues.

The Education Standards Board also appreciates the efforts of educators and providers in these difficult times. If you are responding to the changed environment and considering making changes to how your service operates, we may be able to help your decision-making. Please feel free to discuss your service’s particular circumstances.

To contact us:

  • Phone:  (08) 8226 0077

  • Email: educationstandardsboard [at] sa.gov.au

For health advice: