ALL Port Macquarie-Hastings public schools will receive additional cleaning supplies and guidance around social distancing measures when students return to face to face teaching on Monday, May 25.
A NSW Department of Education spokesperson said deep cleaning will be carried out at all local schools in line with the AHPPC guidelines and advice from NSW Health.
"Target areas include high-touch areas and other hard surfaces, door handles, lockers, light switches and handrails in stairways and movement areas. There will also be additional cleaning of toilets and bubblers and topping up of supplies like soap," the Department advised.
In the classroom, physical distancing will remain a high priority and focused on minimising contact.
Hastings teachers will be required to ensure desks can be arranged normally but staff should make use of the space in a room to minimise interaction, the Department said.
"Teachers and other staff must maintain the 1.5m distance from each other and minimise close contact with students. Teachers and parents and carers must also maintain the 1.5m distance from each other."
All schools are being sent additional provisions of soap and hygiene supplies, such as hand sanitiser.
Events like assemblies, excursions, school camps and inter-school sports and arts events have been cancelled.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced on May 19 that all public schools across the state will be open for business from next week after two months of lockdown and the roll out of online, at-home learning.
The announcement also comes after weeks of complex planning to stagger the return of students to school which began last week with senior students as a priority.
Catholic high school families in the Hastings were notified that the blended learning model will continue until June 9 when all schools will return to face to face teaching and compulsory full time attendance. They will be guided by the Catholic Schools Office in Lismore and NSW Health on any changes to that date.
St Columba Anglican School (SCAS) has already resumed fulltime lessons, implementing the return to school with daily temperature checks of staff and students.
Education Minister Sarah Mitchell says from next week, the coronavirus pandemic would not be considered an adequate excuse to keep children at home.
"It's a normal school week from next week and they need to be attending. Rolls will be marked as normal and unexplained absences will be followed up," Ms Mitchell said on Tuesday.
"If there are any students with particular health conditions or concerns about their medical circumstances, as is always the case, they can take precautions and speak with principals.
"But the general message is that students need to return and those who aren't there will be marked absent, with the usual processes to follow unexplained absences."
NSW Teachers Federation's spokesperson Duncan McDonald said the union had been fielding a high volume of calls from teachers worried about the fast-tracked return to face-to-face teaching for all students.
Mr McDonald said most teachers had worked over their holidays to up-skill for the online environment, and developed detailed plans and timetables to make the combined online and face-to-face teaching work.
"We've had schools being told to design their own timetables to suit their local context, and find solutions to almost impossible problems," he said.