Supporting Tasmanian students and their families

17 March 2020

Jeremy Rockliff, Minister for Education and Training

The health and safety of Tasmanian students and staff is our highest priority and we will continue to act on the advice of health professionals in this evolving situation.

I understand the community is feeling anxious right now, and is looking for guidance, which we are providing.

Our current advice from the Director of Public Health is that closing schools is not required, however, we recognise parents and carers may have a range of reasons for not sending their children to school in light of COVID-19.

Parents should advise the school in writing if this is the case, so that schools are aware the student will be absent.

We recognise that parents are best placed to decide the most appropriate action to support the wellbeing of their child in these unprecedented times, so the usual absence rules won’t apply.

I can reassure the community that we are preparing for all situations.

The Department of Education has been working for a number of weeks on developing a range of at home learning materials to assist children’s learning should the current advice to keep schools open change.

This includes online material as well as activities that can be used without an internet connection, such as learning programs to support scheduled programming on ABC TV.  In addition schools are sharing their resources for learning at home.

In years 11 and 12 we already have 42 courses that can be accessed online and additional capacity for online delivery through our Virtual Learning Environment, Virtual Learning Tasmania.  Nine out of the 10 courses with the highest enrolments across the State are covered.

We will continue to take advice from the experts, while being prepared for all possible scenarios.