Parents may be called in to help out in classrooms due to teacher shortages

Parents could be called in to help out in classrooms if there are teacher shortages due to the current wave of COVID.

A briefing, by the Association of Independent Schools of NSW, warned that up to 20% of teachers at once school could be off sick at the same time.

This comes as independent schools have been told to ask parents to volunteer when term starts back at the end of January and the beginning of February.

Chief executive Dr Jeff Newcomb said the association was also considering asking retired teachers to help out as well.

Parents could be asked to fill in for teachers at school

 Australia was already facing a teacher shortage that could be set to grow in the coming weeks, as many teachers will be at risk of contracting Omicron.

“[We’re] anticipating anywhere between 15 to 20 per cent staff shortages,” Dr Newcomb told the ABC.

“We would support, you know, retired teachers or new graduates who have their qualifications, getting accreditation, so they can assist.”

Parents won’t be teaching lessons, they will be supervising

However, parents are not being asked to teach the curriculum to kids, just to supervise.

“Even we could have parents in schools under a supervisory role where the teacher might be at home doing an online lesson if they have to isolate,” says Dr Newcomb.

“Like we’re not going to put an unqualified person in front of a class to teach maths. But I think we can use a cross section of people to assist if this gets to the crisis stage.

“Many of our schools are ready to go to set up a vaccination hub as we do with the flu vaccination.”

What’s happening in other countries

Other countries are also seeing teacher shortages due to Omicron. In England, classrooms have been combined.

In the US, some states have opted for remote learning and others have also asked parents to come in and look after the classroom.

Schools in Canada have delayed the start of term, like Queensland did with term starting back on February 7th, and teachers in France have gone on strike due to ‘chaotic conditions’.

The Australian national cabinet will meet on Thursday to discuss a uniform approach for students returning to the classroom.

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