Stay well and stay strong

Secretary Mark Scott thanks education staff for their tireless work this week.

Under any reckoning, it has been a remarkable week.

Last Friday, we had a National Cabinet established and the announcement of social distancing policies, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since then we have had flights grounded, borders closed, supermarket shelves stripped and extraordinary economic measures introduced.

In our lifetime, we have not seen so many momentous events happen so quickly. The old journalist in me feels like we’ve had seven years’ news in seven days.

At the end of this week, I wanted to pass on my thanks to each and every one of you.

You have worked tirelessly, with professionalism and dedication, to keep delivering our essential community service for children and families across New South Wales.

As we know, social distancing strategies are hard for any of us to implement, let alone for children.

So particular thanks to all who are working in schools.

I have visited a number of schools this week. The teams there have been so focused and capable. Doing their best to keep teaching and learning happening, while managing social distancing, keeping students calm and cheerful, and planning for uncertain days.

We could not ask for more.

I had a meeting with the state’s principals yesterday, where I affirmed our commitment to keep teaching and learning happening, no matter what lies ahead.

We owe it to our students: their educational growth, their wellbeing and their sense of safety and security in a world that can be overwhelming at this time. We particularly owe it to our children who arrive at school each day having already experienced disadvantage and trauma in their lives. It is these children who will face the greatest challenges through uncertainty and disruption.

I know we have the professionalism, the commitment and the passion for this vital work to continue.

We have teams of people working to solve issues as they emerge, to prepare for any contingency and to answer your questions.

We want to communicate with you regularly, to keep you up to date with the very latest information and planning as we manage through this. We envisage a daily update for schools and corporate staff with what you need to know.

Thanks again for remarkable service this week.

May the weekend be restful and renewing.

Stay well and stay strong.