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Veteran principal worried about return to school

The veteran principal is considering taking safety measures into is own hands by hiring a private company to spray the school grounds and classrooms with disinfectant each day.

“We know the kids can’t stay home forever but there is going to be a big problem with social distancing and logistics,” he said.

“We still need to get our heads around risk management … because we don’t believe we’ll have the level of protection the broader community has.

“There is a fear about going to work.”

About 50 of Berwick Lodge’s 630 students have been attending school during remote learning.

This number rose steadily in recent weeks as parents have become more worried about the socialisation and general wellbeing of their children than their academic advancement, Mr Grossek said.

Twelve of about 50 school staff have been working. Mr Grossek said three teachers with medical issues may not be willing to return to school due to their vulnerability to the virus.

“Most schools will have a pool of [teachers with medical conditions] who may not return. How would they cope emotionally with being back at work?”

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Mr Grossek said some of the potential measures to virus-proof schools posed their own issues.

Berwick Lodge Primary School principal Henry Grossek.

Berwick Lodge Primary School principal Henry Grossek.Credit:Ken Irwin

Prep students and older high school students may be permitted to return before older primary school and middle school students.

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But Mr Grossek said a large proportion of his school community had more than one child at school, meaning parents would remain shackled by home-schooling duties while also managing school drop-off.

“It’ll be an unusual school environment,” he said.

“Clearly parents will have to stay out, but there’s an influx of parents at drop-off and pick-up. How do we manage that while social distancing?”

“It’s a big challenge but we’ll do everything we can to succeed.”

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