Northern Rivers school asks its 370 kids to stay home
CAPE Byron Rudolf Steiner School will be the first school on the Northern Rivers to move online due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Parents of 370 children the school have been advised to keep the kids at home from Wednesday if possible.
School is open, but most kids have stayed home.
"We have a very small number of students here at school," Principal Nerida Johnson said.
"It's been quiet all week, we had 34 per cent of students absent yesterday."
Vulnerable staff and students were advised to stay home early in the week and her directive, issued to all students on Wednesday morning, has been met with relief.
"Essentially, we are making decisions looking at all the reports and making sure we're doing our bit to keep the community safe," Ms Johnson said.
"Parents have been overwhelmingly supportive; I don't think I've ever seen so many messages of support.
"Parents were feeling frustrated at the mixed messaging, we are being told to self-isolate and at the same time to send our children to school.
"We cannot possibly do physically distancing with the younger classes; we cannot keep classrooms of children 1.5m away from each other.
"I want to be on the front foot and show some leadership."
Staff have been working overtime to prepare online learning modules, which will be released to students on Friday.
The principal met with Year 12 students on Wednesday morning to discuss how the school can support their learning during this critical time in their education.
High school students are already familiar with Google classroom however it will be a relatively new concept for primary students.
"In primary school our aim is to keep children off the computers," Ms Johnson said.
For some, who do not have an internet connection at home, the school will use physical dropboxes to distribute learning material.
"Our aim is not to lose a single student through this crisis," she said.
The school will work with parents who lose their source of income due to COVID-19 to ensure their fees are covered.