PARENTS have reacted with mixed emotions after a number of Sydney Jewish day schools announced they are moving to online-based learning in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Despite Prime Minister Scott Morrison declaring on Tuesday night that schools would remain open, Masada and Mount Sinai Colleges (MSC) were the latest Jewish schools to cease face-to-face learning this week amid the COVID-19 threat.
“Masada College has carefully considered the safety and wellbeing of its students, staff and parents concerning COVID-19.
“[We] have decided to transition to the college online learning platform, starting officially from Wednesday, March 25,” Masada principal Martin Tait told The AJN.
MSC principal Phil Roberts added, “We are well prepared for online home schooling as each child has access to an iPad and our learning platforms are used extensively at school anyway.
“The Jewish schools are working together and supporting each other during this time.”
Both colleges remain open to parents who work in essential services and those who are unable to make alternative arrangements.
Meanwhile, Emanuel School was closed on Monday to enable staff to prepare for the move to online learning. From Tuesday, the school transitioned to its online programming for all students from kindergarten to year 12.
Students unable to be supervised at home would be accommodated in “large spaces”.
It comes after Kesser Torah (KTC) and Moriah Colleges announced last week they would stop face-to-face teaching in the wake of the virus. KTC is offering care and supervision arrangements for parents providing essential services with Moriah providing it for “families who are providing essential services and others who are in need”.
While there have been no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Sydney’s Jewish schools – the transition to online learning simply a pre-emptive measure – not all parents are happy.
One Moriah parent, who spoke to The AJN on the condition of anonymity, slammed the decision as “insubordinate”.
“Imagine a country where very person and organisation did whatever they wanted in spite of what the government said. Where would we be as a nation?” the parent said.
“I don’t believe in a time of serious crisis the community should be acting contrary to government instruction. It’s not the right thing to do.”
Emanuel parent Eileen Goldberg, however, said online learning has been “amazing so far”.
“All my three kids are fully engaged,” she said.
“The teachers are doing such a great job of making it work – and really, so are the kids.”