Catholic school students across St George and Sutherland Shire will get an extra long Easter holiday break after Sydney Catholic Schools decided to suspend lessons from the end of today.
Sydney Catholic Schools made the decision to stop lessons, effectively bringing term one to an early end, although schools will remain open for those students who need to attend, a Sydney Catholic Schools spokesman said.
The move to bring the term to an early end for schools in 11 dioceses in NSW and the ACT was made in consultation with the NSW Government and Catholic Schools NSW.
Catholic school teachers will continue to work from April 6-9, and will use the extra time as staff development days to prepare remote learning lessons for next term, the spokesman said.
He said the extra time will also allow its IT department to iron out hiccups that had occurred as a result of the speed schools were required to move lessons online in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
The spokesman said students would be able to use next week for self-directed learning or to catch up on on work assigned in the past week.
"We appreciate the challenges many parents have had in these difficult times, juggling work and family responsibilities while, at the same time, supervising their child's learning," the spokesman said.
"We are all at the beginning of a massive shift in what we do and how we do it, and with the hard work of our teachers, goodwill of parents and adaptability of our students, we'll get better and better at remote learning and make it work for everyone."
Sydney Catholic Schools announced on March 23 that it would follow the lead of NSW public schools and allow students to stay home at least until the end of this school term.
It followed an announcement the same day by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian that schools would remain open, but parents were encouraged to keep their children at home.
Sydney Catholic Schools spokesman Michael Hopkinson said no face-to-face teaching would be done at schools, although they remained open for those who need to attend.
It is expected the changes will now continue into term 2.
A letter sent to parents today from Our Lady of Mercy College, Burraneer, said "holidays are starting a week early" and teachers would not assign "any new lessons or work this term".
"Next week, teachers will be spending the week preparing for term 2 and the continuation of remote learning," the letter said.
"The school will be open for you to attend up until Thursday for supervision and care. However, there will be no online teaching."
Term 2 will commence April 27.