Year 12 students from Georges River local government area are among those able to get a COVID-19 jab at a new mass vaccination hub that opened at Homebush today.
The hub, at Qudos Bank Arena at Sydney Olympic Park, was announced by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian as part of her plan to get year 12 students back inside classrooms from next Monday, August 16 - a move that has since been all but abandoned in light of rising COVID-19 cases.
NSW Health said Pfizer doses would be redistributed to south-west and western Sydney to vaccinate year 12 students in the LGAs most affected by the current COVID-19 outbreak, including Georges River.
Pfizer doses will be sourced from supplies across rural and regional NSW.
The NSW Government says it is "finalising plans for the resumption of in-class study under strict COVID protocols", which includes Rapid Antigen Testing to mitigate against outbreaks in schools.
It released a "Flexible School Model for HSC students" on Friday, August 6, to provide "the opportunity for HSC students to access their schools safely from August 16".
Under the model, secondary schools will operate under an updated COVID safety plan, jointly developed by NSW Health and Education, to provide opportunities for essential curriculum delivery, well-being support and check-ins for HSC students as they complete their final year.
As part of the plan, students from all schools in Greater Sydney will complete all school assessments and trial exams at home.
HSC students living or learning in LGAs of concern, includiing Georges River, will not return to school next week.
St George Teachers Association vice-president Glenn Hokin said it appeared "common sense finally prevailed when the Premier reversed her announcement about the return of year 12 students on August 16".
"It is quite unfathomable that the NSW Teachers Federation, representing public school teachers across NSW, was firstly not consulted before the original announcement but then had to advocate strongly to defend the health of teachers, students and their families in line with the advice from the AMA," he said.
"The constant contradictory messages by the Premier and the state government combined with the ill thought out announcements are creating confusion in schools as well as among the students and their families.
"Students were told that they would be transported to Qudos Bank Arena for their vaccinations - another ill thought out announcement which then had to be withdrawn, leaving students and families confused and having to make their own way to the vaccination hub.
"The Premier's statement that no Year 12 student in NSW will be disadvantaged is either just more political spin or more worryingly demonstrates a complete failure to understand what such disadvantage looks like.
"I am not sure how the Premier thinks that all students in St George, or indeed in Liverpool, Fairfield, Mt Druitt or Blacktown, will be able to make their own way to Qudos Bank Arena."
However, Mr Hokin urged students not to feel concerned about completing their final assessment at home.
"There is one certainty in all this confusion. Teachers know their students and will continue to work hard to support them," he said.
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