When PM is sending his own children back to school
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has revealed when he'll be sending his children back to school amid the COVID-19 crisis, and the homeschooling pain his family has shared with other Australian parents.
Speaking with news.com.au's political editor Samantha Maiden in an exclusive Facebook Live interview tonight, Mr Morrison said his daughters Abbey and Lily would be returning to school in Sydney five days a week from Monday.
"I'm looking forward to (youngest daughter Lily) particularly being able to go back, and they're going back five days a week at the school they attend," he said.
Though it's been his wife Jenny who's taken on most of the homeschooling load, the Prime Minister said that like for many families, school closures have been tough on the Morrisons.
He said that particularly for his youngest daughter, "it hasn't worked".
"She's in K-6 and it's been a lot hard for them with online learning. It hasn't worked, I mean, it's always best to have children learning in the classroom, that's the expert educationalist research and that, I don't think that's disputed," he said.
"It is a big task I think for parents.
"For those who have had to have been working at home and overseeing their kids' learning at home, I think that's been a real problem, and I think that's been hard on those parents.
"It's not the best for their kids' education and it's also not helping them do their jobs. So it's good to see the schools opening up again."
NSW schools will resume face-to-face learning in stages from May 11 with students initially required to attend one day a week. In Queensland kindergarten, prep, grade 1 and year 11 and 12 students will return to classrooms full-time from Monday with schools expected to be fully operation by May 25.
South Australia and Western Australia have already begun welcoming students back to the classrooms and have experienced attendance rates over 70 per cent, while Victoria will encourage parents to keep students at home for the remainder of the term.
Mr Morrison conceded that advice around attending school had been confusing for parents, particularly when attendance was being encouraged while other gatherings, like birthday parties, remain banned.
"I think that is totally fair enough. The consistency that you try and get across all these different controls, sometimes can be very difficult," he said.
"The reason that premiers decided to have that arrangement in place is because it would be confusing to say you can have five kids around, but you can't have five adults, and that would confuse the message about people staying at home and not going to other people's places.
"So in many places the national cabinet has tried to keep it as simple as possible. It can't always work, it's not always 100 per cent consistent. We're dealing with a very complex situation and we try and keep it simple."
The Prime Minister said he understood uncertainties from confused and worried parents, but insisted the medical advice had always been that children "have been far less susceptible to this than they have been to normal flus".
"I can understand while there was uncertainties in people's mind about this early, why they might have been concerned about their children going to school and I think that drove some of the earlier discussion we saw. But it's only been proved week after week after week."
Mr Morrison shared more details about how his family has been coping during the coronavirus lockdown, revealing that both his mother and mother-in-law had been staying with the family in The Lodge.
"They were on their own, and we were in a position where they could stay with us, and of course my mum lost my father earlier this year and she was living in a part of Sydney where she would have been quite isolated," he said.
Mr Morrison said he and his brother, who is a frontline health worker in Sydney, had made the decision for their mother to head to Canberra early in the crisis with it would be difficult for either of them to help her had she stayed home.
"The girls have loved having their mamma around, as much and they've enjoyed having their nanna around, which is Jen's mum," he said.
"It was a place where they could be safe, where they could be together, and be supported, and that was done healthily and safely and so it's been great to have them with us."
Mr Morrison said the family would celebrate Mother's Day together on Sunday before Jenny and the girls returned to Sydney for school.
"It's just me and Buddy the dog are the only males in the house at the moment so we'll be celebrating Mother's Day on Sunday with the girls," he said.
"It'll be a special one but it'll be different because we won't have the rest of the family around."
Originally published as When PM is sending kids back to school