“It was understandable that we wanted to minimize the number of HSC exams so that other students could go back to school, which was the basis of our advice to the government.”
They said the response committee had no details about the return to school plan for kindergarten through year 11 students, which was announced last Friday. “That year that 12 students could actually go to school on October 25 was never in our minds,” they said.
However, Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant changed her opinion at a meeting this week, and multiple sources — who declined to comment publicly due to the sensitivity of the matter — said the opinion of many on the committee is now shifting towards running the full supplement. of HSC exams.
Dr. Chant’s advice that other students could be on site during exams “changes a lot,” the letter said.
“So now we have to think about whether we can do many or all of the exams, or whether it is in the best interest of the students to cancel most or all of the exams, based on their mental health concerns, or whether one of the many other options now suddenly open to us is perhaps the best thing for the students of NSW,” the letter reads.
Education Secretary Sarah Mitchell said the NESA committee was not tasked with the return to school plan. “As made very clear to members of the NESA COVID Committee by Health, the later date is to increase vaccination coverage for students and staff, as well as in the wider community,” she said.
“Students in schools in the South West of Sydney have just as much right to take their exams as the students in independent schools in the Eastern Suburbs, and a delayed HSC is helping to achieve this. All members of NESA’s COVID Committee have a duty to represent the interests of students of all backgrounds and all school sectors.”
The head of Catholic schools NSW Dallas McInerney, who is on the committee, defended it, saying it had important work to do. “It has the right people,” he said. “And it has the full support of the Catholic sector.”