Further to claims by unions representing teachers and school cleaners that there is insufficient funding, an NSW education spokesperson told Echonetdaily, ‘The cleaning hours provided at each school are based on the floor area and surface finishes at the school, to ensure equitable application across the state’.
‘Contractors clean the schools in accordance with a set of standards developed by the Department of Education and Public Works Advisory (PWA).
‘The standards ensure that the schools are clean and ready for occupation at the start of each school day’.
‘The NSW government has allocated $250 million to employ additional cleaners of schools and other public infrastructure, and the department is working with PWA and the cleaning contractors to deliver enhanced cleaning during COVID-19.
‘The schools have been informed that they will receive an enhanced daily clean that focuses on hard surfaces that are regularly touched (i.e. hand rails, light switches, door handles) and ensuring desks, tables and chairs are wiped down every day.
‘Delivering on this enhanced level of clean has required PWA and the department to negotiate directly with the cleaning contractors to ensure they have the capacity to deliver, and to ensure the department complies with all relevant fair work and workplace legislation. Cleaning of public assets is being co-ordinated with other government agencies and departments to ensure an enhanced cleaning standard is achieved across the wider community.
‘At schools where there has been a confirmed positive COVID-19 diagnosis, the department implements a cleaning program that is in accordance with Australian standards and based on advice and requirements provided by NSW Department of Health.
‘[Last week], the Department moved to provide continuity of learning for all students both on and off campus and the premier, for practical reasons, encouraged parents to keep their children at home if they could.
‘Detailed breakdowns by area are not available at this time but initial figures from schools indicate that student attendance yesterday was significantly decreased with a state average decline of 74 per cent’.