Principals are being forced to manage traffic around their schools as students return to classes full-time, with the Government failing to deliver on its promise of hiring new crossing supervisors and demanding parents wait outside school gates at drop off and pick up times.
The Liberal Government promised to hire 300 new school crossing supervisors at the 2019 State election, but has so far hired only 59.
As well as creating additional infection risks for parents who may not be able to practice safe physical distancing, the Government’s directive means that parents and families may be crowded onto narrow streets, next to busy roads, with little protection from dangerous traffic.
NSW Labor is calling on the Government to urgently:
· Issue guidelines for parent pick up and drop off,
· Work with councils to temporarily widen footpaths near school gates on narrow roads and;
· Escalate hiring new school crossing supervisors.
"When families need these additional crossing supervisors most, we find out that the Government has failed to deliver on its promise and hire them, leaving school principals to act as traffic cops as kids go back to school,” Jo Haylen, Labor Shadow Minister for Active Transport, said.
“The streets around our schools were already dangerous before Covid-19, but the lack of planning around public transport and preventing parents from entering schools is a recipe for disaster.
Crash studies show that the most dangerous time to be on our roads is the afternoon at school pick up and road trauma remains the number one killer of kids under the age of 14.
"It’s not fair that school principals should have to act as traffic cops because the Government can’t get its act together and hire school crossing supervisors,” Ms Haylen said.
"The Premier has asked parents to exercise common sense, but that's hard to do at schools where there is no drop off zone, no public transport, no safe crossings; in some cases there aren't even footpaths.
"Safety around our schools can't be an afterthought and principals should be given every support to help manage the return to schools safely, both inside and outside the school gate. That starts with the Government acting on its own promises.”