Cyclone Seroja: Five Mid West WA schools closed, three still without power

Elise Van AkenGeraldton Guardian
Debris have been sprawled around St. Mary's Catholic School in Northampton.
Camera IconDebris have been sprawled around St. Mary's Catholic School in Northampton. Credit: Simon Santi/The West Australian

Five Mid West schools are unlikely to welcome students back for term two next week, with another three still without power.

Forty-one public schools that were in the path of Cyclone Seroja have been cleared to open by the Department of Finance and the Department of Education, including Chapman Valley Primary School along with Morawa and Northampton District High Schools which have been cleared of cyclone damage but remain without power.

An assessment of Kalbarri District High School, The WA College of Agriculture Morawa and Three Springs, Binnu and Perenjori primary schools on when it is possible to open them is still to be made, having been delayed by road closures and continuing nned for clean-ups across the region.

A pile of rubble is all that remains of this building in Northampton.
Camera IconA pile of rubble is all that remains of this building in Northampton. Credit: Simon Santi/The West Australian

A representative from State Government education and training minister Sue Ellery’s office said they were confident the three schools without power would be connected by Monday, as Western Power “had it as a priority,” and contingency plans were in place for any students in the affected areas who weren’t able to return to school.

These included alternative sites for in person learning being investigated along with laptops and internet dongles being sent out to facilitate online classes.

Ms Ellery said 46 public schools were in the path of Cyclone Seroja, and it was reassuring to see tso many schools were ready to open their doors for the start of term two.

I am always impressed by the incredible dedication shown by members of our school communities, particularly during times such as these,

she said.

“They continue to step up and work tirelessly behind the scenes to support students' learning.”

She said the department was working hard to find temporary solutions where it is possible.

“The Department of Education is continuing to provide support to staff and families who have been affected by Cyclone Seroja, and parents with any questions about their child's school are encouraged to call 1800 882 345,” she said.

“Principals will also be communicating with parents and carers.”

Vanessa Leggo with Hendrina, 4, and Jet, 7, in Kalbarri
Camera IconVanessa Leggo with Hendrina, 4, and Jet, 7, in Kalbarri Credit: Simon Santi/The West Australian

The 1800 882 345 Parent Helpline has been set up for parents of affected schools that require advice or support relating to their child's education, and is available from 8am to 8pm.

A team of school psychologists, chaplains and experienced collegiate principals will also be sent to the Mid-West to provide hands-on support for the schools and communities affected.

Midwest director of education Lisa Criddle attended a meeting in Kalbarri today to provide an update on Kalbarri District High School and discuss education arrangements, the support available for the Kalbarri school community and options regarding continuity of teaching and learning.

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