Sport stars help primary schools keep kids active during pandemic

Parents in NSW struggling with their children learning from home will welcome a new program to help primary school kids stay active remotely.

Sport stars help primary schools keep kids active during pandemic

Parents in NSW struggling with having their children learning from home will receive a bit of respite this week with the Department of Education launching a new program to assist primary school kids in staying active remotely.

The GetActive@Home initiative was developed in-house in just three weeks by the Department of Education.

It involves and a small but passionate group of volunteer teachers and sports stars to help get kids moving in the comfort of their own home.

Presented as a 20-30 minute online video with two hosts and special guests, the program in line with the NSW curriculum demonstrates safe and fun ways children can complete movement activities, using everyday objects found in the home.

It's also complimented with additional digital resources and even off-line workbook options for families with limited computer access.

There are two categories of videos – one for Kindergarten to Year 2 students and another for Year 3 to Year 6 students.  

"What we have been trying to do is just give parents a bit of a break, so they can just put on the program and their kids can follow it," Director of Arts, Sports & Initiatives Rosemary Davis exclusively told ahead of the program's Wednesday launch.

"It includes a lot of fundamental movement skills. Kids aren't playing sport or training at the moment, so it's a way to improve their throwing, catching, kicking and all those skills, and we have some dance stuff in there as well.

"It'll also give teachers a bit of a break too while also meeting the syllabus outcomes."

The creation of the program was prompted by the coronavirus pandemic which forced all schools during the latter stages of term one to suddenly move to online learning.

"To do physical activity is pretty hard when you're locked up," Ms Davis said.

"When we first came up with the idea, we didn't know how long we'd be in isolation for and whether or not we would be going to level four. If we went to more severe restrictions and people weren't allowed to exercise, we knew we needed to have something ready for that.

"That hasn't been the case, but the program is still very relevant. It just seemed to make sense to undertake something like this.

"In terms of mental health and physical activity, it's so important for kids. They've got so much energy as we know, and this is a way to burn off some of that energy, but do it in a way that will build their fundamental movement skills in a really fun way."

Special guest appearances from well-known sports stars are set to encourage students to tune in to new episodes each week

Some of the sports stars featured in the episodes include NRL players Jake and Tom Trbojevic, Olympic kayaker Jessica Fox, Olympic hurdler Sally Pearson, netballer Paige Hadley and former Matildas footballer - and current NSW primary school teacher - Teresa Polias.

"We give them clues through the show and then at the end we reveal who it is," Ms Davis said.

"They give a message for kids to keep active and show them a skill that the children can practice."

Even as schools plan to slowly return students to physical attendance in coming weeks, the Department of Education believe the program is a valuable resource to have and could be continued even after the height of the pandemic.

"We'll have to get the analytics on it, but if it's really popular, it might be something we continue doing," Ms Davis said.

The first two episodes of GetActive@Home are available from Wednesday, May 6

"Having a TV program that schools can just put on and kids can follow.

"It's not bad for some teachers putting it all together. At the moment there's probably been about a dozen people working on it. We had 88 applications from teachers to be a part of the program.

"Most of the teachers involved came in during their holidays to get the program filmed, so everyone has been really generous with their time."

To access the first two episodes tomorrow, as well as other great learning resources with the program, parents and teachers can visit the GetActive@Home website.

Source : 9 News More   

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NSW Health accused of cruise ship failure

A NSW Health official has been brought to tears during the Ruby Princess inquiry when asked about the department's shortcomings.

NSW Health accused of cruise ship failure

A NSW Health official has been reduced to tears after it was suggested there'd been a "reprehensible shortcoming" by the department when Ruby Princess passengers were allowed to disembark in Sydney.

Senior epidemiologist Kelly-Anne Ressler was on Tuesday questioned during a special commission of inquiry hearing into the Ruby Princess cruise ship which docked at Circular Quay on March 19.

Ms Ressler - coordinator of the department's cruise ship health program - told the commission an expert health panel had been created specifically to look into the risks of COVID-19 earlier in 2020.

Although not part of the panel, she was involved in providing "assistance and suggestions" towards a draft protocol document, which was released on February 19.

The protocol suggested all passengers visit a ship's medical centre if they had respiratory symptoms and a fever, with isolation to follow.

But, Ms Ressler said, while a ship was at sea she had "no jurisdiction" to control what actions were taken.

Some 2700 passengers were allowed to disembark on March 19 and the ship has since been linked to more than 20 coronavirus deaths and 600 infections across Australia.

The federal department overseeing biosecurity arrangements has said NSW Health "advised there were no issues preventing disembarkation".

Commissioner Bret Walker SC asked Ms Ressler why he "should not draw the conclusion that there has been a reprehensible shortcoming from NSW Health".

"All I can say is that I'm very sorry it turned out the way it did, it was not our intention," she replied as she fought back tears.

"Myself and my colleagues at the public health unit were working very hard on this. We did what we could and if we could do it again it would be very different."

The commission was told after the ship arrived into Sydney early on March 19, the swabs from sick passengers were "put into the queue as per normal" for COVID-19 testing rather than being expedited.

"My understanding is the technician didn't realise they were cruise ship samples ... and they were not tested as a priority," Ms Ressler said.

The ship had been deemed low-risk by an expert health panel after 0.94 per cent of people on board presented to the medical centre with relevant flu-like symptoms.

In order to be deemed a greater risk in line with the state's draft guidelines, it needed to be equal to or greater than 1 per cent to indicate an outbreak had occurred.

The inquiry heard throughout the hearing there were low swab availabilities aboard the ship, as documented in messages shared between Ms Ressler and the onboard doctor.

Mr Beasley on Tuesday said the Ruby Princess's permission to dock in Sydney was initially cancelled by the NSW Port Authority on March 19.

He stated someone from Australian Border Force called the duty harbour master to discuss "turning the ship around and sending it back to sea".

But a short time later the same ABF person called the master and said it could proceed to Circular Quay.

The special commission will continue to hear evidence on Wednesday and Friday and is expected to deliver its final report by mid-August.

A separate Senate inquiry into the Ruby Princess began on Tuesday in Canberra while a NSW Police criminal probe is also underway.

The Ruby Princess on Tuesday was off the east coast of the southern Philippine island of Mindanao en-route to Manila.

A Princess Cruises spokesman said it's expected to arrive in Manilla on Thursday and "a determination will then be made for the repatriation of Filipino crew in consultation with authorities in the Philippines".

The ship departed Port Kembla in Wollongong almost a fortnight ago.

Source : 9 News More   

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