The school and wider community at Wagga Public School are racing against the clock to install six demountable classrooms to replace those that were destroyed by fire two weeks ago.
School commences next Wednesday, January 30, and while the portable classrooms are being installed, the school will utilise their hall, library and computer rooms as temporary learning spaces.
About 130 students have been affected by the fire, including three kindergarten, two year 1 and one year 2 classes.
Principal Leanne Harvey said this tragic event has shown the strength of the school community.
“The school community, our staff, parents and students as well as the Wagga community, emergency services and the Department of Education have all been offering their services and it’s just absolutely fantastic,” Miss Harvey said.
“The demountables are being put on site as we speak, so we’re hoping to have as many running when school starts back next week.
“We’re hoping these installations won’t take any longer than two weeks and the assistant principals, who lost two offices, will share with other offices.”
The Department of Education has been providing counselling services for staff who have been affected by the fire damage throughout the holidays.
“From day one next week these services will be available to any friends or family who are feeling a little bit stressed by the fire damage,” Miss Harvey said.
The department has provided 50 laptops, among other teaching resources, that were lost in the fire.
Department of Education’s director of educational leadership Jenene McGrath said students and their safety is paramount when the school year commences.
“The exclusion zone is well fenced and the school will be looking at their safety procedures and when these things happen, we review those policies and procedures to make sure everyone understands what is required,” Ms McGrath said.
“Our aim is to make sure that students return and feel safe and welcome and that they understand what is happening and are aware of those changes.
“We also want their parents and families to feel safe and secure and know that our core business is teaching and learning and we’re going to get the teachers and students into a classroom, learning from day one.”
Ms McGrath said the department and school are very “grateful” of the community’s help in rebuilding what was lost as the school.
“The school has coped really well under the leadership of Leanne, working as a team,” she said.
“I was here Tuesday and got to work with the volunteers and it was great to see how many were there, laminating and cutting out bits of coloured paper and helping make sure that the school starts smoothly.
“We’re looking at where to source interactive whiteboards and the department is also sourcing classroom equipment, like chairs and tables.”