Seven Wollongong public schools will be forced into remote learning for the last week of this term due to road closures for the UCI bike race.
Thousand of parents were informed on Tuesday afternoon that students and teachers would need to stay home between September 19-23, due to the restricted access to a "significant number of roads in central Wollongong".
The affected schools are Keira, Smiths Hill and Wollongong High Schools, and Wollongong, Mount Ousley, Pleasant Heights Public Schools, as well as Parameadows School for Specific Purposes.
Support units attached to Wollongong and Figtree High Schools will also close.
"Ahead of the UCI Road World Championships in Wollongong we've been working closely with the local council and event organiser to minimise any impact on schools and students," a Department of Education spoeskperson said.
"As a result of road closures, seven schools and two support units will move to learning from home for the duration of the event. Teachers will be available online to support students."
In a letter to parents, Mount Ousley principal Emily Jones said the safety and wellbeing of students, staff, parents and carers was the highest priority.
"We have worked with the Department of Education to conduct a risk assessment of this situation," she said.
"Results of the assessment showed that the safest option was for students to learn and staff to work from home.
"To maintain learning continuity during that time, our teachers will prepare a range of curriculum material for students to access online and will organise virtual morning meetings for each class."
"Information about accessing those resources will be provided to students and families early in September 2022."
Wollongong High School of the Performing Arts principal Paul Ryan sent out the same information and also told parents that significant events normally held in the final week of Term 3 have been reorganised or timetabled to a different date or location.
He said year 12 students had already been given information about how they would be affected, and that information in regard to the Year 11 Exams will be provided shortly.
Twelve other schools near the bike race routes will remain operational, and will be advised of road closures and alternative routes to and from schools.
The 12 schools are Balgownie, Coniston, Fairy Meadow, Gwynneville, Keiraville, Lindsay Park, Mount Keira, Mount St Thomas, Nareena Hills, Towradgi and Wollongong West Public Schools, as well as the Illawarra Hospital School.
Last week, frustrated parents at the schools on the route were keen to find out what their school's plans would be for the bike race, and said the short notice that their schools may close left them with limited time to organise supervision for their children.
"It is causing a lot of unnecessary stress as there is no certainty that schools will remain open and without clear direction as a parent I have nothing that I can then use to start a discussion with my employer around work-from-home arrangements during the race," one mother said.
"I fully understand the huge positive impact the race will have for Wollongong on the world sporting stage, but surely the logistics should have been figured out many, many months ago."
A local father was concerned about the potential loss of income if he was going to have to take time off work to look after his children during a school week.
"This year, having had two strike days and flood days, our annual leave is already under pressure," he said.
"The UCI event, held a week before the October school holidays, has created an extra challenge for parents.
"As a single working parent, it's near impossible for me to take leave both for UCI and the holidays, therefore I need to plan well in advance to organise for my children."
Catholic school communities received answers last week, with the principals of Good Samaritan PS in Fairy Meadow and St Brigid's PS in Gwynneville announcing the schools would move to remote learning for the final week of term three.
"During this time, the two school sites will be non-operational and unavailable for regular access by students, parents/carers and staff," a spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Wollongong confirmed.
St Mary's Star of the Sea College informed families in August last year that they would swap the three-week school break from the end of Term 2 to the end of Term 3 so students would be on holidays throughout the event.
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