I’ve noticed that hardly anyone uses the phrase ‘we’re all in this together’ this time around.
Because it’s becoming abundantly clear that we aren't.
We have beach picnics and cliff walks in Bondi, and mounted police in Western Sydney. We’ve seen private school boys ‘accidentally’ vaccinated, while unvaxxed essential workers of the Fairfield LGA must endure COVID testing every three days.
Watch: Everything that is happening in Sydney right now. Post continues below.
I was at a meeting of NSW teachers when the extended lockdown was announced last week.
In a conversation about their priorities, one said: “My school is in Fairfield so you can imagine what we’re going through right now.”
The meeting paused to offer solidarity, as we contemplated the impossible situation of her and her students.
Western and South Western Sydney schools do a tremendous job under enormously difficult conditions.
Even while depleted of resources, they punch above their weight, often out-perform the rest of the state with regards to student improvement.
Their schools are enriched with the most linguistically diverse students in NSW and educate most of Sydney’s students from refugee backgrounds.
In these areas schools’ role in the community goes far beyond teaching and learning.
Often schools fill the function of the state. They’re community hubs for families full of essential workers. They fill the gaps left by socio-economic disadvantage, especially under lockdown when many parents do not have the luxury to work from home.
As usual, the pandemic shines a light all on all the inequities that exist in society and systems.