You asked, we answered! Here’s some information on some of the burning questions you had about how your schooling will be affected during this time.
Have another question? Let us know in the comments.
Frequently Asked Questions
This information applies to Victorian students in government schools and is correct as of Wednesday, 10th of June, sourced from the Department of Education (DET).
CHANGES TO SEMESTER 1 STUDENT REPORTS
- a list of which parts of the curriculum you’ve been taught
- a description of how you did in those areas (based on the Achievement Standards that are part of the curriculum)
- some details on how you’ve adjusted to remote and flexible learning
- schools CAN choose a grade from a five-point scale but only if they’ve got enough info.
Education Council on 2020 ATAR and 2021 University Admissions
- States and territories are making arrangements to adjust ATAR assessment processes to take the disruption caused this year into account.
- Students should finish their Year 12 studies to the best of their ability.
- Students will receive their ATAR between the 15th and 31st of December 2020.
- Universities will ensure that a range of entry pathways are available to students who are affected by the disruptions of 2020.
Note: some of the information and advice below may have changed since posting, given the evolving nature of coronavirus restrictions and advice.
This information applies to Victorian students in government schools and is correct as of Wednesday, 29th of April, sourced from the Department of Education (DET).
This information applies to Victorian students in government schools and is correct as of Wednesday, 8th April 2020, sourced from the Department of Education (DET), conversations with DET and press conferences. For more information please visit the DET website.
Q: How do we stay safe at school during COVID19?
If you are attending school at the moment, here’s some things your schools should be doing to keep everyone safe.
- Classes should be no more than 10 students and you should not be sitting near each other so that physical distancing can keep happening.
- There should be hand sanitiser in every class – use it!
- Where it’s possible, windows should be open to allow airflow… so maybe wear an extra jumper to school.
- Your parents/carers should not be hanging out in the school yard after drop off or before pick up and everyone should still be 1.5 metres apart (where possible).
- If you are unwell at all (sniffle, cough, headache) you need to stay home or you’re likely to be sent home. Same goes for teachers and school staff.
- If you cough or sneeze, use your inner elbow or – better yet- a tissue that goes straight in the bin.
- You must be supervised by a teacher or a staff member with a Working with children check while you’re at school.
- If you have any medical conditions, make sure your school is aware so there is an appropriately qualified first aider on site at all times.
- In rural and regional Victoria, the School Bus Program will continue to operate for students attending school on-site.
- “School specials” operated by Public Transport Victoria will continue to operate for students attending school on-site.
- The Students with Disabilities Transport Program (SDTP) will continue to operate state-wide for students with a disability attending school on-site.
- You’ll still need to try to stay 1.5 metres apart on school buses, at bus interchange locations, and other shared transport services to and from school.
- Bus Operators will ensure that handrails and seating areas are regularly disinfected.
- The Students with Disability Transport Program (SDTP) will also continue to operate and operators are ensuring that bus handrails and seats are regularly disinfected.
Q: What can I expect from my school while learning from home?
If you’re in prep to grade 6 and/or at a specialist school, your classroom teacher should be checking in with you at least once a day.
For students in years 7 to 12, you should all have a home group, pastoral care group or something like that with one teacher who is responsible for the group. This teacher will focus on how each individual student in the group is going and should check in with you at least once a day.
Teachers might do this via the digital app used for your class (Compass, Webex, Seesaw, Google Classroom etc) or it might be by email, phone or text if that’s more appropriate, but they must inform your parents/carers where possible before they contact you individually (unless you’re over 18 or a mature minor).
Your teacher may ask you about the following things:
- How your learning is going
- How you are feeling about things generally.
If they are worried about how you are feeling, they might ask you to speak to another adult at the school about it so you can get some support if needed. They should tell you if they are going to do this and get your consent.
School Breakfast clubs
Schools should still be running Breakfast Clubs if they already did. The school should tell you and your parents/carers when you can pick up food supplies and will have them packaged up for you. Make sure you stay 1.5 metres away from people though!
Wellbeing and Safety support
Your school should provide information about who and how you can contact someone at school if you are worried or unhappy about something as well as contacts to school and non-school support services including the school counsellor or Kids Helpline, eHeadspace and Beyond Blue.
All students who can learn from home MUST learn from home. Parents and schools will work together to decide who should be able to learn at school. Some of the students that will be able to learn from school include:
- Students with parents who are essential workers and cannot work from home.
- Students with disabilities who need supports that can’t be provided at home.
- Students in vulnerable situations who do not have a safe learning environment at home.
- Students who need to complete specific practical assessments for year 11 and 12 may be able to attend school in small groups to do this.
Q: Will there be on school site teaching provision for students who are deemed at risk?
Q: Will students have to repeat their 2020 Year 12 year due to COVID19?
No. The coursework for subjects may be adapted and the exam period may be extended into late 2020 but students will still be able to graduate this year. ATAR results will come out during the same time period across the country beginning in 2020.
Q: How will the GAT be impacted?
Q: How much flexibility is there from the authorities in regard to Year 12 students?
Q: How are students without internet reception in their homes going to be able to work from home? Also, how long until the sim cards are available for these students?
The Department of Education and Training (DET) has partnered with Telstra to provide 1000 4G dongle devices with 4G internet access, and 4000 SIM cards that provide 4G internet access, for families who do not have access to the internet at home. These will be free of charge, and will be provided for the next six months. Devices will be distributed in the first two weeks of Term 2.
Q: How will students get access to appropriate devices?
Schools will contact families in the first week of Term 2 to determine students who need access to the internet, or to borrow a device. This will include students from disadvantaged and vulnerable backgrounds, and those who attend schools in bushfire-affected areas – these students will be given priority.
Students with no access to a device at home will be offered either a tablet or a laptop, depending on which device is used normally in their class. Tablets are better suited to younger students and laptops are better suited for senior primary and secondary students.
Q: How are students without internet in their area going to be able to work from home?
Families who do not have internet access at home, such as those who live in an area without 4G reception, should discuss with the school how students may receive materials that do not require online access. These can be mailed to students or collected by parents. Completed tasks can be returned in the same way. The materials are aligned to the Victorian Curriculum F-10.
Q: How will they be contacted and supported to make the necessary arrangements with their school?
Q: Will all schools be offering video calls?
The following online systems are available for government schools:
- Web-Ex – videoconferencing
- O365 (Microsoft) – learning management
- G Suite for education (Google) learning management
- Independent and Catholic Schools may have different systems
- Teachers should not be communicating via text messages, social media or FaceTime.
Q: How and when will DET make sure everyone knows the latest information/decisions?
VicSRC and DET will be having weekly meetings to share concerns, answer questions and provide feedback. DET will also update their website with the latest advice, send direct emails to school leadership and teachers, and hold press conferences for major announcements.
Q: How long will we be having online classes and remote working?
The DET has a page on their website with suggestions and resources for parents.
Q: Will we need to start university at a later date?
Q: What if our parents can’t help us because they are working from home?
The DET has given the following advice for teachers around learning from home:
We recommend that schools clarify and communicate what students and parents/carers need to do during remote learning. You should note that:
- learning activities must be self-contained and manageable and should not rely too heavily on parents as educators
- parents/carers may not always be available during the school day to support learning from home – many will have work, caring or other responsibilities
- the parent or carer is responsible for students’ general safety during remote learning
- some parents/carers may experience more difficulty in supporting learning from home. For example, parents/carers with English as an additional language, low levels of literacy or a learning disability.
And the following advice for parents:
- The most important thing you can do is to continue to provide comfort, support and encouragement to your child.
- You do not need to understand how to use tablets or laptops. Most children have been using them at school and are familiar with how to use them. Technical support will be available from school information technology technicians. Children using these devices will only be able to access school systems and educational websites.
Find more information about ways to support your child’s self-confidence and build resilience on the Kids Matter website.
The Disability Standards for Education guide for families has information on your child’s rights.
- regularly monitor digital platforms for announcements and feedback from their teachers
- do their best work by completing tasks with integrity and academic honesty
- do their best to meet timelines and due dates
- communicate openly with their teachers and tell them if they have any concerns or issues
- collaborate and support their classmates
- continue to abide by their school’s behaviour guidelines.
Q: What if we don’t know how to use the technology and our parents can’t help us, particularly primary school children?
Q: Will there be mental health support for parents and carers?
Here is a list of support groups for parents:
Nurse on Call 1300606024 – this telephone service gives you access to expert health advice from a registered nurse, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Maternal and Child Health Line 132229 – a free and confidential service available to parents and families with children from birth to commencing school age. The Maternal and Child Health Line is staffed by qualified Maternal and Child Health nurses. Parents can ring the MCH Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to get information, support and guidance on lots of issues like child health, nutrition, breastfeeding, maternal and family health and parenting.
Parentline 132289 – a free and confidential telephone counselling service available to Victorian parents and carers of children aged from birth to 18-years-old. Parentline is staffed by social workers and psychologists and is available from 8am to midnight, 7 days a week. The service offers information on lots of parenting issues and can help parents to develop strategies for positive parenting and personal coping.
Other telephone services for families include:
1800 mum2mum 1800686268 – this is the Australian Breastfeeding Foundation’s national breastfeeding helpline.
Care Ring 13 61 69 – a Victorian service staffed by volunteers trained to respond to concerns and emergencies, including domestic violence, family matters, child abuse, depression and anxiety, loneliness, unemployment, grief, homelessness, money worries, drug and alcohol problems, and suicide.
Council of Single Mothers and their Children. Support Line: (03)96540622 or outside Melbourne 1300552511 – a support service staffed by professional single mothers with lived experience who can provide advice and info on Government benefits, dealing with Centrelink, Family Court and Child Support Agency, parenting solo, housing, family violence, managing money, and work and study. Interpreting services available for women of non-English-speaking background.
Lifeline 131114 – a 24-hour confidential crisis support service responding to a range of concerns including anxiety, depression, abuse, suicidal thoughts and stress.
Women’s Information & Referral Exchange (WIRE) 1300134130 or go to the WIRE website to contact WIRE via LiveChat – a free and confidential telephone service provided for women by women offering information and referral on any issue including violence, sexual assault, relationships, the law, finance, health, family matters, drugs and alcohol, sexual harassment, employment and sexuality. Interpreting assistance is available for women of non-English-speaking background.
PANDA Helpline 1300726306 – PANDA’s National Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Helpline is Australia’s only free, national helpline service for women, men and their families affected by perinatal anxiety and depression. The Helpline provides a safe and confidential space for any new or expecting parent struggling with the challenges of becoming a new parent.