It looks like 2020 isn’t done throwing curveballs. Yesterday new restrictions were announced both in Melbourne and around the state including a return to remote learning statewide. This isn’t exactly surprising – we’ve seen multiple schools close in the past few weeks as daily totals increase – and while it’s definitely not where we hoped we’d be VicSRC recommended this change over the weekend to ensure an equitable field for assessment and to keep our communities healthy.
This year is hard. Especially for students who are moving in and out of remote learning with little to no warning, trying to stay on top of their school work – it’s especially hard on those who are in their final year or two of school where everything already feels overwhelming. But this year is a learning experience for all of us, at every level. This year is a chance to think about what kind of world we want to build next.
The resilience that you come out of this with will serve you well going forward, but resilience isn’t something we achieve all alone. Taking care of your mental health has to be a priority right now and there are all kinds of ways you can do that.
- Smiling Mind is offering free kids care packs for students five to twelve years old.
- headspace has a whole range of tips and services available on their website.
- As does Beyond Blue.
We know (because you told us) that last time access to reliable internet and devices was a struggle for some students during remote learning. We have confirmed that DET has a supply of devices to ensure that every student is able to access remote learning. If you do not have access to a device or reliable internet connection for remote learning you should:
- Contact your school who can contact DET directly to request a device on your behalf.
- Contact us, we can pass this information on to DET.
- Contact the DET team working with schools closed down due to positive tests, they are also equipped to assist with device access. They are available 8AM to 8PM on weekdays and 8AM to 6PM on weekends on 1800 338 663.
Here’s what we know so far.
- Today schools continue to operate as per last week – if you were learning from home you continue to do so, if you were learning from school you do that.
- Tomorrow (Tuesday 4th August) is a pupil free day for all students across the state.
- Wednesday 5th August all schools across the state will return to remote learning, which will likely remain in place until the end of term three.
- The GAT will be moved from Wednesday 9th September to Thursday 7th October
- The VCE Exam timetable and provision of ATAR will remain the same.
Who is learning from home?
- All students across Victoria from years prep to year 12 will move to remote and flexible learning. There will be onsite options for students who cannot learn from home.
Who can be on-site?
- In metro Melbourne
- Students whose parents are permitted workers – this includes those working in supermarkets, grocers, bottle shops, petrol stations, news agencies, post offices, pharmacies, banks and other frontline medical staff (there may be more information on this in the coming days).
- Vulnerable students in out of home care, known to child protection or identified as vulnerable by the school
- Students with disabilities who are also in one of the above categories can learn on site.
- In rural and regional Victoria including Mitchell Shire
- Students whose parents cannot work from home.
- Vulnerable children
- Any child with a disability or enrolled in a specialist school.
Here’s what we don’t know but are working on – we’ve brought these questions to the DET and will update you as soon as we have answers.
- Schools that are currently closed – how will students be collecting their learning materials when they re-open?
- How will SACs be happening? How will DET ensure they are equitable?
- Practical subjects for VCE, VCAL and VET – how will these be assessed and how will VCAA be communicating with students around this?