A NEW way of school life kicked off this week. With the school holidays coming to a close, students would normally be ushered back into classrooms, however this is not going happen for at least the next five weeks during the COVID- 19 pandemic.
While schools across the State are operating, the normal school structure that many students have become accustomed too, has been reworked.
Home based learning is now what students, their parents or carers and teachers will need to get used to.
All students will now be learning from home, except for vulnerable children and children of essential workers on days when they are not able to be supervised at home.
An essential worker is any worker who must continue to attend their workplace for essential business during this time.
Mareeba State High School (MSHS) remains open to those students who need it, but Principal Scott Whybird is encouraging those students who can learn from home to do so as classes at the school virtually don’t exist.
“We recommend that if no alternate supervision is available the school will remain open, but for the safety of the staff and students we recommend home schooling,” he said.
“The teachers have been working overtime to get all their resources and lessons online for students to access.
“What we have achieved in only a week as a teaching staff is amazing.”
The new home-schooling system has been implemented by schools across the state and has opened up many doors for education.
With the new system teachers can keep in constant contact with students and help them through the lessons and the work offered online.
Education Queensland has recognised the pressure COVID-19 puts on students in their final two years of schooling and Mr Whybird assures senior students there is no need to panic as “the system will look after the students.”
“I am aware of the pressure that our senior students are under,” he said.
“But this is happening across the state and they will not be disadvantaged due to this pandemic.”
Home visits for regular check-ups on disadvantaged students as well as phone calls home are just some of the precautions MSHS is taking to make sure all their students are learning.
St Stephen’s Catholic College (SSCC) has also launched an online learning platform that allows there students to stay connected with the college, staff and peers.
A modified timetable has also been made for the students who cannot effectively learn from home and must come into school.
The new online learning program will allow students to stay connected with their teachers during this time of isolation and social distancing.
SSCC Principal Kerry Manders understands the risks the current crisis poses and that students would get left behind if measures weren’t taken.
“We are interested in supporting students learning whether it be from home or from school,” she said.
“We believe that our homebased learning model will provide all students with the effective learning they need.
“I am most grateful for the work and wisdom of our teachers and staff who are dedicated to finding ways to make connections with our students.”
The decision has been blanketed across the state by Education Queensland due to the social distancing rules and other precautions.
These measures are in place for the next five weeks and will be assessed again mid-May by the State government before a decision is made.
For more information visit www.education.qld.gov.au