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What do you think of the back-to-school plan? Here’s what readers are telling us

Some support the plan, calling a staggered start the best approach. But others are bracing for a nightmare – or refusing to return until term three.

Here’s a sample of t what our readers said. Some responses have been edited for brevity.

I’m really pleased with it. Staggered start is best approach and it’s the oldest and the youngest kids who have struggled the most so great that they’re being prioritised. Us parents of the younger kids now need to follow the rules, adhere to guidelines and keep things on track so every kid can return. – Clo

As the mum of a grade 2, this is welcomed news. Our teachers are impressive, but online learning is very tiring for the small kids. I am concerned that a full term off would have led to my child getting turned off school. The precautions sound sensible. – Rose

I’m really glad to have a plan for my two primary-school children to return. It’s been very challenging working from home full-time, while trying to monitor and assist them. They miss their friends and regular routines, and have been tired from too much time in front of screens. I have felt inadequate as an employee and as a parent during this time. I’m confident that it’s safe for them to go back, based on the medical evidence. – Anonymous

Far too late and way too slow. My three daughters in years 9, 7 and 5 will have missed nearly three months of face-to-face school. They are each struggling with the emotional impact of this. The impact and toll on each of them is enormous. – Alice

My husband and I have four kids. Come May 26, we will be sending our youngest, and most vulnerable family member back into public life, while the rest of us continue to work and learn from home. I understand the logic, but this just seems wrong. – Kristina

Another month of juggling working full-time and two home-schooling. Then school for less than three weeks and then two weeks’ holidays. Ridiculous. Don’t think there is an understanding of the pressure and adverse impact this is having on everyone’s mental health. – Anonymous

Way to early for all students to be back to school. It makes sense to have year 11 and year 12 students back, but not for all other year levels, as it’s still too early to say children are safe from pandemic. Look at NY, reported 75 plus children contracted rare diseases linked to COVID-19 and at least three are dead. Very concerning! – Connie

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Why not wait for a week of no new cases before opening things up? How many countries that have eased restrictions have seen an increase in cases? – Bernie

I’m a prep teacher and I am concerned how we can implement social distancing with 20 five-year-olds in the classroom. Will we be able to send students home who are showing symptoms? If one of the students in my class has the virus, it will spread to them all. No matter how many times you teach them about covering their mouths and about staying away from each other, you turn around and see one student cough onto a group of six, another is sticking pencils in his mouth and another has the door handle in her mouth. – Anonymous

As a teacher, we were told to plan for the whole of Term 2 being on-line. This change has done nothing but undermine everything we’ve worked so hard to do. Just when remote-learning was getting traction, they pull the rug out. Very disappointed. – Anonymous

We should have stayed the distance and kept kids home for the term like planned. – Anonymous


Not happy to let my kid back to school while Victoria still has more cases everyday. – Anonymous

I think sending kids back to school is not a good idea, particularly when there have been cases overseas which have seen children develop terrible complications and die. We have been very lucky here and it’s inevitable that this will lead to a spike and more death. I think it’s sad that people see school as a baby-sitting service and can’t stand to have their children at home. This all says a lot about our society and culture, we do not really value family and education. It’s sad that the Premier caved to pressure from [Prime Minister] Scott Morrison. – Anonymous

I think it’s a fair and well-planned idea that will see students and teachers back before the finish of term. We already have new cases every day, and getting this wrong could be disastrous. – Heathcliff

Fantastic. The right decision. The research is clear. Schools pose a very, very low risk for transmission. – Anonymous

It balances concern about the more vulnerable cohorts (years 11-12, prep-grade one) with the concern about school overcrowding and social distancing. Well played. Now to split myself and my family in half, as I teach year 12s, but I have a year 8 student at home. – Anonymous

Very happy with the plan and in line with the rest of the country. To expect parents to home-school and work full-time at the same time is completely unrealistic. Learning remotely is a very poor option, but understand why it was done at the end of term one when there were grave health concerns. However, that time has now passed as per the recent testing and extremely low, almost non-existent community transmission, so it’s time for us to start letting our kids get the proper education they deserve. – Anonymous

Firstly, I agree with the staged reopening. But strongly disagree with having to wait two weeks. Why not get started 19 not 26 May? Surely teachers already had term plans since start of year – just go back to them. Yes they’ll need tweaking but why a two-week delay? Get students back ASAP. Secondly, 2020 term two holidays should be reduced to one week. Start term three a week earlier. No one has travel plans anyway. It will allow catch-up on curriculum, and helps working parents. – Carolyn

If schools can’t even control nits, why are we sending kids back to school? – Chao

I would have preferred to wait till term three. The government should have provided computers and sim cards for mobile hot-spotting to kids without devices. It’s a shame about all the impatient, selfish “kids” out there who kept harassing Dan Andrews and [chief health officer] Brett Sutton. Good job Dan for holding out this long, but you should have held firm and waited till term three. Our school was one of the earliest COVID cases, and a student who was a “casual” contact caught it from a teacher. So it’s rubbish that only close contacts are at risk. – Johno

I would prefer to have seen the schools closed for all of term two. I think it is more consistent for teachers, students and families than changing plans midway. If a second wave puts us back in stage three [lockdown] during winter then we will be changing our approach again. Even if home-schooling is not optimal, a stable experience is better than switching back and forth. – Zac

I think it should start with two days for two weeks, three days for two weeks and the remaining term two with four days before starting the whole week in term three. – Dennis

I think it’s too early to open the schools now. It’s foolish to expect that prep and year 1 students will maintain any form of social distancing. On one hand … he is saying if possible work from home, but on the other hand, schools seem mandatory. So return to school should not be mandatory and a mix of on-site plus online teaching should continue at least till the end of this term. – Sounak

They should have kept schools closed for all of term two considering that numbers of cases are rising in Victoria. There has been not enough support to reopen schools in terms of cleaning and providing a safe environment for teachers and students. – Anonymous

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