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Mixed emotions as kids head back to school

Harry is getting ready to go back to year 11 on Tuesday while his little brother Ned prepares for prep, pictured with mum Georgia Gregg.

Harry is getting ready to go back to year 11 on Tuesday while his little brother Ned prepares for prep, pictured with mum Georgia Gregg.Credit:Simon Schluter

“I think socially it will be great and that’s the big thing for us and the school has done a great job of organising everything like the separate drop-off points and times.”

The Andrews government had initially planned for remote learning throughout term two but made changes earlier this month on the advice of the state’s Chief Health Officer.

Prep student Ned Weatherburn-Gregg, 6, is feeling uncertain.

“Ned really loves school but he’s nervous about leaving the safety of home,” his mum Georgia Gregg said.

When Ned returns to his classroom at Cornish College in Bangholme, his big brother Harry, 17, will re-enter Mordialloc College’s campus to complete year 11. Their two other siblings will return on June 9 with the remainder of students across the state.

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Ms Gregg said the family was having constant conversations about new safety measures at schools including staggered drop-offs, no parents on the grounds, social distancing and more outdoor learning.

“We’re always talking, it’s not just one conversation. We’re answering his questions as they come up.

“The school send videos and a little classroom tour and lots of information which is good for him; they’ve been phenomenal.”

While they’re all happy the country is on the road to recovery, the family has found a lot to like about schooling during lockdown.

“The older ones were pretty self-sufficient but I have adored teaching Ned. It has been a joy to see him learn,” Ms Gregg said.

“It has been such a positive for our family; we’re lucky.”

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Remote learning has been more challenging for some families who are relieved to see traditional schooling finally resume. Tamsin Franklin said her daughter, who has high-functioning autism, had lost out enormously over the past eight weeks.

“Noone asked her what she wants,” she said.

“She has no motivation, she has cried almost every day.”

Despite a general sense of relief at the staggered change, some parents are choosing not to send their children back yet.

A parent who wanted to stay anonymous said their two autistic children would not be returning to their mainstream and specialist primary schools.

The parent cited ongoing safety concerns as the reason behind the decision to continue learning from home for the time being.

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