“The year 12s have decided ‘we’ll be OK, we’ll survive, it doesn’t matter we’ve missed out on the milestones’. What they’re talking about is they will complete their studies and get to where they have to be. Our school captains were saying they were relieved we’re all safe and that no one in our community was impacted. What comes through is how resilient children are.”
Ms Hiotis said deep cleaning, mask-wearing and making changes to suit COVID-safe precautions were standard in schools now.
“We’re planning for the GAT because they can’t all be in the hall. We’ll have 12 kids to a classroom so we’re hiring more exam supervisors,” she said.
Supporting those students who are continuing with remote learning will also continue to be a top priority, Ms Hiotis said.
There’s definitely a lot of excitement when I speak to staff.
Fitzroy Primary School principal Angela Richmond
Encouraging and celebrating students is a big theme for schools entering term four. Catholic Education Melbourne has started the Year 12, “You’ve Got This” video message series letting students know their community is behind them as they begin this final and busy phase of school life.
“May this weird 2020, your year of VCE, nonetheless be a year that brings you a sense of hope and purpose in your life,” Archbishop Peter Comensoli told students.
The Education Department has made mental health and lost learning a particular focus for term four, with additional support services to be rolled out.
“As students return to face-to-face learning, schools will focus on supporting students’ mental health and wellbeing and give priority to identifying students who will need help catching up,” a department spokesperson said.
Fitzroy Primary School principal Angela Richmond said the school community was ready to return to a school life that was as close to normal as possible.
“There’s definitely a lot of excitement when I speak to staff,” she said.
“It was remarkable what happened last time; just business as usual as the children headed into their classrooms to be greeted by their teacher. The more we can get them back into those routines, the better.”
Term four is also a crucial time for helping the future preps of 2021 with their transition to school.
“We will very easily cope with receiving children who have had kindergarten disrupted, so we’re not worried about that,” Ms Richmond said.
Anna is an education reporter at The Age.