Victorian students must return to school

It is time for our students to safely get back into the classroom.

Because the Andrews Labor Government failed to manage hotel quarantine, causing Victoria’s second wave of coronavirus, Victorian students have already lost the best part of 6 months of at-school learning.

The longer the time they are away, the greater the detrimental impact on their academic achievement and social welfare.

Labor must ensure that all primary and specialist school students should be back to face-to-face learning at school day one of Term 4.

The Andrews Labor Government should also ensure that all secondary school students should return to school Thursday 8 October, immediately following completion of the General Achievement Test (GAT).

Whilst the impact on learning is widely recognised for our youngest and most senior students, it is important that all year levels return to school.

The social and emotional toll on the Years 3-10 has received less attention. Year 6 students are missing out on many milestones as school leaders and as they preparing to transition to secondary school. Year 9 and 10 students, especially boys, are at a higher risk of disengaging completely.

Too many parents have been stretched too thin with at-home learning. Parents have done an amazing job helping their children learn from home, but it’s time to get back to the classroom.

Victorian COVID-19 case numbers are heading in the right direction. The vast majority of regional Victoria has been COVID free for over 14 days, many areas for much longer.

The Lancet last month reported that with effective contact testing and management strategies, children and teachers did not contribute significantly to transmission while in a school setting.

New South Wales has managed low case numbers whilst keeping children at school.

The Andrews Labor Government needs to follow New South Wales lead safely and get our children back to school.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Education, Cindy McLeish:

“Parents have done a great job in tough circumstances, but students are the ones missing out. Labor needs to get our children back into the classroom.

“The emotional toll on children being away from school and their friends cannot be underestimated, the Andrews Labor Government must no longer ignore the mental health of our children.”

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