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    Caroline O'Donnell

Horsham College remains confident despite COVID-19 pressures

A Horsham College leader is confident the quality of education at the Wimmera’s largest secondary school ‘will continue as normal’ despite pressures surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Leading teacher Caroline O’Donnell said the college was aware of the high rates of the Omicron variant in Horsham and acknowledged the chances of disruptions and a lack of staffing during term one. 

“Putting a teacher face-to-face with students might be difficult for all schools in the state in term one if staff become infected in high numbers,” she said.

“COVID will be the main challenge this year for Horsham College. 

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“If numbers settle down, it will be a very standard year.”

Ms O’Donnell said during the pandemic, remote learning had benefited some students and others were unaffected. 

She said even though remote learning had maintained a stablisation of students’ academic results, the circumstances presented difficulties.

“Remote teaching can certainly be challenging. The assessment has to be completely reworked, which can affect hands-on subjects,” she said.

“Remote learning can also have an impact on isolation and mental health, which the college has put a lot of thought and time into addressing.”

Ms O’Donnell said she believed most students at the college where keen to get back into the classroom. 

“The students like being back at school. Overall, most students want to learn face-to-face,” she said.

Ms O’Donnell said Horsham College had been enrolling an increased number of Victorian Certificate of Education students and more students had meant more staff.

“Having more teachers means if someone is out sick, there are other teachers who will be available for students and who will be able to support that teacher,” she said. 

Ms O’Donnell said there were about 130 year-12 students enrolled at the school this year. 

She said this included roughly 30 Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning students.

– Nick Ridley

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