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    Tim Shaw

Term start will be a ‘balancing act’


An education-support agency leader believes the start of the school year might again be a balancing act due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Wimmera Southern Mallee Local Learning and Employment Network executive officer Tim Shaw said the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus had generated a new sense of uncertainty as educators planned for the 2022 school year.

Mr Shaw said Omicron had spread widely throughout the state and Wimmera and had caused extra work for teachers and principals. 

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He said educators were busy putting in place contingencies based around experiences involving remote learning. 

“Some students have adapted very well to remote learning and generally those students who have had a lot of support at home have done quite well from remote learning,” he said. 

“On the other hand, there have been some students from disadvantaged families – such as a lack of access to the internet and not having the family support at home to engage with – who have potentially fallen behind.”

Mr Shaw said he believed remote learning would never replace face-to-face learning and emphasised that going to school was more than just fulfilling curriculum.

“There will be more chances for blended learning, on-site learning and some remote learning this year. The social aspect of school is very big,” he said.

“We have reports from schools that there is an increase in mental-health issues with students because they have not had the social interaction with their peers.

“There are some other things you just can’t do at home, such as practical-type subjects, for example woodworking or automotive studies. 

“It is agreed that attending school in person is more beneficial than being at home.”

• The State Government has maintained its support for National Cabinet’s framework to enable students to return to school, face-to-face, on the first day of term one. The Victorian school term starts on January 31, 2022.

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The entire January 19, 2022 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!