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Australia Schools set to reopen in term two for special student cases

13:16  05 april  2020
13:16  05 april  2020 Source:   theage.com.au

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a person standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: 05/04/20 Kim is a nurse and son Will is due back at school next week. As an essential service worker she may take advantage of schools opening for children of essential workers. Photograph by Chris Hopkins © Chris Hopkins 05/04/20 Kim is a nurse and son Will is due back at school next week. As an essential service worker she may take advantage of schools opening for children of essential workers. Photograph by Chris Hopkins

Victorian schools are expected to reopen in term two with a skeleton staff to accommodate children of essential workers and vulnerable pupils, while the majority of students continue their studies remotely.

Meanwhile, year 12 students could sit final exams early next year to receive an ATAR score, under plans being considered by Premier Daniel Andrews to grapple with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and its disruption to children's education.

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Special Adviser to the Edo State Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr Crusoe Osagie, said modalities have been set in motion for the reopening of the schools , noting that a number of changes have been effected to restore normalcy and uptake of regular academic activities.

Students in these programs may qualify for benefits if they are in full-time attendance. (See question 6.) Attends an elementary or secondary level school , as determined by the law of the State or other jurisdiction in which the school is located

School holidays have already been brought forward and the first two days of term two declared pupil-free to allow teachers to finalise their preparations to run classes remotely.

While an announcement about detailed plans for next term is not expected until early this week, the Premier has concededthat it will "look a bit different on day one".

"We'll give parents as much notice as we can - some kids will be at school, some kids will be learning from home," Mr Andrews said on Sunday.

"There's an enormous amount of work to be ready for those kids who will learn remotely to be able to do that."

Some schools have dipped into their "equity funding" to buy laptops and dongles for students whose families cannot afford computers or do not have an internet connection, while others will head down the "old-fashioned" route of distributing handwritten homework packs when the new term begins on April 15.

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Victorian Association of State Secondary Principals president Sue Bell, who has provided advice to the state government on how schools can operate during the pandemic, said there were two categories of students the Education Department needed to consider when deciding whether schools will shut down: children of essential workers and vulnerable students.

She said schools could open individual classrooms to up to 10 children at a time to allow staff and students to practise social-distancing measures.

"For some students, school is the only stable place where they get food, they get breakfast, lunch, and it's important that care continues," Ms Bell said.

"When and if schools close down, teachers will be working from home, but there will be a group of people in the school who will be available to work with these students."

Intensive care nurse Kim, who lives in Melbourne's inner west with husband John, a police officer, and their 11-year-old boy Will, said she had to send her son back to school as she "didn't have other options".

"Trying to work out how to coordinate schooling is one of the many small pressures we're envisioning over the next four or five months," Kim said.

"If they were open it would take some of the pressure off ... but if they're not, our hands are tied."

Mr Andrews said the government was "putting in the final touches" of what school would look like for students next term, and Education Minister James Merlino would make an announcement in coming days.

Teachers contacted by The Age are expecting that any students who attend school in person in term two would receive the same tuition as those learning remotely from home.

The Premier reassured year 12 students his government was working towards ensuring they could receive their ATAR.

"It is my aim that they can get an ATAR, if not within this calendar year, then very soon thereafter - we've got six or eight weeks at the end of the year that we can catch up with when school was scheduled to finish," Mr Andrews told ABC News.

"And when we get to that sort of Christmas holiday, we're in conversations with universities, with TAFE. We're talking to other states and territories and, of course, the Commonwealth.

"I know it's very frustrating, including in my household. I can't give [my son] Noah who is in year 12 all the answers he wants, but as soon as we can, we will. The key point here is to get this right."

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The balance of the pandemic in the world at 11:00 GMT .
© Provided by Le Point The pandemic of new coronavirus has killed at least 114,539 people in the world since its appearance in December in China , according to a balance sheet established by the AFP from official sources Monday at 11:00 GMT. More than 1,853,300 cases of infection have been officially diagnosed in 193 countries and territories since the start of the epidemic.

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