Change to education system imminent as schools return
EAGER students piled into schools on the Coast after more than five weeks of remote learning yesterday as a sense of normality in the education sector is restored.
Primary and secondary schools across the state welcomed students from Year 2 to 10 for the first time since coronavirus restrictions were implemented, with hygiene practices and social-distancing measures now in place.
Matthew Flinders Anglican College principal Stuart Meade said students and staff had been buzzing at the sound of Monday's bell.
"It was a really happy feeling at the gates this morning and throughout the day," he said.
"At the moment, for many of us, it's like the first day of the school year."
The unprecedented change of home schooling had been met with spirit by staff, Mr Meade said, as teachers worked to keep students engaged.
"I would be giving them an A or A+ in terms of how they went," he said.
"The ability and the willingness for our teachers to recalibrate the way they delivered content and remain connected - they had to do it virtually overnight - was an almighty effort.
"It's been an outstanding approach. They're to be very highly commended."
Mr Meade said remote learning was just one of the challenges the college had dealt with, including the issue of whether staff had to be stood down due to financial impact.
"There's been a number of different layers to dealing with this health and financial crisis," he said.
"One of the biggest challenges we faced was dealing with the information that has been coming down from Federal and State governments and chief health officers because it hasn't always been consistent.
"We've had to interpret that information about how it would best suit our context, while remaining in the guidelines. That has been really difficult."
While schools are now welcoming students, Mr Meade said the changes staff were forced to make could help to build a stronger education system after coronavirus restrictions were lifted.
"One of the biggest things schools will be doing, and it's not just unique to ours, is to be sitting down and reflecting on what has taken place and what we can learn from the different environment and situations that we've been in," he said.
"There's always some upside and we have to learn from that.
"Whether that is the way we communicate with families, whether that is the way that we present various classes and subjects to students, the sense of connection … do we need to do that differently?
"All those lessons are really important for schools and I think you'll see some changes in schools across the board in the months ahead."