Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s extension of the Greater Sydney lockdown into another week means that students will return to remote learning.
The learning period will cover at least four days, for those students in public schools. The lockdown is now continuing until at least midnight on Friday the 16th of July.
The announcement is now seeing teachers moving to prepare online learning materials, in many cases during what should have otherwise been their break. With Sydney currently managing an outbreak of the more contagious Delta variant of COVID-19, teachers are also understandably anxious about what’s to come once schools do return to face-to-face learning.
Teachers have not been prioritized for vaccinations, and 47% of school teachers are under 40 — meaning they don’t fall into age groups that have enabled them to get vaccinated, unless they have other underlying reasons to get vaccinated.
Meanwhile, parents are also scrambling — looking at how to continue with work while also assisting kids, where needed, with managing their learning materials.
It’s here that we share a reminder that it’s “remote learning” that will be occurring in homes, and that no parent or family is expected to create a “home school”. Another term getting shared around last year was the idea to think of it as “crisis learning”.
A reminder also for employers of school-aged kids that parents take on a lot during these periods of remote learning, and they need flexibility in how they manage their paid work. The role they are playing in carrying a significant load during these lockdown periods must also be respected and acknowledged.
Last year, a University of Tasmania survey of parents and carers responsible for overseeing their children’s learning during the first wave of COVID restrictions in Australia saw parents reporting mixed reactions on how intense the workload was. On a positive note, 80% of respondents reported that the experience made them better understand how their child learns.
The lockdown is only on for another week, at this point — so four days of remote learning could be the end of it. That’s the hope. We’ll see.