Eyre Peninsula prepares for staged start to school

AT HOME: Year 9 Isabella and Sienna Dare are two students who will be studying from home for the first two weeks of the school year. Photo: Jarrad Delaney
AT HOME: Year 9 Isabella and Sienna Dare are two students who will be studying from home for the first two weeks of the school year. Photo: Jarrad Delaney

Local schools and families have been preparing for an unorthodox start to the 2022 school year which will see some students attending their first day on campus while others remain home.

The state government announced on January 13 there will be a staged return to school for students with preschool, reception and years 1, 7, 8 and 12 to start face-to-face learning at school on February 2.

The remaining year levels will begin learning from home and will return to classrooms on February 14 while vulnerable students, as well as children of essential workers, will be able to return to school from January 31 for two days of supervision and then learning from February 2, no matter the grade.

Two students who will be learning from home for the first two weeks are year 9 students Isabella and Sienna Dare, who attend Navigator College and St Joseph's School respectively.

We will not turn away any child from schooling and so accept parental choice to send children to school regardless of their level of schooling and the nature of their essential work.

Rowena Fox

Isabella said they should be ready for the first two weeks and were awaiting for their first lot of school work, and just hoped there would be no issues with anything that was put into place.

"Last time in lockdown I had some trouble with emails and getting into Zoom calls, and if this is going to be a problem for two weeks then I won't be able to get work done and when I get back to school I will feel like I'm behind a bit," she said.

Their mother Steph Dare said her main concern was about the need for parents to organise to supervise their children while they learned from home, and what that would mean to make it happen.

"Most people get four weeks annual leave a year and you should spend that time with the family, going on holiday and making memories rather than focusing on homeschooling your child," she said.

"There's so much uncertainty with this set up."

Department for Education Eyre Peninsula education director Rowena Fox said an essential worker was classed as anyone who required support from schools in order to meet the needs of their role.

"Some parents may need childcare due to the essential nature of their jobs as they are unable to work from home and supervise their children with remote learning," she said.

"We will not turn away any child from schooling and so accept parental choice to send children to school regardless of their level of schooling and the nature of their essential work."

Port Lincoln Primary School is in the unique position of having none of its grades (years 3-6) returning for the first two weeks and has worked to have protocols in place

Principal Kathy Davison said the school utilised the Seesaw app which would help keep the school connected with families.

"The app has direct connection to every family in each class so teachers will be engaging with students each morning through Seesaw personally and then allocating work tasks on that platform," she said.

"Students who are connected to essential workers will be working online at school with teacher supervision."

Ms Davison said the school would also have hard copy work available for students who could not access online learning.