Some teachers in Victoria remain on duty to support students in need. Image by Dan Peled/AAP PHOTOS

Health

Teachers remain in closed Vic schools

2020-03-25 14:28:53

Victorian schools closed on Tuesday after holidays were brought forward, with some teachers remaining on duty to support students in need.

Primary schools will be staffed this week to provide care and supervision to the children of essential services workers, the Victorian Department of Education says.

Essential services workers are defined as health, police, corrections and emergency services.

School staff have also been asked to remain at work for the week to supervise any vulnerable students – those in out-of-home care, at risk of harm, and experiencing homelessness, mental and other health issues.

A spokesperson from the Department of Education said the skeleton staffing model was only expected of primary schools.

But in an email sent to teachers on Monday, principals at secondary schools with vulnerable children were asked to support them “and put in place arrangements for adequate care and supervision”.

Teachers are not expected to be at school for the duration of the holidays, the spokesperson said.

Students are scheduled to return to school on April 14, but Premier Daniel Andrews has said while he is hopeful that will happen, he expects distance learning to be ongoing.

University of Melbourne lecturer and psychologist Dr Chelsea Hyde said the coming months would be challenging for parents, particularly those with younger school-aged children.

Dr Hyde told AAP while secondary aged school children can self-manage, primary school children find it harder to focus.

Her advice for parents is to follow school guidelines and try and keep kids active.

“For younger kids, make sure they have time to be creative and exercising … physical activity is known to be good for mood and focus,” Dr Hyde said.

For parents and kids working and learning from home, Dr Hyde said it was important for both children and parents to take breaks throughout the day.

Dr Hyde has published a guide to keeping kids learning at home through the University of Melbourne’s Pursuit web page.