Lockdown 2.0: Students urged to stay home for a week due to COVID lockdown

Lottie Twyford 12 August 2021 10
Yvette Berry

ACT Schools are ready for another lockdown. Photo: Michelle Kroll

With the ACT entering lockdown again from 5:00 pm today (12 August), no in-person schooling will occur in the ACT until at least Friday, 20 August.

With the first positive COVID-19 case in the ACT in over a year, Chief Minister Andrew Barr described it as the most serious public health emergency the ACT had seen so far.

Speaking at the midday press conference earlier today, the clear message from Minister for Education Yvette Berry was that, in line with the broader community’s lockdown, if children can be kept at home, they should be kept at home.

While she said nobody wanted to be in this space, and no one expected it so early, she reiterated that ACT public schools and the Education Directorate have been preparing for this scenario over the past year.

In line with previous lockdowns, early childhood education centres, schools and after-school care will be permitted to remain open for staff, vulnerable children and children whose parents and carers cannot work from home because they are essential workers, experiencing vulnerability or another reason.

A spokesperson for the ACT Government added that “this approach would provide more familiar settings for students and staff that needed to attend schools”.

“We also know this approach has been successful in other jurisdictions that have experienced lockdowns,” the spokesperson continued.

An exemption will also be given to students who need to attend school for a critical reason, such as year 12 exams. However, all higher education and training institutions will remain closed and will move instead to remote learning.

Ms Berry reiterated that students in the ACT public school system will not be required to undertake normal schooling over the next week while teachers and schools prepare for a transition to remote learning, should this be required beyond the week.

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Over the next week, parents are encouraged to access the virtual home library at the ACT Education website where a range of educational resources will be accessible for families.

“Those students that do attend school during this time will be supported by teachers and staff to access these resources,” Ms Berry said.

She added that if children require access to electronic devices, the ACT Education Directorate will provide them.

Mask wearing will be mandatory within a school setting for teachers and school staff, and children over 12.

Following the advice from the Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman, before and after-hours care will remain open at this stage, although once again, children who can be kept at home should be kept at home, and mandatory mask-wearing and the Check In CBR app will also apply in these settings.

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Ms Berry said ACT public schools and the Education Directorate will work closely with Catholic and independent schools to ensure consistent messaging across the board.

However, she encouraged parents and families from these schools to listen closely to the advice and information being released from their own school communities.

A spokesperson for the ACT Education Directorate said last week that the ACT Scaling Test (AST), which is scheduled for 31 August and 1 September, and as of last week, will proceed as planned.

The Board of Senior Secondary Studies (BSSS), which is responsible for the AST, is actively working on contingency plans to ensure the AST can proceed in a COVID safe manner in line with advice from the Chief Health Officer.

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10 Responses to Lockdown 2.0: Students urged to stay home for a week due to COVID lockdown
Lin Van Oevelen Lin Van Oevelen 5:49 pm 12 Aug 21

Best to wait for your school to send an email too. Our college is expecting students to do remote learning (though I'm not actually completely clear on what it means yet) and due dates for assignments are not changing either.

Zoë Clews Tibbitts Zoë Clews Tibbitts 4:23 pm 12 Aug 21

Yvette Berry says nobody expected CBR to lockdown so early?? And while they've been preparing for this for a year there's no school for a whole week. What planet is she on?

    Geoff Dibley Geoff Dibley 5:55 pm 12 Aug 21

    Zoë Clews Tibbitts you nailed it. This should not have been a surprise and yet when it happens they have NFI. Completely incompetent !!

    Camilla Smith Fowler Camilla Smith Fowler 6:22 pm 12 Aug 21

    Zoë depends on the school. Our school sent home learning packs and iPads at pick up time today and online learning starts on Monday.

    Zoë Clews Tibbitts Zoë Clews Tibbitts 6:33 pm 12 Aug 21

    Camilla that's excellent. Our school hasn't done that. We've been directed to the online resources and told no classes until Friday next week (at least). I don't blame the teachers, but it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that Delta is here now, certainly not a government minister. If they've been preparing as Berry says then a whole week off school to get ready is strange to me. Anyway, we'll stay tf home and make the best of it. Kids are happy for the break.

    Camilla Smith Fowler Camilla Smith Fowler 6:34 pm 12 Aug 21

    Zoë yes I think a week off is quite a lot!!

    Camilla Smith Fowler Camilla Smith Fowler 6:36 pm 12 Aug 21

    Our school also did mock learning from home last month where the kids logged in to their iPads while at class and had to practice opening apps etc, to get them used to it and so IT could fix any bugs or update any software that was out of date. Really all schools could have done similar.

    Zoë Clews Tibbitts Zoë Clews Tibbitts 6:48 pm 12 Aug 21

    Camilla is the school public or private?

    Camilla Smith Fowler Camilla Smith Fowler 7:44 pm 12 Aug 21

    Zoë private - but it didn’t take a huge amount of resources to do.

Rebecca Sowden Rebecca Sowden 4:10 pm 12 Aug 21

Charlotte Dale you’ll be relieved to know that we are all over the available resources and have a plan to ensure your studies continue xx 😆

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