Kids get back to school as restrictions ease

Early Stage 1 students from Guyra Central are enjoying the return to school
12th May 2020
Janelle Stewart

Face to face learning at Guyra Central School has recommenced this week following what Principal Michelle Nicholson said has been easily the most challenging period of her career. The school made the move to online learning at the end of term 1, as restrictions were tightened in the face of the COVID-10 pandemic. This
required adapting to almost daily changes, processing an overwhelming amount of information and implementing a new way of learning in a very short time.
With the easing of restrictions, students were welcomed back this week with face to face learning being phased in, as per
Department of Education rulings. Phase one sees Years 11 and 12 back four days a week Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday along with Kindergarten students. Teachers are also back on site, with the exception of a few who are in the at risk category.
Other year groups are being welcomed back one day a week, with Year 7 coming in on Mondays, Year 8 on Tuesday, and Year 9 and 10 on Fridays. Attendance by Primary students is based on family groups attending one day a week. Students of emergency workers and those who need additional support are able to attend full time and are being encouraged to do so if needed.
Principal Michelle Nicholson said that the school remains committed to getting the best outcomes for their students and getting them back into the classroom is the first step of a two-week plan. On Monday this meant that were 157 students on site which represents around 50 per cent of the school’s enrolment.
“We are lucky to have the space which means we can adhere to social distancing protocols and there was no feeling of crowding with the kids working together well while respecting the required protocols,” Mrs Nicholson said.
“They were just excited to be back at school and talking to their mates, which is something they haven’t been able to do for quite a while.”
“It has been a steep learning curve and we are working within strict hygiene protocols to ensure health concerns are addressed,” she said.
“This includes the students who are actively involved in learning how to keep themselves safe and making sure that they understand this is something they will be doing long term.”
Mrs Nicholson acknowledged that it has been a challenging time and praised her staff who have gone above and beyond to ensure that students needs are being met.
“My staff are working one on one with students to see they are up to date and to find out if they need any extra support and I am pleased to say that I have not witnessed any extra anxiety,” she said.
“I would also like to pay tribute to the students and their families for adapting to a new way of learning and for being committed to making this work.”
As more restrictions are relaxed these plans will be reviewed and further changes implemented.