School's back for some regional Victorian students as COVID restrictions ease

By Emily Dobson
Molly Hargreaves is a Year 12 student in Sale who has returned to onsite learning.  (Supplied: Molly Hargreaves)

Select students have returned to school as restrictions ease in regional Victorian areas apart from Shepparton.

Children in Prep through to Year 2 are permitted to return as well as Year 12s, with remaining grades continuing remote learning.

Molly Hargreaves, a Year 12 student in Sale, said she had waited patiently for this day.

She said that despite this lockdown only lasting a few weeks, she had missed the element of socialisation.

"I couldn't be more excited, it's going to be great to see everyone. 

"It's a different kind of learning at home, it's more self-directed, but returning to school will allow us to work together and create more of a group learning."

Secondary school students who are permitted to learn on site must wear a face mask at all times.

Mollie said it was a small price to pay to get back to school.

"It's quite a long time to have a mask on, but we all want to be back at school, so if this is something we have to do, then we can get around that."

Rural schools have small numbers back

Teachers at some of the tiny schools dotted across regional Victoria are baffled as to why they can't have more of their students back in the classroom.

Bundalaguah Primary School has 30 students and relies on composite classrooms of mixed grades to deliver learning.

Some students have returned to onsite learning at Bundalaguah Primary School in Victoria's east. (Supplied: Sarah Whitwam)

Principal Sarah Whitwam said the announcement came as a surprise and that teachers of composite classrooms would be forced to teach via both mediums.

"We have very small numbers, which means we need to combine our classes. We have a class of grade twos, threes, and fours.

Port Albert parent Michael Hobson has children aged six and nine, meaning his eldest child in Year 3 has to continue remote learning.

Mr Hobson's essential worker status means his Year 3 student can go to school, but despite being on site will still be taught a remote learning curriculum.

"There is a lot of grey area and you have to do a lot of digging to find out what you can and can't do," he said.

"The communication from the government to people that are affected could be improved. We're 18 months down the track … that messaging should be a lot clearer."

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