Home learning back on the table as Melburnians prepare to re-enter lockdown

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has flagged that many students and their families are likely to return to home learning, but says a final decision is yet to be made.

Yesterday, the Premier announced state school prep to year 10 students in the metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire areas would get an extra week of holidays while authorities assess the next steps.

Year 11 and 12 students, as well as students at specialist schools, will still return for term three on July 13.

No changes have been made for Kindergarten.

In media appearances today, Mr Andrews acknowledged returning to home schooling would be challenging, but said it was still on the table.

“We haven’t made a decision yet. I can’t rule out at-home learning,” he said.

“That’ll be based on Chief Health Officer advice, and some further work that we have to do.”

The Premier told ABC News Breakfast this morning: “If I had to call it, that’s probably more likely rather than less likely.”

Primary school classroom with wooden shelf
The Premier says he can’t rule out returning to home learning.(ABC News: Eliza Laschon)

All of metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire, just north of the Victorian capital, will be subject to stage three restrictions from midnight tonight to try to control a jump in coronavirus infections.

Victoria has recorded more than 700 new cases in the past week.

The restrictions will remain in place for six weeks, and mean millions of people will only be allowed to leave their homes for four essential reasons.

Authorities are yet to announce a final plan for schooling during this period.

Mr Andrews said the Government did not want the VCE in metropolitan Melbourne to differ to the curriculum in regional Victoria, which was part of the reason why year 11 and 12 students’ return to school next week has not changed.

“Plus, of course, the fact that as young adults they’re in a better position to be able to distance and to follow those rules,” he said.

When asked whether he was concerned that Victorian students might fall behind the rest of Australia, the Premier said, “I don’t think so.”

“I think that our teachers and staff, parents, students, are all committed to doing the best they can,” he said.

“If we do get to a flexible learning model — a learning from home model again for those other than our VCE and special needs at specialist school kids — then we will all do the best that we can.”