Teachers unite to ensure students' learning amid coronavirus challenges

EXTRA BREAK : Four pupil free days announced on SA school calendar to help teacher prepare for term 2 due to impact of coronavirus. Photo: Supplied
EXTRA BREAK : Four pupil free days announced on SA school calendar to help teacher prepare for term 2 due to impact of coronavirus. Photo: Supplied

Students in public schools around country South Australia will gain an extra week's break this term in a state move to help educators to prepare for changes to usual lessons amid the uncertainty of coronavirus.

From Monday, April 6, to Thursday, April 9, classrooms will be empty as teachers plan and prepare for the switch to flexible learning arrangements in readiness for term two.

This backs the new website resource Our Learning SA, designed to help families and educators transition to remote learning for their students.

Principal at Tailem Bend Primary School Travis Schenke explained how his teaching staff were already providing digital material to students kept at home.

"These extra four days will now allow for us to prepare for continuity of lessons for our students and plan for the future," said the principal of four years.

With enrolments reaching 150 for 2020, now just 42 per cent of pupils attend the Reception to Year 7 rural school because of the crisis.

"It is certainly a unique situation," Mr Schenke said.

Yet the school leader praised his staff who work through strategies to provide best learning solutions for their students.

Meanwhile, Education Minister John Gardner backed parents and carers who are unable to keep their children at home.

He said that during school hours, state campuses, preschools and early childhood services need to remain available to help children of families in different circumstances.

This includes those who do not work from home, along with a number of vulnerable children who need the opportunity to be supported at school.

"These pupil-free days will ensure our teachers are best prepared to deliver lessons regardless of whether the student is in the classroom or learning from home," Mr Gardner said.

The government will keep acting on the advice of the Chief Public Health Officer and the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee in keeping our schools open to those families who need it.

In addition, the education department is developing options for vacation care during the pupil-free days and school holidays.

When finalised, details will be communicated directly to parents.

It is anticipated that private schools will introduce similar arrangements to government schools.

For more information about home learning for your child, visit education.sa.gov.au/ourlearningsa.