ACT Government updates

Staged return to on-campus learning in ACT public schools

May 07, 2020

Update from Minister for Education Yvette Berry:

Public schools in the ACT will return to on-campus learning in stages over the coming four weeks alongside a gradual easing of wider societal restrictions.

In consultation with teachers and their union, school leaders and parent representatives, the ACT Government has developed a plan for returning to on-campus learning in public schools.

The return to on-campus learning for public school students will be carefully managed in stages so that teachers and schools have time to prepare.

From Sunday 10 May, week 3 of term 2

  • Registrations for Safe and Supervised sites will close as of Sunday 10 May. The Education Directorate will continue to process all registrations that have been received up until Sunday.

From Monday 18 May, week 4 of term 2

  • All preschool, kindergarten, year 1, 2 and 7 students will return to their usual school for on-campus learning.
  • Year 11 and 12 students will attend a combination of on-campus and remote learning, with colleges making arrangements to support learning on-campus for students and subject matters that require it.
  • Safe and Supervised sites will cease operation from the end of the school day on Friday 15 May. All students who have registered to attend a Safe and Supervised site as of Sunday 10 May will be able to attend their usual school from Monday 18 May. These students will continue to undertake remote learning until their year group returns to on-campus learning.
  • To support teachers to return to schools, children of teachers may also attend their usual school.

From Monday 25 May, week 5 of term 2

  • All year 3, 4 and 10 students will return to their usual schools for on-campus learning alongside those students who have already returned.

From Tuesday 2 June, week 6 of term 2

  • Following the June long weekend, all students in years 5, 6, 8 and 9 will return to their usual schools, meaning all year groups will have returned to on-campus learning.
  • Remote learning will remain available for students with chronic health conditions or compromised immune systems.

Public schools again have a huge task to transition back to on-campus learning and make arrangements to provide a safe school environment.

Parents and carers who can keep their children learning remotely until on-campus learning commences for their year group should continue to do so. We’re asking for your patience during this transition so that it is orderly and managed.

While this transition marks an easing of restrictions for the Territory, the pandemic is ongoing. The Canberra community has worked so hard to stop the spread of COVID-19 and the ACT Government will remain vigilant. If this situation changes again and an increase new cases of the virus arises, the government remains ready to respond sensibly.

The ACT Government will be taking extra steps to protect students, families and staff for the duration of this pandemic. Extra cleaning will occur and physical distancing measures for adults at public schools, for example, staggered breaks and occupancy limits for staff rooms may be required. Individual public schools will make these arrangements locally and will communicate with their school community over the coming week with support from the Education Directorate.

Practicing good hygiene will also remain important, especially with the flu season starting. Students and anyone working at a school will also have ready access to COVID-19 testing if they exhibit symptoms – this will apply to staff and children in early childhood education and care as well.

For the last two weeks, ACT public school students have been receiving their learning online and for most, this has been from home. The Safe and Supervised School sites have been supporting approximately 3 per cent of public school students.

Teachers and school staff have been working incredibly hard delivering excellent remote learning to make sure our kids have a great experience. Community service workers have also played a vital role by providing supervision at the Safe and Supervised sites.

Thank you to all the parents and carers who have been patient through this changing situation and for supporting your children through this time. I acknowledge that this has not been an easy experience.

Thank you to our teachers, school staff and out of school hours care staff for your incredible work and going above and beyond to ensure students can access the best possible learning opportunity in extraordinary circumstances.

Non-government schools, both Catholic and independent, will also be transitioning back to on-campus learning over the next month. Parents should stay connected with their school to keep up to date with their arrangements.