Schools to reopen with new outlook for students
MANY parents are breathing a sigh of relief after the announcement that from May 11, Queensland’s kindergarten, Prep and Year 1, 11 and 12 students will go back to school in a staged rollout with other grades to join them on May 25.
Yeppoon mother of three school-aged boys – Jake, 9, Aiden, 11, and Tyson, 17 – Tyne Mustey said the past few weeks had been a challenge at times and her sons could not wait to get back to school.
“Before all of this my sons were typical boys who at times really didn’t want to go to school and now, they realise how much they miss their friends and their normal learning environment,” Tyne said.
“Yeppoon State School have been wonderful throughout this difficult time. I never expected the level of communication we have received from the principal and teachers.
“They have been so helpful, organised, setting up wellness activities and positive quotes as well as creating the opportunity to post photos online of their endeavours so students can see what their friends are doing.
“Their reassurances that we are all in this together have been helpful for my sons. They have continually kept us up to date with all the latest COVID-19 facts.
“It has been hard but wonderful at the same time. This time with my sons at home is something we will all remember.
“We have tried to stick to a regular schedule with learning from 9am to noon each day so they get to work for a few hours on each subject, then using the afternoon to engage in outdoor activities in the yard and walking around the block.
“We have only had a couple of days where the boys were cranky, tired and just couldn’t manage so we have done the best we could and picked up the slack the next day.
“This has been a real bonding experience for us all. It has been fun and really nice to see them progress in person, which we normally don’t get to see that when they are school.”
While the family has made the best of things, Tyne said it had not been without its challenges.
“Mentally I have had a couple of days where I have been over it and questioned whether I have been doing enough for the boys educationally,” she said.
“Tyson is in grade 12, which is a very important year. He is missing the social interaction with his friends but he seems to be doing all right with the curriculum he has covered.
“I have to sit with the little ones to ensure they understand without giving too much help.
“It can be daunting at times. I’ve been a stay at home mum since they were born so I have been lucky to be able to stay home and help them.
“Before all this happened, I had been studying to get a broad range of qualifications to re-enter the workforce, which was all put on hold for now.
“I think my sons will all be very happy to see their school friends again and they may even have a new appreciation for being able to go to school.”
Yeppoon State School principal Kylie Butler said teachers and students were looking forward to the transition back to in school after the COVID-19 pandemic forced parents to educate their children from home.
“All our teaching staff have been back at school since the Easter holiday break working hard to ensure all students are kept up to date and are managing with the challenges of home schooling,” Ms Butler said.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we have had around 60 students at school whose parents are frontline essential workers.
“The initial transition to online learning platforms had its challenges but I am proud of the way all our staff adapted.”
Ms Butler said timetables were put in place to ensure adequate supervision while ensuring teachers had time to plan the print-based and online curriculum.
“On Tuesday we went live with our online learning and, so far, it has been going well,” she said.
“We made the decision to provide a print-based curriculum for the first two weeks before moving over to an online curriculum.
“To ensure the wellbeing of our families, Yeppoon State School also implemented wellness activities for both students and parents to enjoy as an additional tool for families to use.
“We have had very positive feedback from our families, with many posting photos of their learning and activities online for everyone to share.
“Our teachers are now looking at the online learning as a tool that can be used in the future.”