Online learning back for many Vic students | The Ararat Advertiser

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Prep to year 10 students in locked-down parts of Victoria will return to online learning. Premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday confirmed students in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, north of the city, will learn from home from July 20 until at least August 19. Onsite learning will be available for students whose parents cannot work from home and for students with special needs who attend mainstream schools. Mr Andrews said reducing the movement of students and their parents will help drive community transmission of the virus down. “We can’t have the best part of 700,000 students as well as parents moving to and from school, moving around the community, as if there wasn’t a lockdown,” he told reporters. “That will put at direct risk us achieving our aim and that, of course, is to drive the numbers down at the end of the six-week period and get to a position where we will have control and where we can begin a very cautious program of easing.” Mr Andrews recognised the return to home learning would be challenging, particularly for parents of young children. “It is not a decision that we take easily. It is going to be very challenging, but it is what must be done, given the circumstances that we face and given the fact that we just don’t have the luxury of pretending that this is not real,” he said. Education Minister James Merlino said almost 50,000 laptops and devices have already been distributed during term two, as well as 26,000 WiFi dongles. “We’ve got further devices and dongles in stock – over 1000 devices and over 2,500 dongles – so if we need to provide further support for students during this period of flexible and remote learning we will be able to do so,” he said. School holidays have been extended for a week while teachers prepare to return to online learning. But senior secondary students, year 10 students who study VCE subjects and those who attend specialist schools, will head back to the classroom for face-to-face learning on Monday. All students in regional and rural Victoria, except the Mitchell Shire, will also return to onsite learning as normal from Monday. Meanwhile, free sessional kinder for eligible children living in locked-down areas will also be offered for term three. The funding guarantees $460 for each eligible child enrolled in a funded kindergarten program. Eligible kindergarten services outside of these areas will get half that subsidy. Australian Associated Press

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