Eastern Victoria MP Harriet Shing has clarified that Gippsland schools will return as usual on Monday, July 13..

GIPPSLAND schools go back as usual on Monday, July 13.

That’s word from Eastern Victoria MP Harriet Shing who moved quickly last night to clarify the position for local students, teachers and parents.

While a whole set of new arrangements was outlined by the Premier Daniel Andrews for metro schools yesterday, in the wake of the biggest single day of coronavirus case, these changes, Ms Shing said, don’t affect Gippsland schools.

Ms Shing confirmed all students and all teachers would be back at school as usual next week.

Across Melbourne, the situation is completely different for schools.

Year 12, 11 and 10 students doing VCE subjects will go back to Melbourne schools to protect the integrity of the VCE system and also because senior students are able to take responsibility for their own health and safety.

Specialist schools also go back but students in Year 10 (non-VCE subjects) and below will not be going back for six weeks.

“We want to make sure that their VCE is not any more disrupted than it already has been and we want the Certificate of Education to be meaningful across both regional Victoria and metro, and to have two very different settings I think would potentially cause us some issues there,” Mr Andrews said.

He said the holidays would be extended for metro kids next week while teachers returned to school to set up another learning from home system.

“As for all other students we will extend the school holidays for a further week, there will be five “pupil-fee days” next week. Teachers will be at work, they will be at school and they will be doing two things; firstly preparing for whatever the balance of the term may look like and we will make further announcements once we see more data as things are a little more settled in the coming days, again giving parents as much notice as we can. And the second function that those teachers will, at least some of those teachers will be performing is for parents that are working in essential jobs that can’t be done from home, whether mum and dad are stacking shelves at Coles or Woolworths or whether mum and dad are a nurse, or a police officer; those kids will be able to be taken to school and for next week there will be a supervised school holiday program for them.”

So, it’s business as usual for country kids but clearly, if we don’t continue to do the right thing, and keep numbers low, a return to these sorts of restrictions is still on the cards.

Continuing with low or no cases of COVID-19 also holds out hope of a further easing of restrictions in country areas.