The Victorian Government has announced all government primary, secondary and special school students will move to remote and flexible learning and teaching when class recommences next week.
The drastic measure has been taken on the advice of the Chief Health Officer in order to slow the spread of Covid-19.
Victorian government schools will recommence on Tuesday 14 April with a pupil-free day, with students to begin classes on Wednesday 15 April. These new arrangements will remain in place for the duration of Term 2 and will then be reviewed.
"I know this year will be different to any that students, teachers and families have experienced before, but we are making sure that our kids still get the education they deserve," says Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.
"We've done the work and planning so we're ready to make the move to remote and flexible learning, and I want to thank everyone involved for their dedication to our kids' education at this unprecedented time."
To support students the State Government has announced changes to the academic timetable for those in Year 12, as well as free Internet access and laptops for students in need.
VCE students will still receive an ATAR but there will be a number of chances to the academic timetable including:
- The GAT test will move from June to October or November;
- End of year exams will be postponed until at least December;
- School based assessment tasks will be reduced where possible to relieve some pressure on students as they move to remote and flexible learning arrangements; and
- Universities will be asked to delay the start of the 2021 academic year to account for impacts of coronavirus on senior secondary students.
VCE study scores will continue to be a combination of school-based assessment and external exams. VCAL students will have more time to complete their courses and this will be consistent with the revised dates for the VCE.
On-site learning will only be available for children whose parents can't work from home and vulnerable students without access to a suitable learning environment at home.
Further, the State Government will loan more than 6,000 laptops and tablets to students who currently do not have access to digital technologies at home. Schools will also distribute other classroom devices as required.
Free Internet access via SIM cards or dongles will be provided to thousands of students at public schools who need them the most. The State Government has partnered with Telstra to provide 4,000 SIM cards for public primary and secondary students.
The measure comes as Victoria reports 1,191 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the state.
In total there are currently 5,895 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Australia with 2,686 in NSW, 934 in QLD, 460 in WA, 411 in SA, 96 in the ACT, 89 in TAS, and 28 in NT.
Updated at 10:54AM AEST on 7 April 2020.