CEM and Communications Office
It’s been a week of celebrations across the city as students in metropolitan Melbourne returned to the classroom for face-to-face learning.
After a year where students around the world have been disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, Victorian students headed back to the classroom for the second week of Term 4.
After months of remote and flexible learning, 584,000 children from prep to year seven and VCE walked through the school gates to reunite with their teachers and friends.
‘Our teachers have been doing a tremendous job maintaining learning continuity and caring for the wellbeing of their students in the remote setting’, said Catholic Education Melbourne’s Executive Director, Jim Miles.
‘They are also looking forward to schools returning to being vibrant and flourishing Catholic learning communities.’
Speaking to ABC, Education Minister James Merlino said Victorians should be proud of the efforts they've made to allow students to return to face-to-face learning.
‘We're at this point now where people are back at school because of the success of Victorians in driving down the numbers,’ he said.
‘I think it’s a massive sigh of relief for parents as well. It was a different morning for me at home, the noise and the activity that you've almost forgotten, the school chaos morning.’
The Education Minister said mental health support for returning students will be important now that they're back at school.
‘The very first priority for schools will be on students' mental health and wellbeing, getting them reconnected with their friends and their peers, get them back into the school routine,’ Mr Merlino said.
‘Many students have thrived, many students have also struggled and will require that catch-up support.’
School: The happiest place on Earth
There was a special surprise for students returning to St Martin of Tours School, Rosanna. Channel 9’s Today captured the moment when students returned to find their teachers dressed as Disney characters to celebrate ‘the happiest place on earth’.
‘We wanted to provide our students with a magical experience and a special memory to treasure forever,’ says Jacqui Marshall, Principal of St Martin of Tours Primary School.
‘Our aim was to bring to life the statement “St Martin of Tours: The happiest place on earth!” by providing a day of colour, fun, laughter and imagination by dressing up as Disney Characters.
‘We knew some students would be worried, anxious or nervous about returning to school, so to support their wellbeing, we planned the surprise.
‘Our students and families were overwhelmed, speechless and completely blown away by the efforts of the staff. Students entered through the school gates with such excitement and enthusiasm, they left their worries behind and celebrated being back with their friends.
‘Our celebration was about creating a happy memory for 2020, one where their imagination took them to a magical place, we wanted to bring Disneyland to them.
‘St Martins is very much a joyful learning environment where we nurture creativity, persistence and optimism,’ she added.
Catholic schools will continue to operate within the recommended safety guidelines, including around social distancing, hygiene practices and restricted access to school sites. Students in Years 8, 9 and 10 will continue with remote and flexible learning over the next two weeks before returning to the classroom on Monday 26 October.