Let’s all try a lit­tle kind­ness

Geraldton Guardian - - FRONT PAGE - Liam Beatty

An ice-cream ven­dor and a Catholic bishop have shown Ger­ald­ton how to beat the self­ish­ness and neg­a­tiv­ity that COVID-19 so eas­ily spawns.

While it’s true only re­searchers can un­lock the med­i­cal cure, ac­cord­ing to psy­chol­o­gists we all hold the an­ti­dote to the so­cial and mental chal­lenges ahead.

Three of Ger­ald­ton’s in­de­pen­dently run schools have de­cided to shift to online learn­ing next week, with pub­lic schools fol­low­ing suit the week af­ter.

Ger­ald­ton Gram­mar, Strathal­byn Christian Col­lege and Na­gle Catholic Col­lege have an­nounced they will shift ed­u­ca­tion online, in an­tic­i­pa­tion of more COVID-19 re­stric­tions and feedback from par­ents.

Many par­ents have al­ready with­drawn stu­dents from school.

All three schools have stressed stu­dents un­able to study from home will still be able to study online at their re­spec­tive schools — but in iso­la­tion.

Strathal­byn Christian Col­lege prin­ci­pal Gavin Hirschhaus­en said the col­lege’s an­nual pupil­free week was be­ing brought for­ward by a week, to al­low the school to test out its online learn­ing sys­tem, Can­vas.

“It’s am­bi­tious, but schools need to be ready to move into online learn­ing un­in­ter­rupted if the sit­u­a­tion es­ca­lates,” he said.

“We’ve been us­ing the sys­tem for five years so we’re con­fi­dent in our abil­ity to pro­vide ex­cel­lent online learn­ing.”

Mr Hirschhaus­en said a spe­cial ar­range­ment would be set up for Year 12 stu­dents af­ter dis­cus­sions with them re­vealed they felt they also re­quired face-to-face in­struc­tion.

On Mon­day, Ger­ald­ton Gram­mar School prin­ci­pal Nee­sha Flint sent a let­ter to par­ents urg­ing them not to send their kids to school if pos­si­ble.

For the rest of the week, stu­dents have re­ceived online lessons us­ing Google Class­rooms re­gard­less of their phys­i­cal at­ten­dance at school.

Ms Flint said this de­ci­sion was not made lightly and was in the best in­ter­ests of the school com­mu­nity.

On Mon­day, about 15 per cent of Ger­ald­ton Gram­mar School stu­dents had al­ready been pulled out of class by par­ents.

“From Mon­day, March 30, we will close the school and move to our online plat­form,” Ms Flint said.

Na­gle Catholic Col­lege prin­ci­pal Michael Wil­liams has seen greatly re­duced at­ten­dance.

“The cur­rent sit­u­a­tion is mak­ing it ex­tremely dif­fi­cult for staff to prop­erly ac­com­mo­date the learn­ing needs of stu­dents who are si­mul­ta­ne­ously learn­ing ei­ther at home or at the col­lege,” he said.

Mr Wil­liams said be­cause of this, the school would move lessons online.

Late yes­ter­day, Catholic Ed­u­ca­tion WA is­sued a state­ment ad­vis­ing par­ents to keep chil­dren at home as of close of school to­day, if at all pos­si­ble.

Ger­ald­ton Gram­mar School stu­dent Jenni Win­ter­bine does an ATAR maths les­son from home.

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