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Get the kids back to school

State Liberal Member for Eildon Cindy McLeish is advocating for the return of Term 4 onsite learning for regional schools.

Ms McLeish said, “Remote learning has been a struggle for students, families and teachers at the best of times. But it has been truly challenging for rural and regional schools, who are already disadvantaged.”

“There are very low COVID-19 case numbers - in some areas absolutely none, in regional Victoria. I do not see why we could not commence school in those areas sooner rather than later.”

Six out of the 10 poorest performing secondary schools, based on median study score in 2019, are based in rural and regional Victoria. To date between those schools’ postcodes there have been three active cases in total.

Rural and regional schools are already disadvantaged by inequalities in educational outcomes including test results, experience social disadvantages, a lack of amenities and have suffered during remote learning due to poor internet connection.

Ms McLeish continues, “COVID case numbers show areas in rural and regional Victoria are not at risk of transmissions. It is these locations that we need to focus on getting the students back to onsite learning.”

The Liberal Nationals announced their road to recovery plan on Wednesday 2 September. Part of the plan is for schools to commence at the start of Term 4. This is supported by thousands of parents who are desperate for their children to return to onsite learning.

“These parents are desperate for their kids to return to school. They want school open at the start of term 4. They want to be involved in decisions about their children’s education and about closures. They want transparency in the decision-making process and for the risks to be considered and balanced and not just be influenced by political agendas.”

“This has been well documented and canvassed, to the point that the minister actually had to look into it. No sooner was a report handed down about the disadvantage in country areas than he moved to close all schools, even those in areas where they had no COVID cases, because he wanted to level the playing field. People in the country just did not think that cut the mustard,” Ms McLeish concludes.


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