The long road back to face-to-face learning

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Titled The Road Back to Face-to-Face Learning, more than 2,000 people tuned in to the live and interactive online Family Forum which addressed the health, safety, social and academic plans for the transition back to school. Photo: unsplash.com
Titled The Road Back to Face-to-Face Learning, more than 2,000 people tuned in to the live and interactive online Family Forum which addressed the health, safety, social and academic plans for the transition back to school. Photo: unsplash.com

By Debbie Cramsie and Jade Ramirez

Potential exposure to COVID-19 is the biggest concern by the parents of students returning to school from next week, revealed in the latest Sydney Catholic Schools Family Forum.

Cancelled activities, moving in and out of remote learning, readjusting socially after months away from the classroom, falling behind academically and struggling to readjust to the busy school schedule were also high on the list of issues around returning to face-to-face learning.

Titled The Road Back to Face-to-Face Learning, more than 2,000 people tuned in to the live and interactive online Family Forum which addressed the health, safety, social and academic plans for the transition back to school.

Held on COVID ‘Freedom Day’, the Family Forum focused on how Sydney Catholic Schools are supporting students’ from its 150 schools to transition back to the classroom following three months of lockdown.

“We want to ensure the return back to school is as smooth and easy as possible and that families can adapt as well as possible while juggling work and other responsibilities.”

Hosted by Sydney Catholic Schools’ Executive Director, Tony Farley, and featuring Dr Jacqueline Frost, Chief of Staff, and Dr Kate O’Brien, Director of Education and Research, Kevin Carragher, Director of Systems Performance, and selected school principals, the Family Forum was held during two sessions covering both primary and secondary schools.

My Farley said while he knew parents had concerns about face-to-face learning, he also wanted to assure school communities the return would be as safe as possible.

“We know that our family community has concerns about the changes, so we needed to offer them the opportunity to hear from Sydney Catholic Schools and its many experts on what they can do to support their children during the transition,” Mr Farley said.

“We want to ensure the return back to school is as smooth and easy as possible and that families can adapt as well as possible while juggling work and other responsibilities.”

Held on COVID ‘Freedom Day’, the Family Forum focused on how Sydney Catholic Schools are supporting students’ from its 150 schools to transition back to the classroom following three months of lockdown. Photo: Supplied
Held on COVID ‘Freedom Day’, the Family Forum focused on how Sydney Catholic Schools are supporting students’ from its 150 schools to transition back to the classroom following three months of lockdown. Photo: Supplied

During the forum principals Linda McFadden (St Ambrose Catholic Primary School Concord West), Peter Cranney (St Declan’s Catholic Primary School Penshurst), James Corcoran (Good Samaritan Catholic College Hinchinbrook) and Melinda Melham (Assistant Principal of Mount Saint Joseph Catholic College Milperra and newly appointed principal of Freeman Catholic College Bonnyrigg Heights for 2022) talked about the importance of managing the social, emotional and academic needs of Sydney Catholic Schools’ students.

The forum outlined the steps schools are taking to socially reintegrate students into the community including how to bring fun into learning; having a priority focus on communication; cultivating interaction and socialisation; and how they are planning on managing student anxiety.

Speakers emphasised that the transition back to school should be gradual and the importance of reigniting school day routines while still in remote learning.

They encouraged parents to think about some of the positive rituals to come out of lockdown, such as outdoor family exercise and cooking together – and to consider maintaining these post lock down, to foster greater family cohesion.

“The forum outlined the steps schools are taking to socially reintegrate students into the community …”

Throughout the interactive forum, the audience was invited to vote for topics they wanted the hosts to expand on further.

The Family Forums kicked off in Term 2 and were designed so parents and carers could learn more about how Sydney Catholic Schools are equipping students with the skills, knowledge and opportunities they need to become active, global citizens.

Missed the family forums, you can watch them here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k10POYt3l14
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDrnQAK7oag

Related Articles