Gippsland students need educational stability

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath has raised concerns in relation to the educational stability of regional students.

The World Health Organisation has said school closures are devastating for students and have clear negative impacts on child health, education and development.

Ms Bath said closing all regional schools when there are zero cases in regional Victoria is a disproportionate action by the Andrews Government which significantly impacts mental wellbeing and belonging of students.

“At this stage of the pandemic response, a blanket closure of schools should not form part of Victoria’s state-wide restrictions.

“If the Andrews Government health advice says it’s safe to hold the Australian Open tennis, then it is safe for children to be at school.”

Victorian students lost 112 days of face to face learning in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, while in comparison their NSW counterparts only lost 29 days.

Ms Bath said speaking with parents I get a sense that certain children are in a vulnerable position and schools cannot operate like a light switch, flicked on and off every time the Premier has a bump in the COVID road.

“After having a disrupted year in 2020, I am concerned that less motivated students are again experiencing a loss of engagement so early in the school year,” said Ms Bath.

“As a former secondary school teacher I know there is no substitute for face to face classroom learning and remote learning does not suit everyone.

“Students don’t need these constant disruptions to their education.

“The Andrews Government should be doing everything it can to bridge the gap between regional and metropolitan schools.

“The experts consistently say schools are safe and education must be prioritised by Labor.

“The Andrews Government must provide stability and continuity for our regional students.”