Shadow Assistant Minister for Education and The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath is calling for the delivery of a common-sense plan to ensure a safe return to the classroom for all Victorian students for the first day of Term 1.
Ms Bath said over the past two years said Victorian students have had eight consecutively-disrupted school terms – they have missed too many days at school with teachers and their peers.
“School is essential for the wellbeing, emotional and academic development of our children and nothing replaces face to face learning with a skilled teacher,” said Ms Bath.
“Our children must be able to get on with their lives with as little disruption as possible – it’s critical that their participation in education, sport, social and creative pursuits are not sacrificed like they have been.
“The novelty of remote learning is well truly worn off for parents, children and teachers.”
Ms Bath said she is calling on Labor to adopt The Nationals’ and Liberals common-sense plan to get kids back in the classroom – and keep them there during 2022.
The plan includes:
- A guarantee that schools will not be locked down
- Free rapid antigen tests for all students and staff with vaccinations made easily available
- Ensure all classrooms are equipped with air purifiers
- A plan to manage staff shortages and ensure continuity of learning
“The Nationals and Liberals plan will support students and their families to return to school safely and allow children to fully re-engage with their educational, social and mental development,” Ms Bath said.
“There is no excuse for the Andrews Government not to be prepared for the start of the upcoming school year.
“For two years our children have been denied social and education learnings at the hands of the Andrews Labor government – school helps children to interact, cooperate, collaborate and compromise with their peers, all important life skills.
“Daniel Andrews has prioritised the cricket, tennis and parties to go ahead over summer, delaying the start of school is not an option.
“The Andrews Labor government must deliver The Nationals and Liberals comprehensive plan to safely get our kids back into classrooms in 2022 and keep schools open.
“It’s imperative we support the children and their families, to make a safe and successful return to the classroom so we can recover and rebuild for the future.
“By getting children back to face-to-face learning we will help get their educational, social and mental development back on track.”