By Laura Michell
Schools across Hume and Whittlesea welcomed back the first of their students last week, bringing an end to two months of home schooling for thousands of students.
At Hume Anglican Grammar, 560 students in prep and years 1, 2, 11 and 12 made their way back into classrooms across the school’s two campuses last Tuesday.
Principal Bill Sweeney said the school had spent a lot of time ensuring all health department and government guidelines were enacted to provide as safe an environment for staff and students as possible.
“Our senior leadership team have implemented a new cleaning regime and installed appropriate signage promoting cleaning of hands and other necessary hygiene practices. We have also modified our grounds supervision roster and playground cleaning routine,” he said.
“We have made extensive changes to our drop off and pick up process, including strict guidelines and specific locations for parents when exiting their vehicle.”
Mr Sweeney said the school’s “expansive” grounds meant students were able to social distance without the need to stagger recess and lunch breaks.
He said students had embraced online learning over the past two months, with the school receiving “overwhelmingly positive” feedback from families.
At St Monica’s College in Epping, staff have spent weeks preparing for the return of students.
Principal Brian Hanley said more cleaning staff have been hired to ensure classrooms are as safe as possible, while hand sanitiser was available in every occupied room.
The school is asking parents not to enter its grounds (except in urgent matters) and to stay in their cars when dropping off and picking up students. All visitors to the school must have their temperature checked.
In a message to parents, Mr Hanley said school camps and excursions for terms two and three have been cancelled.
“The college, however, will reintroduce its vast co-curricular program with all precautions in place,” he said.