School to close, but learning continues

Photo: Google Maps

By Alesha Capone

Students at Westbourne Grammar School will not attend school from Thursday onwards – although students will continue their studies online – as a precautionary measure against the Coronavirus.

The school has campuses in Truganina and Williamstown.

Principal Meg Hansen said students would effectively finish up on Thursday, rather than the scheduled end-of-term date of Friday, March 27.

“We’re doing this as a precautionary measure,” Ms Hansen said.

The school was closed on Friday and Monday (March 13 and 16), after a senior school student was tested for the Coronavirus.

Fortunately, the test came back negative, and the school opened to students today (Tuesday, March 17). Students will also be able to attend the school tomorrow (Wednesday, March 18).

But Ms Hansen said that if a “live case” of the Coronavirus was detected in the wider school community before then, the school would be required to close earlier than tomorrow.

She said that the school would continue to provide lessons and study materials online for its older students until Friday, March 27, via their school laptops.

Ms Hansen the school would remain open until Wednesday to give students a chance to adapt to the online learning environment.

“For the older children, we will make sure the children know how the software works, they know where to look for the lessons and that they know what is expected of them, it is a big change,” she said.

“It’s also to give parents time to prepare, as best they can.”

Ms Hansen said that for younger pupils, from grade prep to two, teachers would send home learning packs and also check in regularly with parents.

She said grade three and four students would be given “light variations” of the study materials and lessons being provided to older students, on laptops.

Ms Hansen said the school would continue to offer counselling and its strong pastoral care program, but that it has cancelled a lot of functions, just like most other schools across the state.

She said she has been impressed with how the school’s staff and pupils had conducted themselves in the past few days.

“People are rolling up their sleeves and getting on with it, the kids are being as calm as they can be,” she said.

Ms Hansen said the school’s teachers were regularly going over the importance of hygiene and social distancing, with their pupils.