Year 12 St Pats student Lilli Crumblin
Year 12 St Pats student Lilli Crumblin

COVID-19: Gympie students grapple with home school stress

SENIOR Gympie students have been left to grapple with the harsh new realities they face as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Federal and State Government social distancing restrictions implemented to try and contain the virus means students could miss months inside the classroom as schools scramble to prepare for remote learning from next week.

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Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk this week announced schools would move to pupil-free days for all students except children of still-working parents next week ahead of the Easter school holidays and possibly beyond.

The Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority announced one internal assessment would be cancelled out of the four required for Year 12 students due to the challenges proposed by coronavirus.

Mayoral Prayer Breakfast - Ashleigh Stallmann, Lilli Crumblin, Ivy Dugdale, Jack Algie and Joseph Adams. Picture: Shane Zahner
Mayoral Prayer Breakfast - Ashleigh Stallmann, Lilli Crumblin, Ivy Dugdale, Jack Algie and Joseph Adams. Picture: Shane Zahner

St Patrick’s College Year 12 student Ivy Dugdale said the new rules would present significant challenges on the road to graduation.

“It’s quite stressful really, and we still have our assessment to do. Obviously the school has taken measures and we’ve moved to online classes, but it’s still gotten a little bit stressful,” Ivy said.

“Some of my assignments have been pushed back, but (assessment) hasn’t been affected too much yet I don’t think.

“It’s kind of hard to motivate yourself being at home, it’s not the best.

“I don’t want to work from home for months, this is our senior year and it’s good to be able to go to school to see your friends and have your teachers there to talk to you and help you.”

Fellow St Pat’s senior Lilli Crumblin said was “uncertainty” about the modified learning environments among the region’s Year 12 students.

Year 12 St Pats student Lilli Crumblin
Year 12 St Pats student Lilli Crumblin

“A lot of us are doing our ATAR and we haven’t been able to have that one-on-one time with our teachers” Lilli said.

“Being our senior year it is quite nerve-racking but whatever’s put in place I know the school is going to look out for us.

“If we go into next term learning from home, I expect there will be a few more challenges without the teachers actually speaking to you.”

Both students said there were also significant social challenges involved with learning from home, but remained optimistic about their chances of getting through the difficult road ahead.

“I do really like the online learning, everything’s online anyway for us, our teachers are still there to talk about whatever we need and they’re here to help,” Lilli said.

“School has kept us in the loop really well and our teachers are checking in pretty much every day to see how we’re going, I’m really grateful for how supportive they’ve been.”

University of the Sunshine Coast Research Fellow in Youth Mental Health Dr Laurisa McLoughlin shared some tips for students to manage and alleviate stress in their makeshift working environments.

“Minimise time spent looking at news associated with the pandemic. Young people will already have their own coping strategies for day to day life, but it’s best to keep to a routine. As usual things like exercise, a healthy diet, and sleep are all important for mental health. Try to get outside for a little bit each day and stay social,” Dr McLoughlin said.

“Most importantly remain socially connected to those around you. Being indoors, you may feel physically isolated but it doesn’t mean you need to be socially isolated.

“Just remember to ask for help if you need it. Try to keep in a routine, the same as you would if you were physically at school. Take regular breaks and try to think of this as an opportunity to learn in a different way and learn new skills.”

Gympie Times


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