School attendance plummets in Peel as parents keep children home

Schools across the Peel region have seen their attendance numbers plunge dramatically as parents opt to keep their children home due to the threat of coronavirus.

With the government electing to keep schools open parents have taken it on themselves to withdraw their children, with thousands of students across Western Australia now set for an indefinite stint at home.

Parents who make the decision for their children to remain at home, must take responsibility for those children.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison

It is understood the figures for many schools across the Peel region have dropped to below 20 per cent throughout the course of this week, affecting extracurricular programs like sports and the arts.

'Parents must take responsibility': PM

The drop in numbers comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison's address to the nation on Sunday night, in which he stressed the importance of keeping schools open to ensure the medical workforce remained as manned as possible.

"I don't want to see our children lose an entire year of their education," Morrison said.

"Parents who make the decision for their children to remain at home, must take responsibility for those children."

Local private schools roll out online learning

WA's Department of Education launched their new Learning From Home website in a bid to assist public school parents opting to keep their children home this week, but the state government has been adamant that individual home curriculum plans won't be issued unless schools are officially closed.

But some of Mandurah's local private schools have already launched online learning initiatives for their students.

Foundation Christian College has provided "take home packs" for primary students, detailing hands-on activities, reading, mathematics, and spelling, while those in secondary school will receive instructions from their subject teachers via Microsoft Teams.

"As a college, we feel very strongly about the need to provide an ongoing, quality education to all students," school principal Neville Stanway said.

"There is no reason why this can't take place.

"The teachers have been amazing. They have put in extra time each day to upskill regarding the use of the internet for online learning, plus they have had to reformat their lessons to be uploaded onto the internet."

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Mandurah Baptist College has taken a similar approach, offering senior students an online program with direct real-time communication for key lessons while providing maths and literacy programs for their primary school sector.

"It's very important that students' continuity of learning is maintained, and also all the value-added aspects of schooling that are just as important," senior school principal Tracy Holmes said.

"Many aspects make up a quality education."

School attendance numbers are expected to continue dropping over the coming days and weeks.

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