COVID-19 new normal: How Peel schools handled restrictions

Assemblies via video conferencing platforms, desks set 1.5 metres apart and no shared equipment were the new norm when Western Australian students returned to school over two weeks ago.

While Peel schools are now embracing this new normal, teachers rushed to scale up existing online learning and created learning from home programs at the peak of COVID-19 restrictions.

Many Mandurah primary schools adapted to at home learning through a mixture of online programs and paper packages.

Social media was invaluable in communicating with parents through the holidays and the work done on SeeSaw was outstanding.

Greenfields Primary School principal Shannon Wright

In response to the uncertainty of whether students would be returning in Term 2, Riverside Primary School principal Peter Dunning said teachers developed a learning from home program.

"At the end of Term 1 the teachers designed learning programs that not only took up the curriculum that would have been delivered face-to-face in classrooms, but developed learning activities that would enable a family member or parent to support instead of teach their child," he said.

"In the learning show bag were tennis balls and bean bags to support P.E. lessons, white boards and markers, and books and activities that mirrored the online learning package.

"These were home delivered by our administration team and staff to ensure each student received the paper package and learning show bag in time to begin each week's work, and to make contact with families that were isolated away from friends and family."

North Mandurah Primary School principal James Peletier said the teachers had to adapt to several new online learning methods since COVID-19 restrictions began.

Greenfields Primary School principal Shannon Wright said the teachers delivered online lessons through a number of programs such as Literacy Pro, Study Ladder and SeeSaw.

"Teaching staff practiced delivering lessons remotely at the end of last term using Seesaw," she said.

"Social media was invaluable in communicating with parents through the holidays and the work done on SeeSaw was outstanding."

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As students mental well being was expected to fluctuate during COVID-19 restrictions, Ocean Road Primary School positive mental health coordinator Jemma Tilbury said the staff developed a student support plan.

"During this challenging time all students' mental, emotional and behavioural states may fluctuate. With this in mind, we developed a student support COVID-19 plan and health program," she said.

"The health program was implemented for the first five weeks of Term 2 with the aim of fostering positive mental health.

"By promoting positive mental health and wellbeing among our whole school community and having well established student support processes in place we are ensuring every child matters, each moment counts and everyone belongs."

With school now compulsory, many Mandurah primary schools plan to utilise this online technology and new teaching methods post-pandemic.