COVID-19 Update

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The online learning environment

Your school will help you to navigate your way through this new online classroom environment via multiple mediums: 

  • Virtual classrooms – Schools are using a variety of tools – like Microsoft Teams – to connect teachers and students together for learning 
  • This website – provides resources for teachers to help them connect with the curriculum and plan lessons 
  • Pastoral care – schools will still provide additional pastoral care through homegroups, phone calls and other methods 
  • Phone calls and support – school staff will also be able to support you whether you need computer support or practical advice. 

Creating a learning space at home

It is a good idea to set up an ‘at home’ classroom learning space where children have access to the things they need.  

A dedicated classroom learning space separates work and play which supports children’s focus and concentration. This will allow you to organise and manage learning materials and assist where necessary. 

  • Involve your child in creating their classroom learning space; 
  • Consider the age and independence of your child when deciding on the location of the classroom learning space; and 
  • Remember to use safe outdoor spaces for learning throughout the day. 

Developing an online routine

Children and young people are used to the routine and structure of school. To support their ongoing classroom learning, it is important they have as much routine and certainty as possible in their day.  

You can support your child or young person’s classroom learning by involving your child in establishing a simple, consistent, and predictable daily routine.

Here is some more information on setting daily routines for learning online

Protective practices

When conducting Online Classrooms, teachers must maintain protective practices between themselves and students. The protective practice principles that teachers apply in their classroom are the same as those in an online classroom.

There are also some things parents can ensure, to help facilitate protective practices in the home when children are using any type of video, pre-recorded or live format learning:

  1. One on one student to teacher video conferencing should not occur. Should a teacher need to make video contact with a student, then another staff member (or a parent) should be present in the room or in the call.
  2. Teacher to student group video conferencing should be used when possible.
  3. Both the students and the teacher should be in an appropriate setting, in a relatively 'public' area of the home. No inappropriate background images should show in the video conference. Students should not be seen from their beds.
  4. Students and teachers should be appropriately dressed; in most cases, attire should represent something similar to the expectations of a casual clothes day, maintaining school/College expectations relating to hair and jewellery. As we are all trying to maintain normal school routines and expectations as much as possible, follow your classroom teacher's guidelines on this, as some schools will expect students to be dressed in their school uniforms for live video lessons.
  5. Video conferencing should be through the schools approved platform only, such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom etc, not FaceTime or Messenger.
  6. A student may under no circumstances record the conversation via screenshots, video, or audio, unless explicit permission is provided (Teachers will seek permission to record a group or class conference call so that it can be posted later if necessary).
  7. All video participants should enable ‘blurred’ backgrounds where possible.
  8. Turn off any email notifications and other applications during the conversation to ensure that nothing pops up on the screen.
  9. Teachers and/or students private contacts should not be shared, and personal email accounts should not be used. 

Health and safety

When learning from home, students must consider the safety requirements of their home working environment. Parents and students must ensure:

  • Students need to have regular breaks from a screen and from being seated for long periods of time. This is how school classrooms operate and in an online classroom environment it is even more important. 
  • Their designated workstation is suitable for the tasks being performed, e.g. appropriate desk height and keyboard and other regularly used items are within easy reach.
  • Their chair provides appropriate support and is adjustable in height if necessary.
  • Sufficient space has been allocated on their designated workstation for their computer and any other equipment needed to carry out their work.
  • They are situated in a space that provides adequate light for the task being performed.
  • They have appropriate ventilation.

In an online classroom environment, it is a strong recommendation that classroom learning takes place in an open area of the home where activity can be seen and monitored.