High anxiety before returning to school | Canberra time


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Bella Greco is nervous about starting Year 12 as COVID-19 cases soar across Australia. The 17-year-old is not afraid of contracting the virus, she is more concerned about missing important coming-of-age milestones if the disease takes hold and schools resume learning at distance. A student at Avila College in Melbourne, she missed her formal Grade 11 in 2021 due to the pandemic and already has low expectations for her Grade 12 feature, scheduled for early February. Bella hasn’t arranged a dress, hairdresser, or limo — things teenage girls typically plan for months. “I try to lower my expectations in case it doesn’t happen,” she says. Despite this, Bella wants to start the school year off right. At school. Understandably, she fears the uncertainty will affect her results, but says her school has strong support mechanisms in place should they have to switch to remote learning. Her mum Emma isn’t so worried about Bella completing her senior year remotely as she has already spent much of the past two years learning at home. She hopes the school year will not be delayed. Instead, she wants those pivotal early years, like prep and Grade 12, to start normally. “We all have aspirations of what we want our kids to achieve, but all we’ve said for this year is ‘do your best, don’t focus on numbers, focus on strength. experience,” Emma Greco said. Headspace App clinical psychologist and mental health expert Mary Spillane says Bella’s feelings and those of her mother are no different from what many families experience. She reports instances of tiredness, exhaustion and tiredness as well as heightened anxiety about what is to come. “They seem more concerned about remote learning and any other disruption than fear of contracting the virus,” Spillane says. She says this is especially the case for students finishing their final year when they would normally have a lot on their social calendar in addition to their academic mindset. “The idea of ​​skipping out on sports, socializing and that kind of thing comes back up because the baseline level of anxiety is higher. But the trick to dealing with that anxiety is just trying to control the things that can be controlled and not worrying about things that may never happen.” Teachers seem more concerned about contracting and transmitting the virus, according to Spillane. But worrying about logical challenges if teachers and students are in and out of isolation is also on the mind. Teacher Susan Howard of Bass Coast College in Victoria says she and her colleagues are just as eager as parents and pupils to start the year in a positive and “normal” way. And although Queensland and South Australia have both delayed their return to school, she does not believe this will happen in Victoria or that distance learning will resume in 2022. improved, ”says Howard. “We now have two years of experience in this area and have determined what works and what doesn’t for the learning needs and well-being of our students.” Sally Payne, Associate Dean of Studies at Sydney College University of Technology, says that however students finish their final years, it’s important to remember that “ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank ) is just a digit”. “It was never about measuring a person’s potential. I’ve seen many young people recover from an unexpected result. There are always options and the future is still bright,” she says. . Prime Minister Scott Morrison said state and territory leaders agree the priority should be ensuring schools stay open, but it is up to each jurisdiction to make a decision on whether to postpone the start of the school year. “We need open schools and we need to see them stay open,” he says. BACK TO SCHOOL * Victoria – Monday January 31 * Western Australia – Monday January 31 * ACT – Tuesday February 1 (new students should start a day earlier) * NSW – Tuesday February 1 * Northern Territory – Monday February 1 * South Australia – Tuesday February 1 (mix of in-class and remote learning until February 14) * Tasmania – Wednesday February 9 * Queensland – Monday February 7 (years 11 and 12 start remotely on January 31) Source : Australia.gov. at Lifeline 13 11 14 Beyondblue 1300 22 4636 Australian Associated Press



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