Naracoorte Students head back to class with face masks

Ellis Attwood, Principal Kylie Smith and Katie Johnson were pleased to return to classromm, even with facemasks.
Ellis Attwood, Principal Kylie Smith and Katie Johnson were pleased to return to classromm, even with facemasks.

Even masks couldn't hide the joy that Naracoorte students and students felt being back in the classroom this week.

Students around the state returned to in-person teaching after a week of remote learning due to the seven-day lockdown.

However, it was not quite what they were used to, with everyone aged 12 and above required to wear masks while indoors, until at least next week.

However, the new restrictions were no issue for year 12 Naracoorte High School students Ellis Attwood and Katie Johnson, who said they were just happy to be back in the classroom.

"it's good to be back in the atmosphere. The masks are uncomfortable, but we have to do what we have to do," Ellis said.

"It hasn't interrupted much, it's just there."

Katie said staff had been supportive in helping students adjust to the new rule.

"We are lucky to have a lot of support and a lot of reassurance from the teachers," she said.

"I think we just have to stay positive for positive outcomes - we all know that what we have to do has to be done to get through all of this, we just have to listen and abide by the rules.

"We'll take it day by day."

Principal Kylie Smith said students and staff had adjusted well to the masks and had adopted new strategies to help make it more manageable.

"It's challenging for the students as well, but we have some really good guidelines that have come through the SA Department of Education and SA Health," she said.

"All the information they have provided has given us a really clear picture about why we are doing what we're doing, and what is OK in terms of delivery of curriculum. So teachers are allowed to take their masks off to be able to communicate effectively with students then they put their mask back on.

"We've talked about extra techniques to get extra airflow, taking breaks where kids can go outside more frequently, that sort of thing.

"We are trying to use good strategies to make sure the learning environment is not disrupted. We are keeping educated and adjusting to what SA Health guidelines."

It was pleasing to welcome students back to the classroom, masks and all, after a week of remote learning, although student attendance had been good.

"Remote learning went well - the teachers went above and beyond what was expected," Ms Smith said

"If they weren't able to contact kids in their teams sessions they would make phone calls, there were phone calls from support staff, our wellbeing team supported all staff in chasing up students who were hard to connect with, so attendance was really positive."

Ellis said that it was good to be face to face with friends and teachers again.

"I think we are lucky to have that technology we can use, but it's not ideal because having the face to face communication and being in the school grounds is really good for us for socialising and having one on one contact," she said.

"I know that if someone wanted to do remote learning, we would have a lot of support like we did over the past seven days - the teachers were amazing.

"It was a challenge but we had a lot of support so it was definitely easier to overcome than it could have been."