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  • Writer's pictureJack Ward

Student wellbeing top priority

Published in The Ararat Advocate, Ararat's weekly newspaper published by West Vic News Pty Ltd.

ARARAT’S two colleges have a unified message for students returning to the classroom again in term four.

Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Sunday that VCE and VCAL students will return for the start of term 4 on Monday October 5 in preparation for their General Achievement Test that Wednesday.

All other year levels can begin a staged return to on-site learning the following week, starting October 12.

Marian College’s head of wellbeing, Steph Saravanja, said the timeline has provided staff and students with some much-needed certainty.

“It's just nice to know what's happening next term, when kids are returning and working around that, and organizing around that so we can support them,” she said.

“Not just to return to do more work, but to actually support them emotionally and wellbeing wise throughout that process is important too.”

Ararat College welfare officer, Taylah Jamieson, said the announcement is what students had been holding out for in recent weeks.

“That's what we've all been seeking for the past little while, we've just wanted to know when it's going to happen and how that's going to work,” she said.

“Now that we've got something to prepare for, we can now start putting some strategies in place for the students.”

Staff at both schools have been impressed by the resilience shown across all year levels in round two.

“It's hard to get motivated sometimes towards the end of remote learning and that’s been a big challenge for our year 12s. Just having that disrupted year and losing out on some of those milestones, like formals and socials,” Ms Saravanja said.

“I am in awe of them and the way they've just kept on bouncing back and showing leadership for the rest of the school as well.”

Ararat College’s Ms Jamieson reiterated the impact on students studying in their final year. Both schools have been working hard to remain as connected as possible.

“As a school, we've tried to be super proactive with our approach towards combating some of those feelings and some of those concerns that they've been having,” she said.

“Everyone's on the same page with how we're approaching this, especially this time round because we had that little bit of time.”

She urged students to take time out over the forthcoming school holidays to prioritise self-care.

“Make sure you have downtime to prepare yourselves for the last term, especially those year 12s that are probably going to be catching up homework over the holidays,” she said.

Ms Saravanja agreed, “Don't forget your character strengths and all the things about you that make you special. Also, take care of yourself during this time and to reach out when you need help.”

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