A social dilemma: The heavy burden on schools during lockdown

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Description

Australia is gradually emerging from an unprecedented lockdown, where we continue to face major threats to our health and economy. 

Schools have acted as shock absorbers during this period, switching in a short period of time to online learning, and supporting children and their families to learn from home while simultaneously attempting to remotely manage the health and wellbeing of their pupils. 

It was a heroic effort but, like all these things, it comes at a cost. What this period showed is that the role of schools is crucial in helping the young people in their care not only to flourish academically, but socially – to build socially cohesive and connected school communities as part of growing healthy young citizens of tomorrow. 

But when the all-important but too-often-taken-for-granted face-to-face interactions with schools were removed, yawning gaps in our society were exposed. These included: inequitable access to digital resources; children going hungry because access to breakfast and lunch programs were removed; greater levels of family violence as families were thrown together for much longer periods of time without the normal supports; and intensification of mental illness among children and their caregivers. 

Period3 Nov 2020

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Media contributions

Keywords

  • School leaders
  • Cyberbullying
  • Social cohesion