Students to step up during coronavirus pandemic


Parents are being urged to keep their children home from school as the coronavirus pandemic hits the education sector.

Despite the ever-changing situation, the University of Newcastle’s Pro Vice-Chancellor Education and Arts, Professor John Fischetti, wants students to know that they will get through this period.

“Our imagination will get us through,” he says.

University of Newcastle’s Pro Vice-Chancellor Education and Arts, Professor John Fischetti.

“Our patience, kindness and flexibility will all be tested [but we will] get our confidence back.”

Professor Fischetti has several tips for parents and students to help them get through this difficult time.

“Embrace the opportunity,” he says.

“This is a new chapter to help your child be successful.

“It could be really special and memorable.

“Use it to do what we often say we don’t have time to do – be with your kids.

“Stick to a routine every day – get up in the morning and get ready like your children are going to school, create a space where the work can take place [and] be organised.”

Professor Fischetti says parents also need to ensure their children are taking the right breaks, have a balanced diet, and are getting enough sleep and exercise.

He believes that families should look to their social network if they need assistance and suggests that, if a student is struggling, then a call to someone who can help, like a grandparent or neighbour, might make a big difference.

He adds access to resources can be an issue for many families but thinks that tapping into this network and working with the school will provide some alternatives.

Ultimately, Professor Fischetti believes this style of education is the way of the future and, once society has a handle on the pandemic, “schools as we know them may change dramatically”.

He adds parents need to ask their kids to “step up” to help protect our nation’s most vulnerable.

“There were generations before them who were sent to go to war and the pressure for them was life and death,” he says.

“We will get through to the other side and we might learn a lot of new things on the way.

“This is very unusual, but we are blessed to have this opportunity.”

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