OVER the past few days, lunches have been packed, school shoes have been tied and school bags have been flung over shoulders as children in Melbourne returned to classrooms after almost three months of home learning.
Last Monday, youngsters in prep and year 1 and 2 returned to see their teachers and classmates face-to-face, followed by students in years 5, 6, 7, 10 and 11, who poured back onto school grounds on Friday.
The staggered return continued this week with years 3, 4, 8 and 9 also heading back to campus.
Rabbi James Kennard, principal of Mount Scopus Memorial College, said, “We were delighted to see our preps back last week, and their smiles and enthusiasm showed clearly how happy they were to be in school where they belong.”
He added that the school is looking forward to the return of all students “at least part-time, and to November, when we can return to some sort of normality”.
Thanking staff for their tireless efforts in ensuring that students’ learning and wellbeing needs were met throughout the pandemic, as well as parents for their enduring support, Marc Light, principal of The King David School, said, “It is with great relief that we finally welcome all of our students back to our campuses.
“We congratulate our students on their adaptability and resilience and look forward to a positive remainder of the school year,” he added.
Cherylyn Skewes, principal of Leibler Yavneh College said the announcement of the return to classrooms was welcomed by everyone but especially by students. “Seeing their excited, smiling faces as the preps, year 1 and 2 students arrive at drop off last week highlights the importance of face to face learning,” she commented.
Sholem Aleichem College principal Helen Greenberg noted the school will be focusing on wellbeing in the coming months as students return to campus. While she said, “It is completely normal for parents and students to feel both anxious and excited about the transition back to on-site learning,” she insisted that she is confident that the school “village” will work together to “deal with what the coming weeks bring with the same calm strength that has got us through the past 18 months”.
Also excited to see children returning to campus, learning and socialising with their friends, Jeremy Stowe-Lindner, principal of Bialik College commented, “After a best-in-class online provision, the Digital Bialik period is coming to an end, and we are inspired by and grateful to our teachers for offering a full curriculum.
“We look forward to continuing the ‘Bialik magic’ with the Bialik family,” he added.
On a return to school at Yeshivah–Beth Rivkah Colleges, principal Rabbi Elisha Greenbaum looked to Moses, who was described as “the greatest prophet who ever lived, who God knew face-to-face” (Devarim 34:10) to explain the importance of in-person learning. “Rashi explains that the opportunity to learn face-to-face engenders a sense of excitement, due to the ease of access and opportunities for personal inspiration,” he said.
While he praised students for “resilience in their commitment to their education,” he added, “they are thirsty to resume in-person learning and look forward to being greeted and supported in-person, by their dedicated teachers.”