The outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) and the virus has now spread to each State and Territory in Australia. To help contain the spread of COVID-19 a significant number of public, Catholic and independent schools have implemented home-based, online and offline learning.
It is already clear that nationally, children and young people are experiencing learning losses. This means that there will not be the expected cognitive gains for these students over the period of learning at home. These losses will cause a delay in cognitive gain and achievement in some students and result in others being lost to the education system. The impacts are particularly evident in:
- the early years, which are critical years for learning, with an established body of research demonstrating the return on investments made in these years;
- vulnerable students for whom learning loss is difficult to recover;
- students who are at risk of disengaging or who have disengaged, noting that the longer they are away from school the higher the likelihood that they will never adjust or re-engage;
- students from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds; and
- students undertaking VET subjects who are unable to do their practical or workplace-based components.