CENTRAL Victoria's prep to year 12 students have returned to remote learning after COVID-19 restrictions tightened across the state last week due to the pandemic's second wave.
Stage three restrictions came into effect in regional Victoria from 11.59pm on on Wednesday last week.
Remote learning started for students that same day.
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Bendigo's Catherine McAuley College year 12 students Tania Hutchinson and Charlotte Brook share their experiences.
The move back into remote learning was certainly a shock, coming without warning and with everything escalating for regional Victoria in the space of a weekend.
I feel we are better prepared this time, as we have our routines and practices already in place from our last bout of remote learning.
However, this has particularly halted the year for us year 12s.
As the lockdown will last until at least mid-September before the conditions are reviewed, we will have barely a week of term three left, that's if we do return to school.
For year 12s, virtually all our "schoolwork" and assessments are done by the end of term three and there are only a few weeks of term four for revision before we commence exams.
Of course, some of our work has been pushed back to be completed at the beginning of term four but, the reality is, we don't have much time left at school.
It is saddening to think that the last day at school could very well have been our last proper day of just being at school and learning with our friends.
For me personally, I will be missing out on the normal experiences of even more very exciting events with my friends and family, including a production with my theatre company and my 18th birthday.
We are all trying to make the most of this time though, keeping in contact with each other and finding all manner of ways to stay positive and look to the future.
We have no idea what the rest of this year will bring, but for now we will appreciate what we do have in the present.
I know that there was always a possibility of returning to remote learning but nevertheless when it was announced so soon it still came as a shock.
I had already been in remote learning for a week due to school closure for deep cleaning.
Term three is especially important for year 12 students, it is our last full term.
We begin university applications; we are blessed through technology that we can still be shown how to complete application by video demonstrations and live streams.
In term three we finish Unit 4 subjects and all our final School-Assessed Coursework and assignments.
It is difficult without the support of friends during this stressful time as we can't study together.
We still attempt to study together via Facetime but most often we just end up talking.
I feel this time I am more prepared for remote learning, as we have already completed it before.
Teachers are very supportive and understanding; we still have stories shared between us, often around technology issues, such as when a teacher clicks out of the live class and everyone just sits there.
I find interesting that while in some of my face-to-face classes we are noise and chatty, during remote learning we are all quiet. Sometimes teachers are asking us to make noise and talk!
The way we have missed out on most school events during our final year is upsetting, but it is the same experience for all Victorian Certificate of Education students.
There is a worry among students about our final results; are they are going to be the best that we could have possibly achieved?
With the return to lockdown many people missed out on 18th birthday celebrations that were postponed from the first lockdown; instead now finding new ways to celebrate via online platforms.
Some have had to delay getting their licenses.
A benefit of remote learning is that can move through work quicker.
The downside is that it is a vital time for us and we cannot get the full range of support that would have been given if we were at school, such as using all the resources for VCE subjects in the school library.
However, this is partially made up for through additional online platforms to use as extra study material.
Upon return to term four, if at school, we have only four weeks of classes.
There is the General Achievement Test to sit, which has been moved twice now due to remote learning.
I study a language, so I have a 15-minute language oral to do within my first two weeks of returning to school.
It is hard because we don't have the extra practices that usually happen after school, but I practise with my friends.
We video call and help one another, but it is not the same.
I know that it will be stressful with such a turnaround in time, but after everything this year had thrown at us, I know that I can handle anything now.
The one thing I am still hoping for is to have our graduation in person and not virtual.