Students welcomed back to St Mary’s in colourful way

By Alex Gretgrix

AS ALMOST 300,000 students returned to school across Victoria yesterday, youngsters at St Mary's Primary School in Echuca were welcomed back in a special way.

Almost 100 per cent of prep, grade 1 and 2 students returned to face-to-face learning and were greeted with a "welcome back" sign decorated with yellow ribbons.

“After being in isolation for so long, I thought it would be lovely to welcome back the students in a special way,” St Mary's Primary School social and emotional wellbeing teacher Judy Stewart said.

“A few weeks ago I contacted Phillipa Addicott, who helps with school productions, and she agreed to help me with the ribbons.”

The yellow ribbons show support for returned soldiers in the past and are also a symbol of hope.

“We want our students to know things will get better as we continue through the pandemic,” Ms Stewart said.

Yesterday marked the first wave of students returning to face-to-face learning with around 257,000 government school students from prep, grade 1 and 2, VCE and VCAL, and specialist schools getting back in the classroom.

Schools are implementing staggered drop-off and pick-ups to reduce the number of adults around school grounds at any one time, as well as staggered break times to manage the number of students mixing across year levels.

Despite these changes, students were happy to be out of the house and back in class.

“Our students were eager to be back at school on the first morning and it will be great when we can have all our students here on site,” Ms Stewart said.