Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Coronavirus: Business and technology in a pandemic

State governments launch online resources to help teaching at closed schools

Curriculum-based resources are being made available to support students learning online.

The Victorian government has launched a website to support teachers while they keep teaching students in the event schools are closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Learning from Home website has been designed to provide curriculum-based learning resources for early childhood services and primary and secondary school students. It was built up to complement existing online resources available to schools. 

In addition, the website provides advice on how teachers can communicate with students. 

It will be updated in coming weeks and will also be available to independent and Catholic schools. 

"We are preparing for every possible scenario during this outbreak to ensure Victorian students in government, independent and Catholic schools continue to learn -- that is why Learning From Home is so important," Minister for Education James Merlino said.

"Many schools already have a range of tools available to help them teach remotely, and many schools are experienced in supporting student learning online."

Similar resources are also being offered to teachers in Queensland via the state's learning@home platform.  

A Queensland Department of Education spokesperson told ZDNet that the state government has developed a two-week curriculum to help teachers which will be ready to be scaled out if forced closures are implemented.

Queensland so far has zero reported cases of COVID-19 outbreaks at schools. 

As for New South Wales, the state government is developing strategies to deal with the spread of the outbreak, should it further impact schools. 

"It already has a number of platforms in place for online learning and connectivity such as Google Suite, Microsoft Teams, and Adobe Connect,"  a spokesperson for the NSW Department of Education told ZDNet. 

"The department has access to several live streaming platforms that are capable of creating virtual classrooms for teachers and students to interact in real-time during core teaching hours.

"The technology also allows the department to create virtual assemblies and excursions to supplement the curriculum and connect students to galleries, museums, research institutes, science events, and zoos."

All public schools around the country remain open, despite some independent schools having already preemptively closed their doors. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday the National Cabinet has agreed that "pre-emptive closures are not proportionate or effective as a public health intervention to prevent community transmission of COVID-19 at this time".