HEN has received a response to the questions asked at VHEAC about home education group meetings. The entire text is available below, but the key point is that:
The department acknowledged the importance of groups to our community, but due to concerns about the mixing of households and group gatherings the DHSS advises that we will still be considered a community group, and unable to meet in an unrestricted format until Victoria moves to the last step of the roadmap.
We understand that this will be extremely disappointing news for those families who rely on group learning and social opportunities, however the general restriction changes announced today do at least allow for an increase in social interactions.
In Melbourne, groups of up to 10 people from two families may meet outside within 25km of their home, which improves the situation for larger families, and those who do not know anyone within 5km.
The lifting of the time limit that we may be outside means that there is potential for multiple park meets per day – or for two families to hang out for the whole day. As playgrounds and skateparks are open, there’s also potential to incorporate visits to those places into our days. As the only other people with school aged children who are likely to be there during the week are other HE families, that also allows for some socialisation in an unorganised format.
From Sunday 1st November (or possibly sooner) families will be able to have one other family from within their 25km radius visit their home per day, which will allow for some educational activities that are hard to do outside. Sport/dance classes will be able to recommence (within guidelines). Up to 10 people from any number of households will be able to meet outdoors, which may allow for some classes/activities recommence informally outside, particularly if adults can take responsibility for kids from a number of households who are dropped off.
Regional Victorians are a step ahead, and may have one family visit their home per day from tomorrow onwards.
For those who have HE connections in place within 25km, life should be a little easier. For those of you who are new to HE it’s a little harder. If you are looking to connect, then sharing your location or radius, the age and interests of your kids should enable you to find people who are willing to arrange an outdoor meet up. Hopefully some of these new friendships will transition to in person visits once allowed, and mean that once groups do return, you have some initial connections to make attending less daunting.
Email received 17 Oct so note the updated restrictions above
Thank you for your attendance in last week’s VHEAC meeting. I note that one of the action items from the meeting was for DET to provide our official response in relation to the resumption of home education groups.
As you know, on 6 September 2020, the Premier of Victoria and the Victorian Chief Health Officer announced a roadmap for easing coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions in Melbourne and regional Victoria. Information regarding the roadmap for easing coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions can be found at:
The Department understands the importance of home education groups to those who are undertaking home schooling, but this must be done safely and in line with the health advice to protect our students, teachers and the Victorian community. That is why the Victorian Government and the Department have followed, and will continue to follow, the advice from the Victorian Chief Health Officer on how to keep our schools and communities safe.
The Department of Health and Human Services has advised that home education groups cannot resume in an unrestricted format until Victoria moves to the last step in the roadmap. Face-to-face learning in schools is considered to present a lower risk compared to home education groups due to the additional controls, operational guidelines and enhanced cleaning protocols within schools. Home education group activities that involve the mixing of households and group gatherings are considered higher risk, particularly if this takes place inside the home.
In accordance with the roadmap, home education groups are permissible with the following limitations:
Regional Victoria (third step): Up to 5 people from a maximum of two households can meet indoors at home and groups up to 10 people can meet outdoors.
Metropolitan Melbourne (second step): Single parents with dependent children under 18 can form a ‘single social bubble’ with one other person to meet indoors at home. Up to 5 people from a maximum of two households can meet outside in a public place for a maximum of 2 hours per day (can be split into 2 sessions) and within 5km from home. Babies under 12 months of age are not included in the cap.
The Department will continue to follow the advice of Victoria’s Chief Health Officer and make any further announcements in line with the most up-to-date health data. We will also continue to ensure all Victorian students have additional support, if needed, to address the disruption caused by Coronavirus (COVID-19) this year.