Testing times for Year 12

The agony of isolation and the ecstasy of a return to school – hear how Macksville High HSC students are coping with life under COVID-19.

18 September 2020
Elouise Ennis and Annalise Robertson
Image: Ready for a return to normality: Macksville High School HSC students Elouise Ennis and Annalise Robertson.

For HSC students at Macksville High School, coping with COVID-19 has meant no parties, no grandparents and for Annalise Robertson no P plates.

With the majority of Year 12 students in NSW returning to school for face to face classes this week, Annalise and classmate Elouise Ennis shared their COVID insights in a school podcast with teacher Peter Joyce.

The Year 12 Macksville students had already experienced their first week back face to face with teachers after they were told they could attend after school holidays to access staff and complete practical work.

With the staged return to school in full roll-out this week, Secretary of the Department of Education Mark Scott said every HSC student would be returning to school for an average 3.5 days a week face to face.

Elouise, who lives on a property, said after being in isolation she had struggled to walk up the school stairs.

“I've been doing lots of walking and exercise, but walking up those stairs at this school is just something different,” she said in the Macksville High podcast.

“I was a bit stair un-fit but when I got to the top and saw everyone in the COLA and all the teachers it was exciting.

“To see everyone walking in it was like, it's really good to see everyone.”

Annalise agreed: “I think that was the reason I was most excited, because the novelty had really worn off with the online stuff. It's just been great to be back and, I don't know, just be face-to-face with the teachers … it's just better in person.”

Both Annalise and Elouise said being separated from their grandparents, who lived nearby, had been among the harder aspect of the lockdown laws.

“We usually have a family dinner every Sunday night with all of our cousins and aunties and uncles. You're used to having a roast every Sunday night and now it's like, "Oh". You just want to go over to Nan and Pop's and see them.”

While Annalise has also been socially distancing from her grandparents, the revelation her driving test to secure her Ps was cancelled elicited groans from Elouise.

“When that does come back that'll be a long waitlist I reckon. There'll be heaps of kids piled up,” Elouise laughed.

Macksville High School HSC students Annalise Robertson and Elouise Ennis talk with teacher Peter Joyce about returning to school and missing grandparents, parties and P plate tests during the COVID-19 lockdown.
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