Ballarat private schools will approach parents with "compassion" if they have lost their jobs or are struggling to pay fees during the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement to parents last week, St Patrick's College acting principal Stephen Hill said "no child will be denied ongoing enrolment due to the inability to pay fees".
This was echoed by Ballarat Grammar principal Adam Heath.
"We've said that the board's intention is that no family should leave the school between now and the end of 2020, we'll partner with them to work through any financial hardship," he said.
Ballarat Catholic diocese vicar-general Father Kevin Maloney said schools were being "encouraged to be sensitive to people's needs, particularly when parents have been laid off".
Ballarat Clarendon College principal David Shepherd said in a statement the board and executive had "completed extensive work over the last few weeks to ensure we are able to appropriately, responsibly and compassionately support our community, particularly those parents whose lives have been upturned as a consequence of business closures and redundancies".
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"We will work with our families to safeguard the education of their children during this challenging time," he said.
It's one less stressor for families across the district, with unprecedented levels of unemployment or underemployment across several sectors.
Schools are currently on holidays, with Victoria bringing dates forward, though an official announcement on whether term will continue after Easter is expected this week.
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Mr Hill said staff are working on contingencies to keep students engaged in learning.
"I am aware that some parents will have lost significant employment or business income due to coronavirus," he said.
"The college's immediate priority is to provide as much stability as possible for your child and, with this in mind, we are committed to providing fast, flexible and confidential assistance to help you with managing your school fee commitments for 2020."
Mr Heath said the school was taking on a "village mentality", and help lines and foundations were available to parents.
"When things are difficult in the community, the village looks out for each other, and that's certainly what we intend to do," he said.
"When I wrote to families saying we're in a time of hardship, a number wrote back saying they'd pay fees early, and we've had a significant donation from a family to support others."
Grammar was one of the first schools to close its doors and shift to online learning, which has created big changes for students and staff - an hour of online content takes about two to three hours for teachers to prepare, he said, and schools would not be able to simply apply their regular timetable online.
"We have a need to really support staff to work together, and make sure we're distributing the workload with preparing learning," he said.
"We also need to maintain, and even increase, the amount of personal contact for students with teachers."
While the shift was uncomfortable for many, he added, there could be some advantages for students who were well-supported.
"Students are having to learn skills that are golden skills for modern workplaces - learning to manage themselves independently, self-motivate, avoid distraction, time manage, it's incredible preparation into the future," he said.
"There's real opportunities in this for unique learning outcomes, and it'll provide some really strong generic skills - it's no substitute for the relationship between child and teacher, that's fundamental on so many levels - but at the same time, there's some benefits in the way we structure the learning ... to take advantage of that online environment."
As well as maintaining learning, parents had a duty not to "catastrophise" the situation for students, he said - this could also lead to more positive outcomes.
"If we can navigate this in the right way for our students, of course they will be more resilient," he said.
"If we catastrophise this and make them anxious at every step, they will fear adversity - if we step through with reassurance, they'll approach this with reassurance."
The school term is set to resume next Wednesday, April 15, depending on government advice.
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