|Wimmera Development Association is seeking volunteers to participate in a study about the impacts of working and learning from home during the coronavirus health crisis.
Health advice moved the operation of many businesses and organisations into homes in March, while Victorian schools delivered education for many students remotely when term two resumed in April.
Wimmera Development Association is the peak advocacy body behind many major, emerging projects in the region. It supports businesses, promotes economic development opportunities to investors and is a key link between industry and governments, lobbying for improved infrastructure and for regional priority issues.
The association’s executive director Chris Sounness said the study aimed to understand and document the challenges of this period.
“Many children are feeling that it’s very hard for them to get a clear understanding of expectations while they are learning from home, they aren’t receiving the feedback they want and the structure, or lack of structure, is challenging,” Mr Sounness said.
“Parents are often trying to work full-time while providing a learning environment for their children, and they feel they are letting people down when they make choices about work or their child’s schooling. “Some children are totally disengaged. Then there are some children who are finding remote learning far better environment for them to learn. One size does not fit all.
“When the time comes that restrictions have eased, we need to ensure people feel supported, and we need to understand what resources the Wimmera and southern Mallee needs to put in place to ensure everyone can achieve the best they can.”
Mr Sounness said the study would investigate the impacts of this period on mothers.“Families are struggling to get the workload right when both parents are working from home and the children are learning from home – how do they support their kids and deliver outcomes for work at the same time?” he said.
“Many mothers are feeling an increased burden compared to a normal working environment and that has significant personal and flow-on impacts to families and the wider community.”
Mr Sounness said participation in the study was voluntary and responses would remain confidential. People must be involved in learning from home or supervising learning from home to be eligible.
He said people could text their first name and a contact phone number to 0491 628 338 to register their interest. Participants will be contacted to arrange an interview, lasting about 20 minutes.
The study is one element of the work Wimmera Development Association is undertaking to address existing needs across the Wimmera and southern Mallee and the issues the coronavirus health challenge has exposed or exacerbated.
Mr Sounness said people seeking assistance could phone Uniting’s Wimmera on 1800 195 114. Students can speak to their teacher or school’s wellbeing officer for learning guidance or contact eheadspace on 1800 650 890 for mental health support. In an emergency, contact 000.