In classrooms with mostly empty desks, teachers Bonnie Cooper and Harley Young have had to get creative.
The Launceston Church Grammar School teachers are among many teachers in Tasmania and Australia who are finding creative ways to transfer their classrooms to the virtual page.
With the majority of students learning while at home under the supervision of their parents, Mr Young has found a unique way to keep kids plugged in.
Enter stage right, Mr Young's new persona - Happy Dog, who has been creating enticing Youtube videos to teach Mandarin to his young charges.
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"I created a song and a dance, to try and engage kids and teach basic numerals," Mr Young said.
While creative personas and puppets are no strangers to Mr Young's Mandarin classroom, he said he wanted to try and find a new digital medium to share his zany ideas with his students.
"I have a lot of puppets at home and these are the kinds of things I usually do in class, but I have been experimenting with different ways digitally to share them and hopefully give the students a bit of a laugh," he said.
Students have been challenged to share a photo or video back with their teacher, either watching the video themselves or completing the modules.
Mr Young said the response so far had been fantastic and he was absolutely planning more videos for his pupils in the future.
"I am having a lot of fun experimenting with digital platforms but I still wanted it to be a foundation for learning," he said.
Launceston Church Grammar School transitioned to online learning a few weeks ago to cope with the escalating COVID-19 pandemic but it was something that Bonnie Cooper did not think she would have to deal with her first year out from graduation.
Miss Cooper is one of Grammar's grade 5 teachers and has had to teach her entire class how to use a new digital platform to deliver their learning at home.
She said the platform was pretty easy to use but it had resulted in a lot more work for herself as she was engaging with students individually rather than as a group.
"Each time one of the students completes a module or a task I will message them or respond to them with feedback," she said.
Miss Cooper has helped to design her class' learning modules, with the aim on making it as seamless as possible for parents.
"We want it to be easy so they [pupils] can complete the modules relatively unsupervised," she said.
Miss Cooper said most of her pupils had taken up the program really well and they had been using its features such as videos, voice memos and text to continue learning.
"We post up a morning message each day, which is similar to what we would post on the white board in the classroom and each module has been designed to release at certain times of the day, so they don't get overwhelmed," she said.
While it's a creative solution to the unfolding COVID-19 restrictions, the aim of the platform was to keep things as normal as possible for her class, Miss Cooper said.
The school has transitioned to mostly online learning but some students of essential workers are still at the school and all teachers are still working from campus.
- If you know of any other teachers who are going the extra mile for their students, email education reporter Caitlin Jarvis at firstname.lastname@example.org
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