What to do when you’re faced with a disaster

There’s never a good time for an emergency situation to happen, but that’s life sometimes.

So what happens if you have an accident or become seriously ill, you have gastro when you’re supposed to be sitting an exam, or a close friend or relative passes away. Perhaps a natural disaster occurs or is forecast.


You are the priority

Firstly remember that you’ll never be penalised for events that are beyond your control, and that the most important thing is to take care of yourself.

If you can’t be at school or an exam:

  • get the help you need
  • Make sure you or your parents or carers contact the school as soon as possible to let them know what’s happening. They’ll want to know that you’re ok and start making alternative arrangements for you
  • You’ll need to provide medical certificates to your school, especially in the case of missing an exam. Your GP or hospital should be able to provide you with one

In the event that you’re already in an exam when you start to feel unwell:

  • Let the moderator know. They’ll arrange for you to leave the room and school can help you get the help you need.
  • Obtain a medical certificate and give it to the school, the exam board may use an internal mark as a reference to calculate a replacement exam mark

Should you or a loved one experience a mental health crisis, including a bereavement.  The steps to follow are the same as those for other kinds of illness.

  • Seek professional or medical help
  • Let your school know what’s happened and keep them updated.
  • You’ll also need to get medical certificates in these instances, so that exams can be rescheduled or alternative arrangements made to get you back on track with your studies.


Educational disadvantage

If you’re in Years 11 and 12 and something happens that negatively impacts on your schooling and consequently your ATAR. E.g. a chronic illness, a learning disability, a death or other difficult family situation, mental illness or any other big upheaval in your life. Most universities and tertiary admissions centres will have a process to make allowances for this.

Get more information from the relevant body about the application process and any bonus points that you may be eligible for.


Emergency situations during school time

From lock downs because there is something or someone that could be potentially dangerous on the school grounds, to fire alarms going off during lessons or exams – your school will have emergency procedures in place.

You’ll no doubt have practised drills, but if you can’t remember what you’re supposed to do, remain calm and follow the instructions you’ll be given by your teachers and other school staff.

Once any potential danger has passed, then you’ll probably just have to go back to class and carry on with your day.

In the really unlikely event that returning to class isn’t possible, your school will let you know what’s going to happen and contact your parents or carers to update them. They’ll always ensure you’re safe.


Disasters outside of school hours

If there’s a bushfire, cyclone or other natural disaster near your home or school, (or that is predicted to affect those areas), your school will advise your parents if they’ll be open and the protocols in place for if there’s any change.

In all cases, if it’s not safe for you to travel, or you cannot get to school – call the office if possible and wait until it’s safe to sort out what can be done about any missed work or exams.


Always contact your school for advice

No matter what happens, keeping an open line of communication with your school will allow them the best opportunity for them to help you, and do what’s best for your health and wellbeing.

They’ll always have up to date information about the steps you’ll need to take and help you implement any action that you’ll need to undertake.

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