The last few years have been a lot. Between global pandemics and numerous natural disasters, students have had to learn to adapt quickly, which is going to make the 2020 to 2025 crop of high school graduates some of the most resilient in history.
By now, there’s a good chance you already know the procedure for what to do when faced with an increasingly inevitable natural disaster during your final few years of school. But if not, here’s a couple of steps to follow:
- Protect yourself first
And your family. Your safety comes before exams, assessments, and everything else. If it’s not safe to travel on the roads, then don’t. If you can’t make it to an exam without putting yourself at risk, then don’t go. It’s that simple. To be honest, learning to protect your own safety is an essential life skill, and you’ll be responsible for keeping yourself safe at work, so this is just good practice.
- Contact your school
You can send an email – chances are if it’s not safe for you to be at school then it’s probably not safe for your teachers either, so there may be no one there to pick up the phone. Let them know in the email that you have made the decision not to attend because of a safety concern or because you are unable to get there (if, for example, you are flooded in), and ask them what you need to do next. If the issue is likely to have affected more than just you (ie. bushfire in your local area), then they may have already sent out an email telling you what to do next, in which case you should follow their instructions.
- Check if you need to fill in a form or make a formal application
Even if you’ve been affected by the same natural disaster as everyone else, you may need to fill in a formal application or risk being unable to retake the exam or get an extension for the assessment. If you’re not sure, ask.
- You may need official evidence
And this may need to meet their requirements. So it’s not enough to just say that there was a flood in your area, you may need to prove that your home was inundated with a statement from your insurance company, for example, or you may need to get a stat dec and show that the roads between your home and school were closed on the dates in question. If you’re not sure what you need, then ask.
- Take the rescheduled exam, or make a note of your extension date
This is important – it’s not enough to just fill in a form, you’ll probably still need to complete the assessment piece at some point. Be proactive, work out what the new procedure is, and write it down – it’s easy to get confused when things have been moved about.
Find out more about what to do if you’re in Year 11 and 12 for your state or territory here:
- New South Wales
- Australian Capital Territory
- Western Australia
- South Australia
- Northern Territory
You can also read more about supporting someone else affected by a natural disaster, or roles in disaster relief.