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Oatley West pupils forge tracks around Australia during lockdown

Oatley West Public School pupils are walking around Australia - virtually - in a whole-school challenge to keep kids connected during lockdown.

The school is one of numerous in the St George area coming up with ingenious ways to hook children into learning while at home.

The Virtual Step Challenge - endorsed by the school's very own mascot, Oatley Bear - invites families to join the bear on a virtual trip and new destinations, such as the Twelve Apostles in Princetown, Victoria, are being revealed regularly.

Families are asked to track their steps during the week and enter their results via an online form. They are asked to predict how far their combined steps will take them around the coastline each week, and points are given to the family that gets the closest.

Oatley West Assistant Principal Julia Dimovska said the challenge was designed to boost morale and mental health during the lockdown, as well as to increase physical health and wellbeing.

After one week of counting their steps, the families of Oatley West Public School have walked the equivalent distance to walking to Adelaide.

After one week of counting their steps, the families of Oatley West Public School have walked the equivalent distance to walking to Adelaide.

"It has an educational aspect of travelling around Australia, we'll be looking at some conversions with kilometres, we'll be incorporating some fun facts and the Aboriginal heritage of whatever location we land in," Ms Dimovska said.

Oatley MP Mark Coure is on board to support the challenge, donating a $100 voucher for the family that amasses the most steps.

Ms Dimovska said the school staff, including principal Mr Nash, were working hard to keep the school community together in a COVID-safe way.

Facebook has become an important tool during the pandemic, helping share ideas and involve families.

Another recent initiative posted to the school's social media was a whole-school fitness challenge which asked families to wear their favourite footy jersey and login to a Zoom fitness class.

Another asked families to share what learning meant to them for Education Week.

For Are You OK? Day, families were encouraged to post photos of themselves wearing the official colour, yellow.