16 March 2020
COVID-19: Parent/teacher interviews
While a school’s duty to conduct parent/teacher interviews has not yet been directly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, it is worth considering whether they should still be going ahead in the light of current events.
The Education Act (2006) requires schools to provide parents with two opportunities to meet with teachers face to face each year. One of these opportunities may be in the form of a parent/teacher interview evening where interviews are conducted face-to-face.
However, the National Cabinet has now advised that non-essential gatherings should be reconsidered - it is the view of the QTU that parent-teacher interviews constitute just such a non-essential gathering, and that, ideally, they should be postponed until later in the year. Alternatively, schools might suggest that parents discuss their child’s progress via telephone or web conferencing.
If interviews do go ahead, there are a number of simple personal actions that can help reduce the risk of transmission. These include:
- avoiding unnecessary physical contact (handshakes etc)
- staying one to 1.5 metres away from the parents
- washing your hands regularly with soap and water
- using hand sanitiser where it is available
- covering your nose and mouth when sneezing
- using a tissue and throwing it away after use
- avoiding touching your eyes, face and mouth
- washing down/cleaning your workspace after each interview.
Parents should be warned not to attend if they have the following symptoms:
- sore throat
- difficulty breathing.
While most people displaying these symptoms are suffering from a cold or another respiratory illness – not COVID-19 – it’s not worth taking the chance.
If you have the symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, you should not conduct the interview and should self-isolate as soon as possible.
For the latest information visit https://www.qtu.asn.au/coronavirus
Authorised by Kate Ruttiman, General Secretary, Queensland Teachers' Union
21 Graham Street, Milton, QLD, Australia, 4064