No. 07-20, 23 March 2020
To QTU Members
QTU demands Queensland state schools be closed to students from Wednesday
QTU Executive met this morning to consider the most recent decisions of the National Cabinet and its impact on QTU members and schools.
At the meeting , it was clear that Executive has lost confidence in the decision-making around the continued operation of schools and TAFE during the coronavirus pandemic.
It beggars belief that schools and TAFE remain open while a whole range of other businesses close. There is no reference to the safety of teachers, school leaders, and other school employees in discussion of this issue, nor any apparent understanding of the practicality of operating in these education settings (e.g. social distancing). Schools continue to operate without promised hygiene and cleaning products.
Executive calls on the Minister for Education to adopt measures similar to those of the other Eastern Seaboard states.
Executive resolved that:
- all schools be closed to students (including special schools) on Wednesday 25 March
- measures should be adopted to enable vulnerable employees to work from home effective Tuesday 24 March
- parents should be encouraged to keep students at home from Tuesday 24 March
- schools should be empowered to send students home and require them to stay home if they are displaying flu like symptoms
- the Queensland Government must respond to the genuine health and safety concerns of QTU members in special schools and SEPs
- the Queensland Government should provide teachers with additional student-free days from the closure of schools until 3 April to enable them to prepare for term two, including developing resources to support student learning on alternative platforms, noting that these days may be worked from home
- the Queensland Government should provide advice and guidance to QTU members living and working in remote communities in relation to their ability to leave community, return to community and work in other locations; as well as issues of teacher travel during the autumn holidays
- the Queensland Government should provide certainty regarding the process of decision making for the commencement of term two, including timely consultation with the QTU
- the QTU expresses solidarity with members in the hospitality, transport, entertainment and other industries facing significant periods of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
QTU Executive will reconvene at 5pm today (Monday 23 March) to consider whether the agreed protocols sufficiently address members concerns.
Authorised by Kate Ruttiman, General Secretary, Queensland Teachers' Union
21 Graham Street, Milton, QLD, Australia, 4064