No. 09-21, 29 March 2021 | DOWNLOAD PDF
TO: QTU MEMBERS
Greater Brisbane in COVID-19 lockdown
Following the Premier’s announcement this morning of a three-day lockdown for Greater Brisbane (Brisbane, Ipswich, Redlands, Logan and Moreton City Councils) commencing at 5pm this afternoon, the Queensland Teachers’ Union (QTU) has met with the Department of Education to discuss the implications for schools.
It is the expectation of the department that schools will be open for the children of essential workers only. Consequently, all school staff, including teachers, will be expected to attend school unless they are vulnerable or live with a vulnerable person. Schools are then best placed to make the appropriate decisions about supervision etc.
Schools should also ensure that there is sufficient soap, hand sanitiser and other hygiene equipment available.
All schools outside of the Greater Brisbane area will remain open for all students.
The Department of Health advise if you have any COVID-19 symptoms (e.g. fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose) you should isolate and get tested. The Department of Health’s website will show your nearest COVID-19 testing centre.
As per health advice physical distancing continues to be required between adults. Members are not required to wear masks in classrooms. However, masks should be worn in situations where you are unable to maintain a physical distance of 1.5m between you and another adult.
Parent and visitor access to schools should once again be restricted.
What if I or my colleagues have been in the Greater Brisbane area since 20 March 2021?
Anyone who has been in Brisbane since 20 March 2021 is required to isolate for the duration of the lockdown. You should contact your school leader to see if you are able to work remotely.
What if I live in the lockdown area but work at a school outside of it?
If you live in the lockdown area and work outside of it, you must remain in the lockdown area. Health advice is that you cannot travel outside of the lockdown area.
Conversely, anyone who lives outside the lockdown area should avoid travelling into Greater Brisbane.
If you are in either of these situations, the normal arrangements of potential attendance at another school site or working from home should be discussed with your school leader.
Are we expected to deliver online learning until the end of Term 1?
There is no expectation to deliver online learning. The Premier announced that the school holidays will start early for students in Greater Brisbane. However, supervision of the children of essential workers is required.
Do we need to keep student attendance records?
For the period of the school closure student absences should be recorded as attendance not required.
What is happening with senior assessment periods?
Some schools will have scheduled exam blocks of assessment periods for this week. It is preferable that these be rescheduled to when all students return.
Advice from the QCAA regarding senior assessments will be provided to schools today.
What does this mean for travel over the April holidays?
The QTU will be meeting with the department again tomorrow and will discuss the implications for biosecurity and other communities should members travel to Greater Brisbane over the holidays and the lockdown is extended.
NB: the advice about not travelling into the lockdown area unless it is essential to do so applies to members commencing holidays on Thursday.
TAFE in lockdown in Greater Brisbane
TAFE Queensland will close all campuses within Greater Brisbane for the duration of the lockdown, with the exception of a small number of high priority practical teaching sessions related to qualification sign off. If you are one of the members working in this area, your manager will discuss your attendance with you.
All other programs will be delivered remotely, with teaching staff working from home.
Public health directive extended
The Chief Health Officer extended the public health directive regarding COVID-19 for a further 90 days. This directive applies to vulnerable workers. Consequently, the current arrangements relating to vulnerable workers should continue until 29 June.
QTU operations during lockdown
To assist schools and to comply with the lockdown orders, the QTU will:
- cease school visits in the Greater Brisbane area for the remainder of Term 1
- continue to provide advice and support for members through QTAD, the website and online meetings
- move any meetings, training and professional development scheduled in the Greater Brisbane area this week to an online platform (Teams or Zoom) where practicable, or postpone them until there can be face to face meetings again (NB: if the training is to be delivered outside the lockdown area by a QTU officer or someone from Greater Brisbane, this will also be delivered online or postponed)
- keep members updated through Newsflashes, social media and the website.
To remain informed about your working conditions and COVID-19, don’t forget that QTU dues should be paid by 31 March. Our membership team will be working all week to assist you in renewing your membership and helping others to join the QTU. You can update your membership details via the MyQTU portal.
We’ve been here before
This arrangement is like that which occurred immediately prior to the Term 1 holidays last year. QTU members met the uncertainty and decisions about lockdown with agility. We know that you will be able to do this again.
Authorised by Kate Ruttiman, General Secretary, Queensland Teachers' Union
21 Graham Street, Milton, QLD, Australia, 4064