No. 11-21, 31 March 2021 | DOWNLOAD PDF
To QTU Members
31 March 2021 : Update on Greater Brisbane COVID-19 lockdown
The situation in the south-east corner of the state is evolving rapidly, and we appreciate that some of you may be feeling anxious during this time of uncertainty. We want to assure you that the Queensland Teachers’ Union (QTU) is committed to protecting the health and safety of its 48,000 members, and we will continue to update you as information becomes available. You should also regularly check coronavirus updates on the Queensland Health website.
Queensland Health advice
Queensland Heath has updated the list of close and casual contact venues overnight, following extensive contact tracing. Members are encouraged to keep up to date with this information, follow the health directions to get tested and self-isolate if they have been to any of the listed venues, and get tested immediately if they have any symptoms.
Implications for school holidays
The Premier has advised that a decision about the Greater Brisbane lockdown will be made on Thursday morning. With the school holidays commencing after school finishes on Thursday 1 April, the QTU has asked the department to provide clear, timely advice to members regarding its expectations and obligations over the holidays.
The QTU recommends that members residing outside of the Greater Brisbane area consider whether travel is necessary and avoid travelling to the region unless essential. If you are travelling, please be conscious of the lockdown areas and follow the advice of the Chief Health Officer (CHO).
The QTU will continue to meet with the Department of Education (DoE) on a daily basis regarding the arrangements for the rest of this term. Discussions have commenced regarding scenario planning for Term 2. Should alternative arrangements be made, or other urgent matters arise, the QTU will advise members via SMS message. It is essential that the department gives as much notice as possible of any changes to operational arrangements for Term 2.
Requirement to wear masks
The QTU’s position is clear – it is a member’s choice whether they wear a mask in any given situation (including in the classroom) if they believe it is necessary for them to feel safe at work. This position has been supported in the latest advice from the Director-General (DG), after continued QTU advocacy.
Instrumental music teachers
Instrumental music teachers cannot be used to supervise classes other than instrumental music. The Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) has advised the QTU that a return-to-teach module or program would need to be completed before instrumental music teachers could undertake supervisory duties. The QTU continues to pursue the broader matter of full QCT registration of instrumental music teachers.
The QTU has been made aware by several supply teacher members that the Teacher Relief and Contract Employment Register (TRACER) has been cancelling supply teacher bookings (on the advice of schools) despite written advice from the DG that “where pre-arranged teacher and teacher aide casual bookings have been confirmed, schools are required to honour these arrangements to ensure continuity and supervision for children of essential workers”. The QTU has raised this issue as a matter of urgency with the department.
Updates will continue
The QTU will continue to advise members as the situation develops.
Members who are concerned for their physical, psychological or reputational safety should speak with their Union Representative and contact the QTU.
We will also update the COVID-19 information on the QTU website and social media as the situation changes.
The QTU encourages members to prioritise their health and wellbeing during this difficult time. Over the Easter holidays, please do take the opportunity to have a restful break.
Authorised by Kate Ruttiman, General Secretary, Queensland Teachers' Union
21 Graham Street, Milton, QLD, Australia, 4064