Arrangements for Queensland schools in term two announced

QTU President's comment 13 April 2020

The Queensland Government has this morning announced that most students will learn from home for at least the first five weeks of term two. Supported by enhanced expectations for health and safety for everyone working and learning in schools, the government has determined that every student who can should stay at home and learn at home.

Schools will again be “open” only for children of essential frontline workers and vulnerable children. The new arrangements will be reviewed at the end of week three and a decision made at that time on the arrangements for the second half of term two.

QTU Senior Officers have been involved in detailed negotiations with the Department of Education across the end of last week and over the weekend.

A comprehensive set of guidelines will be published for all schools outlining key features of the implementation arrangements, including:

  • students of essential frontline workers and vulnerable children will attend school and be supervised while doing the same self-directed work as students learning at home
  • school staff, unless they are vulnerable due to medical conditions, will continue to teach from the classroom to ensure continuity of learning for students
  • schools and teachers will continue to be the primary point of contact for students and parents and will set the curriculum, teaching and learning programs
  • all vulnerable workers or those workers living with vulnerable people must work from home
  • new provisions enabling ANYONE holding a medical certificate requiring them to work from home to be able to work from home, i.e. without being required to take sick leave
  • the provisions of the Pandemic Directive will still apply where appropriate
  • education employees will now be included in the test criteria for COVID-19 so they can be tested if they display flu-like symptoms
  • strict adherence to the 4 square metres rule in all classrooms, e.g. there must be no more than 12 students with one teacher in a 52 square metre classroom, and smaller classroom spaces will have smaller numbers of students
  • strict adherence to the 4 square metre rule in all staff rooms
  • strict adherence to sanitation recommendations, including hand washing etc (concerns about supplies may still exist), and ongoing enhanced cleaning arrangements
  • all staff meetings to be held online or by teleconference
  • temporary teachers, including those employed under I4S, to have ongoing employment
  • requirements for a pool of casual teachers to be available to provide support in schools as required by staff absence and based on student attendance
  • alternative student attendance recording to reflect the priority placed on learning from home
  • assessment and reporting to be adjusted to reflect the amended curriculum

The QTU Executive will meet tomorrow morning to consider the government announcement.

The full announcement will be further analysed, and a full report provided to members on Tuesday 14 April.

Kevin Bates
QTU President

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