Q&A: How return to school will work

 

AS schools prepare for Kindy, Prep, Year 1, 11 and 12 students to go back to class next week, there has been confusion around how it will work.

With just junior years and senior school students to school on Monday, parents will be restricted from entering school grounds and classrooms, while schools must ensure social distancing between staff and parents, and at pick-up and drop-off areas and staggered start times and lunch breaks.

Assemblies, sport, excursions and camps and inter-school activities are all still cancelled for the remainder of term two.

Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace answers your questions about returning to school. Picture: Darren England/AAP
Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace answers your questions about returning to school. Picture: Darren England/AAP

If low transmission rates continue, students in year 2 to 10 will be able to return to school from Monday, May 25, pending a decision on May 15.

But Education Minister Grace Grace yesterday said some parents may want to keep their children at home due to concerns about COVID-19 and their child would not be marked as absent but as learning from home.

"In these cases, parents and carers remain responsible for their children, this includes ensuring their children stay at home and continue their learning by accessing material such as those provided for parents on the learning@home website," she said.

 

How will the staged return to school work? Will it be face-to-face teaching?

From Monday Prep, Year 1, Year 11 and Year 12 students can return to school and those at Community Kindergarten. Schools will resume regular teaching for students in these year levels. Children of essential workers, vulnerable children and those in designated indigenous communities will continue to attend school for supervision. Students in Year 2 - Year 10 will continue learning at home.

 

What is the advice for schools to manage this?

Schools are identified as safe places for students and present low risk in relation to the spread of COVID-19. Schools may consider staggering lunch breaks, start and finish times and other activities to reduce the volume of movement.

The following measures will continue to be in place in schools:

- students and staff who are unwell must not attend school

- physical distancing of 1.5 metres is required by all adults

- adults must not gather in and around school grounds, car parks, school gates and outside classrooms

- parents should use stop, drop and go or similar facilities rather than walking their children into school

- students will engage in regular effective handwashing and hygiene protocols, including regularly washing hands with soap and water or using hand sanitiser and covering coughs and sneezes

- increased cleaning frequencies of high-touch surfaces such as light switches and door handles

- technology such as video conferencing used for gatherings, meetings and assemblies

- school swimming pools remain closed and excursions, camps, trips and inter-school activities are postponed at this time.

 

Will tuckshops be open?

Schools and tuckshop providers will inform parents at a local level.

 

How many students in each class?

Schools will resume regular teaching and learning for students in these year levels.

 

What is the advice to schools about drop-off and pick-up?

Schools have been advised to plan to provide supervision and direction at entry points to the school to ensure physical distancing is maintained during student drop off and pick up.

Schools may designate drop-off/pick-up points for parents in spacious areas and may also stagger start and finish times.

It is important that parents not gather before or after school in the carpark, including at drop off and pick up time, outside classrooms or at the school gate.

 

Will sport and lunch break games and assemblies resume?

School swimming pools remain closed and excursions, camps, trips and inter-school activities are postponed at this time.

At this time, it is not planned for school concerts, musicals, assemblies to resume during Term 2 given the social nature of these events.

These restrictions will be reviewed in light of ongoing health advice.

 

What will happen to students in those year levels whose parents choose to keep them at home? Will they be marked as having an unauthorised absence?

It is acknowledged that some parents of Prep, Year 1, Year 11 and Year 12 students may still wish to keep their children home from school due to concerns about COVID-19

This is an acceptable decision and your child won't be marked as being absent, rather that they are learning from home.

In these cases, parents and carers remain responsible for their children. This includes ensuring their children stay at home and continue their learning by accessing material such as those provided for parents on the learning@home website.

As is currently the case, parents will be required to communicate with the school about their child's absence. This includes when a parent chooses to keep their child at home due to concerns about COVID-19 as well as when a child is ill. When you contact the school with this information you may also wish to discuss any support you may need to assist you with your child's learning at home.

 

Why was the decision to bring some students back to school on May 11 made before the May 15 deadline?

As Queensland is continuing to see a low number of COVID-19 cases, changes have been made to the arrangements for state schools in Term 2, 2020 to allow more students to return to school in a phased approach, as was always the intention.

The decision to return to school for these year levels is informed by advice provided by the Australian Health Principal Protection Committee and discussions with the Chief Health Officer about a phased return to regular schooling.

 

What needs to happen for 2-10 to return on May 25?

If low transmission rates continue, students in Years 2-10 will be able to return to school from Monday 25 May 2020. Confirmation of this next step will be made by 15 May 2020.

 

Source: Education Minister Grace Grace

Originally published as Q&A;: How return to school will work