Queensland school students have returned to classrooms now with in-classroom learning resuming for all years.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk joined Education Minister Grace Grace to thank Queensland students, teachers, parents and carers for their patience over the last two months as the State worked to flatten the curve.
“COVID-19 has caused significant disruption to our school communities, not only in Queensland, but across the nation and the world,” the Premier said.
“Through our response to the pandemic, we wanted to make sure that our students could continue their education and I want to thank our hard-working principals, teachers, staff, parents and carers who adapted to a new learning model,” the Premier said.
“They adapted quickly to embrace new digital learning tools so our students could learn from home and kept students motivated through these challenging times.
“With fewer active cases of COVID-19 and low transmission rates in Queensland, it’s now time for all students to return to school, in-line with the advice from our Chief Health Officer and the progressive easing of restrictions.
“As we move forward the health and wellbeing of students, staff and school communities will continue to be our top priority and our decision making will be guided by the expert health advice.”
From Monday 11 May, students in kindergarten, Prep, Year 1 and Years 11 and 12 began a staged return to normal schooling and attendance rates have been encouraging, with approximately 84 per cent for Prep and 80–82 per cent for Years 1, 11 and 12.
Minister for Education Grace Grace said with the return to more traditional classroom learning, students and parents may notice a number of changes from the school gate to the playground.
“We’ve taken extraordinary measures to ensure the health and safety of everyone attending schools, including strict hygiene practices and increased cleaning of classrooms and play equipment,” she said.
“We also have a range of resources available to support the wellbeing and mental health of staff and students as they return to school.”
Local school arrangements to minimise interaction of students and adults within the school and at school entry points may include:
restricting visitor and parent access to school grounds
staggered start, break and lunch times
supervision at school gates, including during drop off and pick up times and;
supervised movements between the school gate and classrooms.
Students unable to return to school due to medical reasons will continue to be supported, with their supervision and continuity of learning the responsibility of their parent or carer.
The learning@home website will remain available and continue to be updated throughout Term 2 with new resources for Prep – Year 10.
Minister Grace said the reopening of schools and the construction of school infrastructure was essential to keeping Queenslanders in jobs and keeping the economy going.
“Through a record $1.5 billion investment in new and improved school infrastructure, the Queensland Government is providing modern learning facilities, while supporting an estimated 4,800 full-time jobs throughout the State,” she said.
“Construction is currently underway on five new state schools for 2021, representing an investment of $462 million (including GST) and supporting up to an estimated 1385 jobs.
“Our $235 million Renewing Our Schools Program is supporting more than 700 jobs across the State.
“And our Advancing Clean Energy Schools (ACES) program is delivering clean, green energy to schools, while supporting more than 550 jobs across the life of the initiative.
“Through the COVID-19 emergency, we are committed to delivering new and enhanced education infrastructure to support Queensland’s growing student population and drive job creation.”