Back to School
Back to School

Minister’s Term 2 warning: There will be teething problems

PARENTS have been urged to keep their children at home with schools only open for children of essential workers and vulnerable children.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it would be confusing for some families during uncertain and unprecedented times of COVID-19.

"Tomorrow of course schools are open for those children of essential workers and vulnerable students and of course the teachers are there to support children learning from home," Ms Palaszczuk said.

 

"If you are uncertain about whether your children should be going to school, contact your principal, we've said that all along.

"We know day one will be a bit confusing, we are in the midst of the world pandemic, I want everyone to remember that and we want to make sure we are doing our very best that students continue to learn."

 

Annastacia Palaszczuk, with Education Minister Grace Grace Minister, says the start of Term 2 will be confusing for many parents. Picture: AAP Image/Richard Gosling
Annastacia Palaszczuk, with Education Minister Grace Grace Minister, says the start of Term 2 will be confusing for many parents. Picture: AAP Image/Richard Gosling

It's expected around 10 to 15 per cent of the state's school students will turn up for class tomorrow.

That would equate to up to 100,000 students across state, independent and catholic schools, Education Minister Grace Grace said.

"Whatever happens, we'll be able to accommodate," she said.

For the next five weeks there will be remote learning from home, with a decision about whether schools can fully reopen in mid-May.

"It's not a decision which Premier and I said early we have taken lightly and it has to do with health advice where we have to social distance in schools for essential workers children and vulnerable children who need to attend school," Ms Grace said.

"We want to ensure everyone gets a good learning experience from home and remote learning so it is essential every student is accounted for and teachers and schools know exactly where students are so we ask them to log in, let the schools know they are at home learning or if they attend school they will be looked after.

"We know there will be teething problems so we have established two hotlines, one for early childhood and one for schools.

"We don't expect parents to teach their children at home, this is remote learning, your teacher will bet there to continue learning from remote location, or from printed material, or a combination of printed, digital and virtual learning, no teacher is required to become a teacher, that is what teachers and teachers are paid for and they will be there to lend support at any stage during this unprecedented time in the history of education throughout the state.

 

 

She said the five weeks of remote learning was based on health advice so social distancing could occur in schools.

"We want to every student, staff member, teacher and everyone who works at a school to be safe, in order to do that it is imperative that only those of essential workers required in their workplace, vulnerable children and those who can't be supervised attend school - if there are any issues with that, please contact your school," she said.

"No school will put any child in an unsafe position, they will obviously work with the family.

Ms Palaszczuk implored parents, who work from home who might be considering sending their children to school to follow the advice.

"I ask families to follow the advice here, if you are working from home and incapable of supervising to ensure your child is getting online resource work happening then contact your principal," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"But now is not the time to be sending your child to school if you don't meet those categories."

 

 

"Of course no school will put any child in an unsafe position, they will obviously work with the family," Ms Grace said.

"We want to make sure we can exercise social distancing, we want schools to be a safe environment because remember if there is an outbreak at a school, it will immediately be shut down and parents will have to cope with that.

"We don't want students to be in that situation, so we ask every parent exercise a reasonable commonsense approach and it would be irresponsible to be out there at the moment where we are with COVID-19 to be advocating that parents unilaterally send their children to school if they want too.

"That is not the health advice, that is not the best health and being for your child and school community, we ask parents to exercise common sense."

 

Nurses Ben and Beth Ballard will still be able to send their children to school. Picture: AAP Image/Richard Gosling
Nurses Ben and Beth Ballard will still be able to send their children to school. Picture: AAP Image/Richard Gosling

 

Queensland Secondary Principals' Association president Mark Breckenridge said the coming weeks of school would be particularly challenging in schools.

"It's a completely new world principals and families are moving into," he said.

"For parents who do have concerns, contact your principal, contact them early, schools work best when there's a home to school partnership and at no time in our history is this as important as it is now."

Nurses Ben Ballard and Beth Ballard said they were relieved schools were still open for their kids Oliver, 8 and Elkie, 4.

"This has been an exceptional time, it's been great to have the flexibility to send kids to school and have them at home, as both being nurses it's important for us to be at work at this point in time, so it's great to have that support from the State," Mr Ballard said.

Opposition Deputy Leader Tim Mander said the LNP believed anybody working at the moment, at home or otherwise, was an essential worker.

"And those parents deserve the right to be able to send their children to school," he said.

"All we've had constantly from the Palaszczuk Government is mixed and confusing messages about school attendance."

He said three weeks ago, when the infection rate was at its maximum, authorities said it was safe to send children to school.

"Now, with the infection rate seemingly under control, it's no longer safe," he said.

"It's these types of mixed messages that are confusing people and frustrating people as well."

He said he had no doubt the policy was being directed by the Queensland Teachers' Union.

Mr Mander said parents should be able to choose themselves whether they sent their children to school or not.

"It is incredibly challenging for people at the moment trying to work from home and, as well, being asked to educate their children," he said.

"Those workers deserve the right to be able to send their children to school."

Originally published as Minister's Term 2 warning: There will be teething problems


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