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Queensland COVID planning framework

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Response level 1: COVID normal

All of Queensland is currently Response level 1: COVID normal.

For further information on current restrictions and the latest Queensland Government updates visit www.covid19.qld.gov.au.

The Queensland COVID planning framework (PDF, 275KB) applies to all Queensland state schools and provides a guide for actions required by the Department of Education's tiered (response level) response to COVID-19. It informs principal decision making regarding the measures to be implemented at their school, recognising that different schools or communities may be at different response levels at any point in time.

This framework will be updated as required to align with health advice. Printed copies are uncontrolled and may not reflect current advice.

Additional information

The following information supports decision-making using the Queensland COVID planning framework.

Standard hygiene measures

Schools must maintain appropriate health and hygiene measures, including:

  • staff and students not attending school if sick
  • regular handwashing and hand sanitising, particularly before and after eating, and after going to the toilet
  • increased cleaning of school classrooms, particularly high-frequency touch points such as water fountains or bubblers
  • regular cleaning of playground equipment and play materials
  • physical distancing of adults.

Confirmed case management

Queensland Health's Public Health Unit will directly contact a school to confirm the presence of a confirmed COVID-19 case and will advise of any additional measures such as quarantine, self-quarantine or contact tracing. Schools should continue to report confirmed COVID-19 cases through existing reporting channels. As per usual department protocols and in accordance with health advice, schools may be closed for a short time if there is a confirmed case. This time will be used to support contact tracing and specialist cleaning as required.

Students

Planning for teaching and learning

As is standard practice, teachers should consider the specific learning needs of students and plan for differentiated teaching and learning aligned to the Australian Curriculum.

Guidelines to support schools are: the P-12 Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Framework (PDF, 1.4MB)(RTF, 23MB), and supporting documents including Assessment and moderation in Prep to Year 10 and A whole-school approach to differentiated teaching and learning.

Advice from the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA)

The QCAA will publish updates regarding curriculum, teaching and learning, assessment and reporting as required.

Circumstances in which students should be supported to learn at home

During action level 1 ('COVID-normal') scenarios, attending school in person is the default model of learning. Schools are not required to provide home-based learning options unless there are specific circumstances justifying the student's absence.

Students unable to attend school or participate in the learning program due to medical reasons should be supported by their school, just as they would in the case of any extended student medical absence. The appropriate approach can be determined by the school, taking into account the expected duration of absence, the student's learning needs, available tools and resources, and the school's established approach to supporting continuity of learning.

The learning@home website will remain live.

Student protection

At all times and under all action levels, including where a student is learning from home, any concerns of risk of harm to the student should be addressed in line with the department's student protection procedures. All student protection measures and training for staff and visitors must be maintained at all times.

Attendance and roll marking

Where medical advice supports the need for a student to remain at home or be absent from the learning program, schools should continue to use Code F.

Same day student absence notification requirements remain in effect through all action levels. Schools should notify parents or carers of an unexplained absence of their child as soon as practicable on the day of the student's absence, allowing time for parents to respond prior to the end of that school day.

Staff

Principals and leadership teams should support and manage arrangements for vulnerable employees, with any arrangements reviewed monthly. The vulnerable worker assessment form (DOCX, 364KB) should be completed for any vulnerable employees who wish to voluntarily return to work.

Staff working from home are required to develop a work plan (DOCX, 49KB) with their supervisor that outlines their responsibilities and duties. Staff hours of work will be consistent with the attendance arrangements already in place at each school and determined in accordance with the school's local arrangements and industrial agreements.

Schools will need to make alternative arrangements and/or engage additional staff using school funds to support teaching and learning across the school including the classes of vulnerable workers who are not able to attend work.

University preservice teachers

Preservice students are welcome on all school sites and are to be considered in the same way as staff. It is important that preservice teachers can continue their practical placements during all phases of school operations.

Parents on school sites

Parents and carers are welcome on school sites. Parents' and carers' contact details are recorded in OneSchool and can be used for contact tracing by Queensland Health if needed.

All other visitors need to adhere to COVID school visitor and sign in arrangements.

'COVID normal' health practices apply to all adults on school sites. These include physical distancing between adults, not exceeding occupant density limits for rooms, staying home if sick and regular COVID-safe hygiene measures.

Visitors

Visitors are only allowed on site at action levels 1 and 2. Principals and responsible officers will make the decision about whether visitors are permitted on site while maintaining physical distancing.

To enable contact tracing if required, schools must maintain a record of visitors, including visiting departmental staff and contractors. This must record each visitor's full name, email address, contact telephone number, date and time of visit. Schools are not required to maintain a record of all parents who enter the school.

Other school activities

School sports

Schools are able to conduct intra-school, inter-school and representative school sport programs for both indoor and outdoor sports (including contact sports).

All sporting training and events not occurring on school grounds must be conducted with consideration of the industry plans for sport, recreation and fitness organisations specific to the sport.

All attendees (e.g. officials, players and spectators) will be required to adhere to COVID registration arrangements as specified by the event host to enable contact tracing if required. This must record each visitor's full name, email address, contact telephone number, date and time of visit.

Instrumental music programs, ensembles and choirs

Instrumental music programs, ensembles and choirs are able to rehearse and perform in the school environment provided the safety protocols outlined in Instrumental Music Program guidelines for managing hazards associated with COVID-19 (PDF, 403KB) are followed.

External venue performances and rehearsals (including inter-school performances and rehearsals) can be undertaken if the external venue is operating under the Live Performance Venues/Theatres approved COVID Safe Industry Plan (PDF, 1.3MB). If the external venue is not operating under the approved COVID Safe Industry Plan they must either comply with the approved COVID safe event checklist (PDF, 323KB), or have in place a COVID Safe Event Plan in accordance with the industry framework for COVID safe events in Queensland (PDF, 1.4MB) that has been approved by the Queensland Chief Health Officer.

Use of shared equipment

Shared equipment such as Industrial Technology and Design resources, musical instruments and sports equipment used within the school, or equipment loaned to students to take home, will require appropriate cleaning and hygiene management as outlined in the COVID-19 cleaning of equipment for practical subjects (PDF, 272KB).

The loan of equipment other than books must be considered and assessed by each school on a case-by-case basis. It is recommended that these items are loaned on a long-term basis.

School functions

Schools in action level 1 can still hold functions as normal. At action level 2, a function may proceed so long as:

Details of all participants at on-site or off-site school functions must be captured and maintained for contact tracing purposes (other than parents and carers whose details are already recorded and current on OneSchool). Further information can be found in the Queensland Health Fact Sheet: COVID Safe School Events (PDF, 532KB).

School functions must not be held in action levels 3 or 4.

Excursions and camps

At action levels 2 and 3, excursions and camps are permitted to be held at Department of Education Outdoor and Environmental Education Centres (O&EEC) or at locations or businesses that have an approved COVID Safe Industry Plan or are using a COVID Safe Checklist. O&EECs with residential facilities are required to follow the Queensland Government's approved COVID Safe Industry Plan for outdoor education providers.

It is recommended that schools insert the following clause to the consent section of their activity consent form (DOC, 344KB):

  • I give consent for my child's name to be given to businesses visited during this activity in compliance with the Queensland Chief Health Officer's Restrictions on Businesses, Activities and Undertakings Direction (No. 4) (or its successor)

If a student's parent/carer does not provide consent via the activity consent form, or by other means that will allow the school and venue to comply with COVID Safe Industry Plans, the student will be unable to participate.

Excursion/camp risk assessments must be undertaken prior to approval and must take into account approved COVID-19 control measures.

In addition to the general excursion and camp requirements, music camps for students must adhere to the Instrumental Music Program guidelines for managing hazards associated with COVID-19 (PDF, 403KB).

At action level 4, excursions and camps must not occur.

Health support procedures

All state schools, including special schools, must continue to implement student health plans in all action levels, including performing student health support procedures (PDF, 915KB).

Employees must use gloves at all times and through all levels when providing student health supports. Other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is required for certain health procedures.

For advice regarding the PPE required for a specific health support procedure, including the type of PPE and its correct use, please consult with your State Schools registered nurse. More information is available on the hygiene and personal protective equipment for health support procedure (DOCX, 875KB).

Emergency management

At action level 2, as part of each school's Emergency Response Plan (ERP), alternative assembly points should be considered and physical distancing requirements for adults should be observed in evacuation drill planning. All emergency drills should be entered into MyHR Workplace Health and Safety.

Contractors and external workers

At action levels 1, 2 and 3, schools will need to ensure any contractor, supplier or external support worker entering the school to undertake work or provide supplies complies with the on-site health and safety measures outlined in these guidelines. This includes not attending the site if unwell, maintaining physical distancing requirements and practising good health and hygiene.

Cleaning

Additional cleaning is to be implemented until 30 June 2021 for all action levels at this stage. School cleaning should prioritise frequently used areas with extra attention on high frequency touch point surfaces such as door handles, light switches, desks, toilets, taps and sinks. This should also include sick rooms and student service areas.

Hygiene supplies

Schools should actively monitor cleaning and hygiene supplies and reorder in advance of needing additional materials. If schools are having difficulty obtaining cleaning chemicals, hygiene products (such as soap and sanitiser) or PPE (required to perform specialised health procedures), please contact Procurement Services on 1300 366 612 or by emailing Procurement.OCPO@qed.qld.gov.au.

Boarding school facilities

Further information regarding the operation of state school-operated boarding facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic is available in the guidelines for state school-operated boarding facilities (PDF, 464KB).

Information regarding the operation of non-state boarding schools should be obtained from the individual boarding school.

School transport

Transport arrangements for students, including specialist school transport for students with disability, will continue to operate.

Pysical distancing requirements are exempt for school students travelling on dedicated school transport services, i.e. services where only school students travel (including activities related to outside school hours care and travel for inter-school sport, excursions and camps).

In areas where restrictions for impacted areas are imposed (i.e. a hotspot has been declared), parents, volunteers or drivers who are not a school staff member, may be required to wear a face mask on dedicated school transport services.

Physical distancing should be maintained at bus interchange locations, at pick-up and drop-off, and on other shared transport services.

Transport operators will ensure buses and surface touch points are cleaned according to COVID-19 cleaning and disinfection recommendations.

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Last updated 15 February 2021