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Frequently asked questions for parents

Early term 1 break and student free days

What are the dates of the early Term 1 break?

An early Term 1 student break has been designated for all Queensland state school students.

The break for students will begin Monday 30 March, with students to return to school on Monday 20 April 2020, unless parents and caregivers are otherwise notified.

This decision has been made to help address the risk of transmission of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Supervision will be provided at schools during the week of 30 March to 3 April inclusive for children of essential workers or vulnerable children, such as those in out-of-home care.

Essential workers are those that must currently continue to attend their workplace during this difficult time.

Independent schools and Catholic schools base their breaks on the state school dates but these can vary from school to school. Check with your independent or Catholic school for details.

What are the dates of the additional student free days?

Five additional student free days have been created to help address the risk of transmission of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and provide time for schools to prepare for greater use of online learning in term 2, in case it is required.

The additional student free days will run from Monday 30 March to 3 April 2020.

This means your child will not attend school on these days, unless they are children of essential workers or vulnerable children, such as those in out-of-home care.

Essential workers are those that must currently continue to attend their workplace during this difficult time. Schools will provide supervision for children of these workers if they attend their school during Monday 30 March to Friday 3 April.

This decision has been made to help address the risk of transmission of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

How does this affect day care?

As at 26 March 2020, most early childhood services and outside school hours care services are open. A small number of services have temporarily closed at their discretion or at the request of Queensland Health.

While we strongly encourage you to contact your service directly, the Department of Education emergency closure portal provides information about early childhood education and care closures. The closure list is based on information provided by Approved Providers of centre-based education and care services who have notified the department of their service closure as a result of COVID-19.

Approved Providers make the decision to close and re-open their education and care service/s and are required to notify the department within 24 hours.

Are state funded kindergartens included in the pupil free days?

Community kindergartens and State Delivered Kindergartens will be observing student free days from Monday 30 March 2020 to Friday 3 April 2020. Keeping your child at home will give our kindy teachers time to prepare for increased online learning or alternative options if they are needed in term 2.

We know keeping your children engaged in learning is important to you. Online resources will be available at the Early Childhood Education and Care website  and the Early Years Count.

There are no changes to kindy programs in long day care services.

Will parents be required to educate their children while they are away from school?

The school week beginning 30 March 2020 will now comprise 5 student free days, during which parents are responsible for supervising their own children. Parents may choose to access educational resources and encourage their children to undertake learning activities during this week, although these are not prescribed. School staff will use this time to prepare for alternative modes of learning in Term 2.

Should schools be unable to re-open to students for the scheduled commencement of Term 2 on Monday 20 April 2020, plans will be implemented to support home-based learning. Parental/carer supervision of at-home learning will be requireddepending on the age, capability and type of learning tasks the student is undertaking.

If at-home learning is required, schools will provide parents and carers with guidance on appropriate learning activities.

A dedicated website is also available for parents to support learning at home in the event of a prolonged school closure. Education Queensland provides two-week units of curriculum resources that align to the Australian Curriculum. It provides a sample of activities to support students to continue their learning, as well links to a range of high-quality public learning. These online materials will be progressively added to over coming weeks. Parents are encouraged to talk to their child’s teacher to ensure that any at-home learning aligns with the school’s approach.

Online learning from home

How will online learning impact on my child's education?

While the virtual classroom environment will be new for some students, most Queensland state school students already have experience of working online.

To further prepare for home-based learning, teachers have been increasing the use of online and printable materials to prepare for any scenario in which there is widespread or prolonged disruption to normal school operations.

My child does not have access to a computer or the internet, how can they participate in online learning?

For students and families who do not have access to devices or the ability to print documents, schools will make a paper offline option available upon request.

Teachers will work with families in this situation to ensure the student is not disadvantaged.

These materials may be in the form of school-based textbooks, printed worksheets and other resources.

How can I best support my child’s online learning?

For parents, supporting children to learn from home during interruption to normal schooling can be a daunting task. The following general tips may help:

  • Be patient—learning takes time.

  • Create a space for your child to work without distractions.

  • Encourage your child to maintain a study pattern comparable to a normal school day program.

  • Prepare meals and snacks as you would for a normal school day to assist in maintaining a study pattern.

  • If you can, make sure your child has access to equipment and stationery required for home learning — pens, papers, computers (including internet access), printers, etc.

  • Monitor deadlines for lodgement of assignments with the school.

  • Maintain communication with your child’s teacher by email—ask questions if you are unsure about any aspect of your child’s learning.

Student assessment

What will happen to student assessment?

The impact of COVID-19 on assessment will depend on which stage students are at in their schooling.

The National Assessment Program—Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) that is normally sat by students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 will not be held in 2020 due to disruption caused by COVID-19.

For children who attend a Kindergarten program delivered by a state school, families will be able to access materials to continue their child’s learning at home supported by the school.

For students in Years 11 and 12, the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) has long-established protocols that cater for illness or disruption to assessment processes in order to minimise any disadvantage or impact. Impacted schools will work with the QCAA and any affected students through these protocols. More information is available from the QCAA website.

Will this mean that all students will have to repeat the grade next year?

No. If alternative home-based learning (through paper-based, virtual and online curriculum delivery) is required for part of the school year, assessment and reporting will take into account the widespread disruption in learning. Although the full impact of COVID-19 cannot yet be predicted, there is no plan for widespread ‘repeating’ of year levels.

Outside hours care during student free days

Will outside school hours care be provided for the additional student free days?

Outside school hours care (OSHC) will be able to offer a service for children and families over these student free days. This decision is at the discretion of the OSHC provider. Please contact your local service to seek advice on whether they will be operating or find out more information online at Starting Blocks

This will support the parents who are working hard to combat the COVID-19 virus and assure them that their children have access to a safe and secure site.

Health and wellbeing advice

How do I discuss COVID-19 with my children?

The department has prepared a fact sheet (PDF, 151KB) to help parents talk about the coronavirus with their children.

What do I do if I am worried that someone in my family has COVID-19?

You are also encouraged to stay informed of the latest health developments relating to COVID-19 by regularly visiting the Queensland Health website

If you need to speak to someone about your concerns, contact 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84).

Licence
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0) (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/au/ )
Last updated
02 April 2020