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Frequently asked questions for parents

Visit the Early childhood website for the early childhood advice.

As Queensland is continuing to see a low number of COVID-19 cases and a positive response to physical distancing measures, changes have been made to the arrangements for state schools in Term 2, 2020 to allow all students to return to school.

The following information is provided to assist parents and carers.

What are the new arrangements and when do they take effect?

From Monday 25 May 2020, Queensland state school students in Years 2–10 will return to school.

This means that from 25 May, all students can return to school.

Is it expected that children in all year levels attend school from 25 May 2020?

Yes. Schools will resume regular teaching and learning for all students.

It is acknowledged that some parents or carers may still wish to keep their children home from school due to special circumstances, medical vulnerability, or concerns about the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

If you choose to keep your child at home, you remain responsible for their supervision, learning, safety and wellbeing at home or elsewhere.

The learning@home website will remain available and will continue to be updated throughout Term 2, with new resources for students in Prep to Year 10. Students will also be able to view the curriculum-based television programs on 3 different stations. View the program information on the learning@home website.

Parents and carers of students with health support needs are encouraged to consult their health practitioner when deciding if their child should attend school.

When students have a medical reason for needing to remain at home or in isolation, schools will make arrangements to support their learning at home just as they would for any extended student medical absence.

If you do not intend for your child to return to normal school attendance from Monday 25 May 2020, you must notify the school and discuss with your child’s teacher an appropriate approach to continuing their learning.

Has this decision been supported by health advice?

The decision to return to school for all Queensland students is supported by Queensland’s Chief Health Officer and aligns with progressive easing of restrictions as part of the Government’s response to COVID-19.

The decision is also informed by advice from the Australian Health Principal Protection Committee (AHPPC).

Is it safe for all students to attend school?

Schools have been identified as safe places for students and present low risk in relation to the spread of COVID-19.

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 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 will be used for gatherings, meetings and assemblies
  • excursions, camps, trips and interschool activities are postponed at this time.

Based on advice from Queensland’s Chief Health Officer, school swimming pools and hydrotherapy facilities can reopen for use by one class at a time. School pools and hydrotherapy facilities remain closed for use by community organisations and clubs at this time.

Will schools need to change routines or operations with all students returning?

Schools will continue to actively manage routines and protocols in and around the school site. Physical distancing measures between adults remain in place and it is important that we all continue to practise these measures.

While the AHPPC advises that physical distancing is not required for students during classroom activities, schools may implement additional strategies including:

  • using larger, alternative locations or classrooms within the school
  • designating drop-off/pick-up points for parents in spacious areas
  • making use of outdoor learning spaces
  • staggering lunch breaks, start and finish times and other activities to reduce the volume of movement.

Schools will continue to manage timetable arrangements locally, including changes to previous schedules. Schools will communicate with parents regarding any changes to their usual routines.

Are camps, excursions, school concerts, musicals and sporting competitions able to proceed?

No. At this time, it is not planned for these activities to resume during Term 2 in light of ongoing health advice.

Will vocational education and training courses, including practical elements, continue at this time?

Vocational education and training (VET) courses will continue. Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) are able to attend schools to deliver these programs and students are able to attend RTO sites, as long as physical distancing and effective hygiene protocols are adhered to.

Schools will continue to ensure physical distancing protocols are applied appropriately in all teaching, learning and assessment programs. This may mean that some practical elements may take place in a different way. Where students use shared equipment, strict hygiene measures will continue.

Will students be able to undertake work experience or structured workplace learning?

Schools will give careful consideration to allowing their students to participate in work experience programs in line with current Queensland Government COVID-19 advice:

  • students’ Senior Education and Training plans
  • the necessity to undertake work experience at this time
  • the operations of the workplace environment
  • appropriate risk assessment procedures.

If work experience is required as part of structured workplace learning, or through a vocational placement, the school will negotiate with the relevant Registered Training Organisation.

Will students be able to continue with their school-based apprenticeships and traineeships (SATs)?

Student can continue to participate in their school-based apprenticeship or traineeship if:

  • the student remains enrolled at school (e.g. whether attending school or learning on-line at home)
  • the employer can continue to offer employment and on-the-job training related to their qualification and training plan.

However, the employer, student and their parent or carer must make appropriate arrangements.

Students who are attending a workplace must adhere to all COVID-19 health and safety measures in line with the Chief Health Officer's Health Direction.

Will Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) services be available?

OSHC services will continue to operate before and after school care. This will include on-site OSHC or other services off site that cater for school age children, such as long day care or family day care. Parents are encouraged to contact their local OSHC provider to confirm arrangements.

What are the arrangements for Community Kindergartens?

Community kindergartens resumed operations on 11 May 2020.

What are the arrangements for playgroups, early childhood development programs (ECDPs) and KindyLinQ?

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, activities involving parents on school sites will be limited. From 25 May, school principals will make decisions about the operation of playgroups, ECDPs and KindyLinQ, to ensure current health and physical distancing requirements are met. Please contact your school for further information.

Please visit the Playgroup Queensland website and earlylearning@home for ideas, activities and resources to use with your children at home.

How are ECDPs supporting my child to learn from home?

Children who are unable to attend ECDPs on site at schools will continue to learn from home.

ECDPs will provide a range of materials to support children and their families, which may include individualised learning packages of resources and activities, and virtual classrooms using approved platforms such as Learning Place or Class Dojo.

Early years resources are available on the department’s learning@home website including:

  • Kindergarten: resources for children from birth to 3 years and for kindergarten age children
  • Inclusive education: provides information and links to resources for children with disability.

Other resources include:

  • Learning@home TV: programs will air from 8.30–10.30am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday on 7TWO and include episodes for children in Kindy–Year 2
  • reading@home TV: airs on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 8.30–9.00am on Channel 9Go to support language and literacy development for children in kindergarten to Year 3.

Will tuckshops be operating at schools?

Schools or tuckshop providers will advise parents of local tuckshop operating arrangements.

What are schools doing to ensure the health and hygiene of students on-site?

Schools will continue to ensure high standards of health and hygiene are practised on-site. Handwashing and hand hygiene will continue to be promoted, and additional cleaning allocations will enable frequent cleaning of high use touch points in and around the school.

Health support at school will continue. Schools will use personal protective equipment (PPE) for specialised health procedures as advised by Queensland Health.

What if a community group wants to use school facilities?

In line with the government’s roadmap to easing restrictions in Queensland, from 15 May 2020, outdoor areas such as school ovals and tennis courts are able to be used, subject to being non-contact based activities with a maximum of 10 people attending.

For example, fitness providers can use the school oval to run their fitness classes or boot camps. School tennis courts are also able to be used or hired by third parties for tennis coaching. However, this does not include access to school amenities such as buildings, toilets or water fountains/bubblers.

At this time, school facilities including school halls, gymnasiums and amenities remain closed for use or hire by third parties such as community organisations. It is important that communication to third parties reinforces the message that these facilities are closed for their use.

School swimming pool and hydrotherapy facilities remain closed to third parties including community organisations who use or hire these facilities, for example local swimming clubs.

Is there anything that parents and carers can do to assist?

Social and physical distancing protocols continue to apply to adults in a school setting. We can all help to restrict the spread of COVID-19 by adhering to these protocols.

Schools will be taking action to limit the number of non-essential adults entering schools, as well as implementing new procedures where required to limit the amount of adult-to-adult contact in and around schools.

There may be:

  • different arrangements for pick-up and drop-off
  • on-line meetings between parents and staff rather than face-to-face
  • different staff room arrangements for staff.

Individual schools will make the appropriate arrangements for their community.

Parents can help by:

  • minimising the need to enter the school
  • not gathering inside or outside schools
  • working with school staff and new protocols or ways of working in and around the school.

Parents can also assist by ensuring their child stays away from school if they are showing any signs or symptoms of illness.

What will happen if my child’s teacher is unwell or a vulnerable worker?

Schools will manage staffing as they normally do. If a teacher is unwell or unable to attend school due to their own health reasons, principals will engage supply teachers as required.

Will there be support for student wellbeing?

Yes. School staff will continue to be alert to the needs of students as they return to school. If parents are concerned about their child’s wellbeing they should contact their school.

Will my child still be able to access school transport arrangements?

Yes. Normal school transport arrangements will apply.

Physical distancing requirements are exempt for public transport (including buses), however physical distancing guidelines should be followed at bus interchange locations, pick-ups and drop-offs and on other shared transport services.

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

Due to the customised nature of specialist school transport for students with disability (minibus, taxi or supported bus travel), parents will need to advise transport providers if their child is not travelling. Individual escort arrangements will continue.

Are there changes to assessment and reporting?

Assessment and reporting for Term 2 and Semester 1 will be adjusted by schools to reflect the nature of learning over this time. If you require more information regarding assessment and reporting for your child, please speak to your child’s teacher.

The Queensland Curriculum Assessment Authority (QCAA) has provided Principles and advice for P-10 during COVID-19 disruptions (PDF, 182KB) to address common curriculum questions, teaching and learning, assessment and reporting, along with their frequently asked questions.

How will schools help my child if they fall behind during the pandemic?

COVID-19 has disrupted many aspects of life and this is likely to impact students in different ways. While some students may have flourished and progressed with relative ease during their home-based learning, others may have experienced challenges and difficulty. This is also true for teachers and other school staff who had to adapt and rapidly transition to new modes of working during the pandemic.

Teachers are highly skilled at using a differentiated approach to meet the learning needs of a range of students, and this will be a particular focus area as students return to their classrooms after an extended time at home.

If parents or carers have specific concerns about their child’s progress or any particular learning challenges that have arisen during this period, they are encouraged to raise them with their child’s classroom teacher. Teachers can employ a range of techniques to address these concerns.

How will these changes affect boarding school students?

After risk assessments and all other documentation are completed and endorsed by the Regional Director, state school-operated residential boarding facilities can open for Year 11 and 12 students from 25 May 2020.

State-school-operated residential boarding facilities may consider students in Years 7–10 returning from 8 June 2020, if all processes and practices outlined in the Department of Education guidelines and AHPPC advice, including adopting advice relating to the living arrangements for students, have been successfully implemented.

Decisions for students to return to state school-operated residential boarding facilities must be made in conjunction with parents and carers and take into consideration biosecurity measures that may be in place for some communities.

Boarding students (state, Catholic or Independent) who reside in designated Indigenous communities and have not yet returned to their boarding facility, will continue to have their learning program provided by the school at which they are usually enrolled. These student’s may continue to access their local school where there is a documented agreement signed by both principals.

What will happen in the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19?

The Department of Education has established protocols if a confirmed case occurs in a school. The department follows the advice of Queensland Health and works with the school.

If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a school community, the school may need to temporarily close to allow time for public health authorities to conduct contact tracing and deep cleaning to be undertaken, to ensure the safety of staff and students prior to reopening.

Please note as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, plans are subject to change.


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