All Queensland students will return to school on May 25 amid measures to protect them from COVID-19. Image by Dan Peled/AAP PHOTOS

Education

Qld schools ready to reopen amid COVID-19

2020-05-16 13:03:44

Queensland schools will reopen for all grades from May 25, but school formals remain on the backburner.

The government has given a final green light for students in years 2 to 10 to head back to their classrooms.

Kindy, Prep, Year 1 and Years 11 and 12 went back this week, as part of a staggered resumption of school operations.

“This latest step is only possible given the low transmission rates that Queensland has experienced and thanks to the efforts of all Queenslanders,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Friday.

“Our decision to adopt a sensible and deliberate approach with this phased return has proven to be the right one as we progressively move to relax the range of COVID-19 restrictions in place across the state.”

Education Minister Grace Grace said this week has gone well.

“Our staged return to school has gone so smoothly with parents and carers heeding the advice around ‘stop, drop and go’ to ensure the health, wellbeing and safety of all.”

Students and staff have been given strict rules aimed at reducing the risk of new coronavirus infections.

Adults must maintain physical distancing of 1.5 metres and must not gather in groups in and around school grounds, car parks, school gates and outside classrooms.

Inside school gates, students are not social distancing but desks have been moved apart where possible, and start and finish times have been staggered.

Contact sports have been cancelled but physical education classes will return. 

Parents have been urged not to send any student to class if they are unwell. 

“We are not out of the woods yet,” Ms Grace said.

“If there is an outbreak, the school involved will be closed down and undergo an intense clean which could take three to four days.”

The minister said formals for Year 12s are still off the table, and won’t proceed until the chief health officer gives her approval.

Independent Schools Queensland Executive Director David Robertson said school communities would continue to reinforce hand and respiratory hygiene practices and physical distancing where required by the health advice.

“It has taken everyone in the community pulling together and doing the right thing to get to the point where schools can now open their doors to all students,” he said.