The State Government has announced all schools across Queensland will go student-free from Monday, with all classes being moved online.
Schools will still remain open, however only for parents who are essential workers and vulnerable children.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace made the announcement at a press conference on Thursday morning, revealing it applies to ALL schools, not just State schools.
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“I’m pleased to announce that next week, Queensland schools will move to student free, but schools will remain open to allow children of essential workers and vulnerable children to remain at school and for teachers to prepare to move to learning from home,” the Premier said.
“I know the community has had a lot of mixed reactions and we have listened.
“I think it’s very important that we do cater for our schools across the state to make sure that our workforce, that their students are able to go to school,” she added.
Ms Palaszczuk stressed that “essential workers” are those who are currently in our workforce, not just police officers and hospital staff.
“This includes people who stack shelves at Coles and Woolies,” she said.
Teachers will now move to developing remote learning and online learning for students to do from the comfort of their homes.
“I think we have struck the right balance here and I’m happy with the decision I have made with the Education Minister,” the Premier said of the partial school shutdown.
“I think it satisfies our workers to make sure their kids are still learning, and satisfies the community concern that their children can still learn from home.”
Parents are being urged to make sure they keep their kids at home and do not take them out into the community.
“Let me give this very clear message to parents who will have their children at home next week… They should be learning from home, they should not be out in the shopping centres,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“If you have a Grandparent who is unwell you must not take your children to visit those grandparents”.
The Premier also stressed that the health advice that schools were safe had not changed, while Queensland’s chief Health Officer welcomed the decision of online learning.
“By reducing the numbers of children at school, we can make sure our older and vulnerable teachers aren’t in classrooms and increase the amount of social distancing in our schools, so it’s the perfect solution,” Dr Jeannette Young said.
Kindergartens will also go pupil-free from next week, while long daycare centres will remain open, however only parents who need to work are being urged to use them.