The majority of students in Queensland will be starting their school year two weeks later than expected amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed on Sunday that the school year will start from Monday February 7th instead of Monday January 24.
However, students in Year 11 and 12 will commence remote learning from January 31st.
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“This is a delay but it is necessary delay,” the Premier said.
Ms Palaszczuk said modelling showed the likely peak of Omicron cases would be in the last week of January and the first week of February.
“This is a common sense move to avoid students heading back to primary or secondary school just as the rapidly rising number of Omicron cases in Queensland hits its peak,” the Premier said.
“As the Chief Health Officer has said, there is no way to completely stop this virus from spreading. But we can take steps to protect the community – including our children – as much as possible.
“I know parents are concerned about sending children back to school at a time like this, so I want to assure them that delaying the start of the school year by just two weeks is a sensible solution.
“This is especially important to give more time to vaccinate 5-11 year olds, who become eligible to be vaccinated tomorrow, Monday January 10.”
It also means the school year will finish later than expected for everyone except Year 11 and 12 students.
The 2022 school year will now finish on December 16 instead of December 9.
Schools will still be open from January 24 for vulnerable children and children of essential workers.
The announcement comes after Queensland recorded another 18,000 COVID-19 cases including 4,320 positive results from rapid antigen tests that have been registered on a new form on the Queensland Health website.
There are now 80,563 active cases in Queensland.
402 people are now being treated in hospital. 22 people are in intensive care including five who are on ventilators.