Dear Parents, Carers and Community Members,
I hope you have had a safe and happy break with your family and friends.
As you would be aware, COVID-19 and the new Omicron variant continues to impact our daily lives.
To ensure the health and safety of our students, staff and families the Premier has today announced changes to the school year.
Changes to the school year
The formal start of the academic school year for kindergarten to year 10 will be delayed by two weeks, from 24 January to 7 February, for all schools in Queensland.
From Monday 31 January Year 11 and 12 students will undertake remote learning for a week until the revised formal start of the school year on 7 February.
These changes are to avoid full school attendance during the peak of the Omicron wave and to allow more time for children to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations.
Will schools be open?
Yes. From 24 January to 7 February schools will open for vulnerable children and children of essential workers. While we will endeavour to keep schools open, this will depend on the capacity of our workforce due to illness and/or isolation from COVID-19.
Essential workers are those who must continue to attend their workplace. This includes early childhood and school staff. Schools will provide supervision for children of these workers if they attend school during this period.
However, it at all possible, it is very important that you try to keep your children at home. COVID cases could result in school closures and conditions at school will be highly controlled, including:
- The wearing of masks
- Complete social distancing
- Appropriate activities that will not include instruction for students in years 7-10 until the new start date of February 7, 2022
- Strict adherence to hygiene expectations
- Students attending school will be required to adhere to these rules without argument
- Students who are exhibiting even the mildest of symptoms must remain at home
Year 11 and 12 students
Years 11 and 12 students will undertake remote learning from Monday 31 January. Principals will work with school staff to develop these plans and will communicate to families during the student free days.
Will school staff be attending school?
From the January 24, and until 7 February, there will be reduced staff on school sites.
The departments dedicated learning at home website will be available for parents and carers if they wish to access these resources. It can be found at https://education.qld.gov.au/curriculum/learning-at-home and provides parent and carers versions of curriculum resources as well as many other learning resources.
Queensland students, families and staff have shown incredible strength and resilience throughout this pandemic, and I am sure we will continue to do so.
In an ideal situation, we would have all students back at school on January 24, however this isn't the right thing to do as we approach the peak of the Omicron wave.
We will continue to work with you on any further changes that need to be made to teaching and learning over the coming weeks.
We are entering challenging and unpredictable times as the Omicron wave increases. With this comes anxiety and concern for many people, so I remind you to look after your own wellbeing and that of those around you who may require support and advice.
Ensuring as many Queenslanders as possible are vaccinated is the most effective way for us all to stay safe, alongside:
- the wearing of a mask – when it is mandatory to do so and when you cannot physically distance
- staying home if unwell, even with only very mild symptoms
- using the Check in Qld app
- keeping your distance – be careful to minimise exposure at work, home and play
- practising good hand hygiene.
What to do if you or your child test positive
Look after yourself and your family and if your symptoms get worse take action.