Prep students back to school next week, but parents warned to stay away

Queensland parents won’t be allowed on to school grounds to deliver young children to their classrooms from next week.

May 05, 2020, updated May 05, 2020
Population growth is contributing the larger class sizes, particularly west of Brisbane. (Photo: AAP Image/Darren England)

Population growth is contributing the larger class sizes, particularly west of Brisbane. (Photo: AAP Image/Darren England)

The state will begin a staged return to normal school operations from Monday, with the coronavirus crisis easing.

The first to return will be students in Prep, and Years one, 11 and 12, along with kids at kindy.

All other grades will return a fortnight later, on May 25, as long as the initial test run goes smoothly.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the staged return should be safe, as long as there are robust protocols to prevent the virus from spreading again.

“The parents won’t be able to go into the school gates,” she told the Seven Network on Tuesday.

“(Schools) will be putting in place very clearly where parents can drop off the kids. They will leave the car, go in the front gate. For the junior years, we need to make sure they’re as close as possible to the classrooms.”

School staff will have to maintain the 1.5-metre social-distancing rule. But that’s not true for students when they are inside classrooms because it’s been deemed impractical.

For now, there’s no plan to reopen boarding schools, after Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said she’d not yet been able to envisage safe protocols to limit risks from things like communal eating and showering areas.

The Queensland Teachers’ Union says staff face a frantic time to prepare classrooms, work on lesson plans, deliver remote learning, and supervise kids who are still in school – all at the same time.

Other challenges include the absence of teachers who are either vulnerable themselves, or who care for people who are.

“That’s several thousand workers that won’t be available,” Bates told ABC radio on Tuesday.

“These are the issues we’re going to have to work out over the next four days.”

The Premier has already said it will be at least June before Queensland’s borders, restaurants and cafes reopen, given active hotspots in NSW.

But talks will begin this week with the hospitality sector about when a return to more normal trading might occur.

“June’s a good ambitious target…I can’t say whether it’s early June or late June,” the Premier said on Monday.

Queensland has recorded three more coronavirus cases to take the state’s tally to 1038.

The new cases relate to people who had recently returned from London and Los Angeles while another had been on an overseas cruise.

Of the 1038 confirmed cases, just 52 are active with 46 located in southeast Queensland.

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