Emma and and Adam Atherton talk about school closure and their kids. Picture: Cordell Richardson
Emma and and Adam Atherton talk about school closure and their kids. Picture: Cordell Richardson

Right call, wrong time: Mum says state acted too late

FOR MUM of five Emma Atherton, yesterday's announcement that all state schools would go pupil-free from next week could not have come soon enough.

The Brookwater resident, who owns Orion Family Physiotherapy with husband Adam, said her family had to be extra careful because both their health and livelihood were on the line.

Mrs Atherton made the decision three weeks ago to keep her kids - who attend a mixture of state and private schools - at home.

"Considering what has happened, the schools should have shut a month ago," she said.

"You have got to think about what is best for everyone and my husband spends a lot of time treating the elderly, so he needs to be 100 per cent healthy."

The State Government yesterday announced all state schools would go pupil-free from next Monday, allowing teachers time to prepare resources for remote and flexible learning to be delivered if the coronavirus restrictions continue to worsen.

Supervision will still be provided for the children of essential services workers and vulnerable children.

Schools will close as planned on Friday, April 3, for the Easter break, and reopen on Monday, April 20, unless health advice forces a change.

Private schools including Ipswich Grammar and Catholic schools like St Edmund's and St Mary's will follow a similar arrangement.

An Ipswich Grammar spokeswoman said the school would conduct full online lessons from next Monday-Wednesday, with children unable to be at home still allowed to go to the school and take part.

Thursday and Friday will be full pupil free days, however supervision will be provided for boys who cannot be at home.

The situation will be reassessed through the Easter holidays.

Queensland Catholic Education Commission executive director Dr Lee-Anne Perry said Catholic schools had been planning for the possibility of implementing learning from home options and were ready to support students in a variety of learning environments in Term 2.

"The scale of the pandemic response is new territory for all schools," Dr Perry said.

"The way Catholic schools are responding is focused on providing students and families with the support they need to keep young people engaged with their learning and maintain their wellbeing."

All levels of education will maintain support for the children of people working in essential services, a move Mrs Atherton said she supported.

"We are extremely lucky in that I am able to work from home," she said.