What school looks like for returning students



STUDENTS will have to bring their own stationary and devices and use hand sanitiser as they come and go from classrooms of only 10 children as school returns today amid COVID-19 chaos.

At the Gap State High School, furniture will be rearranged to permit social distancing and cleaners will be disinfecting every room and wiping down furniture during breaks.

Teachers will still send home report cards as per usual this week but no academic results will be included, instead including effort, behaviour and homework results.


Back to school press conference by Annastacia Palaszczuk The Premier & Grace Grace Minister for Education at Seventeen Mile Rocks. Also present were nurses Ben Ballard, Beth Ballard and their kids Oliver (8) and Elkie (4). 19th April 2020 Seventeen Mile Rocks AAP Image/Richard Gosling
Back to school press conference by Annastacia Palaszczuk The Premier & Grace Grace Minister for Education at Seventeen Mile Rocks. Also present were nurses Ben Ballard, Beth Ballard and their kids Oliver (8) and Elkie (4). 19th April 2020 Seventeen Mile Rocks AAP Image/Richard Gosling

Students have been encouraged to bring their own water bottles, stationery and devices and won't be permitted to leave school grounds to buy lunch.

And each fortnight the school will send an attendance survey to parents so they can try and plan how many teachers will need to be at the school and how they can socially distance.

It comes as schools and parents are bracing for the unexpected and "teething problems" during five weeks of remote-learning for the majority of the state's students.

It's expected that up to 10 to 15 per cent of the state's school students will turn up at the front gates today, equating to up to 100,000 students Education Minister Grace Grace said.

Education Minister Grace Grace yesterday said planning for remote learning was not easy, and had set up two hotlines for state school parents and early childhood parents that face problems.

"Please don't worry if everything on the first day or the first few days doesn't go to plan, I'm sure there will be many instances where there are some teething problems but we'll work through them and get through this," she said.

Ms Grace said the Queensland education system had embarked on its biggest shake-up in history.


And Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday said teachers would be there to support the state's students.

"We know day one will be a bit confusing, we are in the midst of the world pandemic, I want everyone to remember that and we want to make sure we are doing our very best that students continue to learn," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"I ask families to follow the advice here, if you are working from home and incapable of supervising to ensure your child is getting online resource work happening then contact your principal.

"But now is not the time to be sending your child to school if you don't meet those categories."

When asked what would happen to children of non-frontline workers who turn up to class, Ms Grace said no school would put any child in an unsafe position and would work with families if needed.

"We want to make sure we can exercise social distancing, we want schools to be a safe environment because remember if there is an outbreak at a school, it will immediately be shut down and parents will have to cope with that," Ms Grace said.

"We don't want students to be in that situation, so we ask every parent to exercise a reasonable commonsense approach and it would be irresponsible to be out there at the moment, where we are with COVID-19, to be advocating that parents unilaterally send their children to school if they want to."


Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in QLD


Opposition Deputy Leader Tim Mander yesterday said the LNP believed anybody working at the moment, at home or otherwise, was an essential worker.

"And those parents deserve the right to be able to send their children to school," he said.

"It is incredibly challenging for people at the moment trying to work from home and, as well, being asked to educate their children."

Queensland Teachers Union president Kevin Bates said schools have had to prepare for the unexpected, making contingency plans for an unknown number of students to arrive at school, while parents and students face trepidation about how school will work.

"The technology is untried. We're going to see tens of thousands of workers working from home and we're going to see hundreds of thousands of students get onto the internet and devices as a part of their learning. That is a trigger point where we don't know what is going to happen," he said.

Independent Schools Queensland Executive Director David Robertson said independent schools were prepared for the new-look school term.
"Given the massive change everyone is making, there will inevitably be some challenges and hurdles to overcome," he said.
"Patience, respect and consideration for each other must be the hallmarks of school-family relationships this first week of school and in the coming weeks."

And Queensland Catholic Education Commission executive director Dr Lee-Anne Perry, Executive Director said Catholic schools would continue to support their students at home or at school.

"This is a time to reassure young people, to keep them calm and focused and to help them build resilience by showing them how to navigate unknown paths," she said.

St William's School Grovely Year 5 teacher Claire Simpson said she was excited to help her students learn from home with the school doing "absolutely" everything they could to support students.

Year 5 teacher and frontline hero Claire Simpson, 32, is a Year 5 teacher ready to educate our kids at St William’s Grovely. Picture: Liam Kidston
Year 5 teacher and frontline hero Claire Simpson, 32, is a Year 5 teacher ready to educate our kids at St William’s Grovely. Picture: Liam Kidston

Expecting just eight children in her class tomorrow, she said it would be very different starting the day without the whole class, but all 24 would connect on Microsoft Teams in the morning to create some normalcy.

"I have been posting some maths problems over the holidays and they have been jumping on to that, they've been excellent," Ms Simpson said.

"We set up a chat within the program so that they can communicate with each other. They have been exchanging information already which has helped to develop a little class community online over the holidays.

"It's extending the community we would normally develop within the class if we were at school, only we're doing this online."

Ms Simpson said her pupils "are very excited" at the prospect of being able to be at home but still talk to their teacher and see their friends' faces.

The school developed a "learning matrix" of daily activities in mathematics, literacy and religion, other activities and weekly tasks, while using digital platforms to regularly check in with students.

Hotline for support and information:

State school parents: 1800 570 793

Early childhood parents: 1800 454 639





● All students will be online learning either at home or onsite for children of essential workers (essential workers are all those who must still attend their workplace).

● Lessons for the week will be released on Monday morning.

● Students should aim to engage in at least 2-3 hours of learning each day.

● Lessons have been created for students to work independently at their level.

● Students should complete as much work as they can. If a task proves too difficult, they should leave it and move on to the next task/subject.

Marking attendance:

● Before 9am each day students must email to indicate if they will be learning from home or at school.

● Students who are unwell or will not be learning at home on a particular day need to have their parents SMS the absence number to indicate as per a normal absence.

for Students attending school:

● Students of essential workers will assemble in the quad at the start of each day.

● They will be required to bring their electronic devices and relevant stationery for the day.

● Students will be allocated a classroom that they will attend for every lesson each day with a maximum of 10 students per class.

● Furniture will be arranged to ensure physical distancing requirements. Every student will be required to use hand sanitiser on the way in and out of the room across the day.

● Cleaners will sanitise every room and wipe all furniture during breaks.

● Supervision will be provided by teachers and teacher aides.

● Students encouraged to bring their own water bottles.

● The tuckshop will be closed this week. Students will be expected to bring their own food.


● Students will be provided with hand sanitiser in every classroom.

● Bathrooms and classrooms will be cleaned before and after school as well as during breaks.

● Any student who is unwell, is not to attend school. If a student becomes unwell during the day, a parent will be contacted to collect them.

Report cards:

● Report cards will still be issued by the end of this week.

Source: The Gap State High School


Originally published as What school looks like for returning students