Parents should prepare for home schooling
PARENTS may need to "home school" their kids for weeks, as Education Queensland prepares to ban school assemblies, fetes and sports carnivals.
Teachers are being given emergency training to deliver Distance Education lessons online in case coronavirus forces schools to close.
But Queensland Teachers' Union president Kevin Bates yesterday said parents would still need to supervise their kids' learning in "virtual classrooms''.
"They (Education Queensland) are making it sound a lot easier than it will be,'' he told The Sunday-Mail. "(Home schooling) is not something all parents feel confident doing.''
Dr Bates said that if schools need to close en masse, one option would be to extend the two-week Easter holiday break by an extra two weeks, without expecting students to study at home.
"The way the tourist industry is at the moment, a couple of extra weeks of holidays probably would help everybody,'' he said.
"Clearly that's an option the government could look at but it's not something they're considering at this stage.''
All Queensland public servants, including teachers, are set to get an extra four weeks' paid "pandemic leave'' in a new government directive to be issued this week.
State Education Minister Grace Grace yesterday said schools would remain open, in line with advice from the Chief Medical Officer.
"If there is a need to close individual schools these decisions will be made quickly, based on further advice from health experts,'' she said.
"When it is safe to reopen those schools, they will be reopened.
"The Department will be providing schools with further advice regarding the need for large gatherings such as large assemblies, fetes and sports carnivals.''
Dr Bates said the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) board would meet this week to discuss special treatment for Year 11 and 12 students whose learning or exams are impacted by illness or closures.
As schools prepare for possible shutdowns, aged care homes have imposed partial lockdowns to protect elderly residents who are hardest hit by COVID-19.
Regis Aged Care has asked families and friends to steer clear from nursing homes if they have any flu-like symptoms, including a cough, fever, muscle aches, fatigue or shortness of breath.
It has banned visitors who've been overseas in the past 14 days, or had contact with someone with COVID-19.
The aged care operator has imposed strict visiting hours from 10am to noon and 3.30pm to 5pm so staff can screen visitors for signs of illness.
And it has banned all outings and stopped visits by schools, daycare or mothers' groups.
"We also discourage residents leaving the homes to attend event where large groups gather ie church service, fetes,'' it says.
"Please limit your interactions with residents other than your loved one and limit social physical contact.''
Regis says residents, staff and visitors should avoid "shaking hands, linking arms or hugging''.
Brisbane law firm HopgoodGanim will reopen on Monday after a staffer was cleared of COVID-19.