School is back in session in Queensland from Monday, but it’s expected just one-in-10 students will physically attend a classroom.
School is back in session in Queensland from Monday, but it's expected just one-in-10 students will physically attend a classroom.
New coronavirus measures mean that only the children of essential workers and the vulnerable will be permitted to attend school, with everyone else expected to learn remotely.
In a controversial move, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told Queenslanders that if one parent can work from home, then their children should likewise stay home and learn remotely.
"If you are working from home and you are incapable of supervising, then you should contact your principal," she advised parents today.
Queensland's largest union - the Together Union - has criticised the move, saying parents should be able to decide for themselves whether to send their children to school.
"The idea that any worker is not essential is ridiculous at this point in time," the Together Union's Alex Scott said.
"But also the concept that if you're working from home, somehow you're able to supervise your children."
But the Queensland Teachers Union has supported the measure, which is aimed primarily at protecting teachers who are more at risk from COVID-19 than children and teenagers.
"The problem with any attempt to broaden the definition of who are essential workers will see too many children at schools," union leader Kevin Bates said.
The Queensland government has set up a hotline to answer the expected flood of questions from parents.
An additional 5254 laptops are being distributed to those in need, along with 5000 SIM cards and 4000 internet dongles for students who don't have connection at home.
"I'm sure there will be some teething problems, but we will work through them and we will get through this," Queensland's Education Minister Grace Grace said.
"No student will be disadvantaged."
The government will consider re-opening classrooms to more students at the end of May, if COVID-19 has been brought under control in the state.
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-queensland-school-measures-divide-only-children-essential-workers-vulnerable-class/879ebfd0-52ea-4324-a661-ab4866c026d1