A letter that has been sent home to parents regarding the Premier of Queensland's announement on schools is available on the right hand side of the page or by clicking here.
The Director General of DoE has released a letter to all parents/carers in Education Queensland schools. It is available by clicking the link here.
As we approach the end of Term 1, we face the major challenge of best preparing and protecting our Ayr High Family and the broader Burdekin community against the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
SLOWING THE SPREAD
At the moment the school continues to take daily advice from the Queensland Government on the best ways to protect ourselves and "slow the spread" of the virus within our community.
Precautions we have taken so far include:
- Reminders to staff and students of the heightened need for safe hygiene practices, for example, washing hands with soap and water.
- Ensuring hand soap and paper towel are available at all times
- Cleanliness of school facilities are maintained to the highest standard
- Cancelation or postponement of unnecessary travel to public events
- Cancelation or postponement of extra-curricular activities until further notice
CANCELATION OF EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
I have been in contact with the leadership teams at both Home Hill State High School and Burdekin Catholic High School and we are in agreeance that while cancelation of travel, excursions and extra-curricular activities is disappointing, it ultimately aims at reducing the potential risk of our students and staff to the virus.
This means that the following events have been postponed,
- Interschool Sport
- Regional sporting trials
- Term 1 Disco
The response to COVID-19 is changing almost daily, which is why we remain hopeful that events scheduled for later in the year will go ahead. We will make decisions on Term 2 events closer to their timeframe.
POSSIBLE SCHOOL SHUTDOWNS
Many people in the community are asking if the school will be shut down and/or if the Easter vacation will be extended. At this point in time, the advice from Queensland's Chief Medical Officer to the Director General of Education Queensland is for no blanket closures of schools. This is driven by four key considerations;
- Information from around the world is showing that the transmission of COVID-19 to children is predominantly from adults.
- If schools were to shut, this would impact almost 30% of healthcare workers, keeping them away from work.
- A high number of families use grandparents to mind children if schools were closed. The elderly are at a much higher risk of complications from COVID-19
- At this stage, there is no evidence from around the world that closing schools slows the spread of the virus.
At this time Ayr State High School will remain open to help support our community, unless otherwise advised by the relevant government authorities.
QUEENSLAND HEALTH ADVICE
Of course, parents have the final say on whether or not they feel their children should attend school or not. Advice from Queensland Health is;
- If you have been in close contact with someone who is recently returned from overseas AND showing symptoms of illness you should self-isolate and contact a health professional
- If anyone in your household is suspected or confirmed (by a medical practitioner) to be infected with COVID-19, ALL members of the household need to be quarantined at home and need to inform the school immediately. The school is required to report to the Department of Education any suspected or confirmed cases of students and/or staff who have been in contact with COVID-19.
- If you are feeling unwell (even if it is not COVID-19), stay at home avoid contact with others through touching, kissing or hugging.
CONTINUED CURRICULUM DELIVERY
We are continuing to deliver classes and all curriculum areas as per usual. At this time, students are preparing for and/or completing assessment tasks for all of their subjects across Years 7 to 12. We encourage all our students to maintain their focus on their studies in an attempt to keep some normality in their lives.
The Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) has advised schools that they are already planning for contingencies for Year 12 Assessment including the Year 12 Senior External Examinations. They have ensured all schools that they are planning for possible changes and modifications to allow for any future school closures or major disruptions that may happen due to COVID-19.
For students that have had to, or chosen to self-isolate from school for an extended period of time they will be able to access the curriculum in one of two ways;
- For students in Years 7,8,9 and 10 they will be able to access generic curriculum materials for English and Mathematics. This will allow them to continue work at an age appropriate level. Further material for other subjects is under development and will be rolled out.
- For students in Years 11 and 12, classroom teachers will provide work via email to allow for the continuation of their involvement in their program of study.
COVID-19 KEY MESSAGES
Finally, I will again take this opportunity to share the following key messages that are the best ways we can keep our community safe through this challenging time.
- COVID-19 is an influenza virus and is shared like most flu viruses.
- Most healthy people between ages of 5 and 65 will catch it and get over it just like any other flu.
- We need to put in precautions to slow down the spread of the virus.
- Good personal hygiene habits are important.
- Reduce your social interactions.
- If you are feeling unwell, stay at home avoid contact with others through touching, kissing or hugging.
Yours in Education