Masks will be required for all staff and high school students – and highly encouraged for most primary school students – when classes resume next week.
Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) will also be available to students and staff who develop symptoms while at school, while those who develop symptoms at home will have priority access to RATs at Queensland Health clinics.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the resumption of school will be safer thanks to the delayed start of term, which has also allowed time for more students to get vaccinated.
“As always, we have acted on the health advice and had a cautious and measured approach through the pandemic,” the Premier said.
Key features of the Back to School plan include:
- Mask wearing for all high school students and staff in line with the existing mandate
- Masks available and strongly encouraged for students in Years 3 to 6
- A range of ventilation measures including air purifiers as required
Temporary measures for the first four weeks of term include:
- RATs available in school for students and staff who develop symptoms while on site
- Priority access to RATs for students and staff at Queensland Health clinics
- RATs provided to staff entering remote communities
- Suspension of school camps, excursions, assemblies, and large gatherings
- Limiting of visitors on school sites, with exceptions for parents and carers of students experiencing vulnerability, and all students attending Early Childhood Development Programs, Kindergarten, Prep or Year 1
- Staggered drop off times and special drop off zones
Education Minister Grace Grace said as well as delaying the start of term by two weeks, there are a number of measures already in place to keep students and staff safe.
“These include mandatory vaccination for staff and volunteers, and the expert advice from our ventilation working group.
“Our $477 million Cleaner Cooler Schools Program is almost complete, meaning nearly all schools across the state have air conditioning which helps with ventilation.
“However, we are introducing these additional measures to help minimise the impact of Omicron in our schools.”
Minister Grace said, consistent with health advice, regular surveillance rapid antigen testing will not be required in schools.
“There is no health advice to indicate this is needed in Queensland. Instead, all students and staff will have priority access to RATs from local testing clinics if they develop symptoms.
“Of course, anyone who has symptoms should absolutely not come into school. But if staff or students develop symptoms while at school, they will be provided with a RAT to take home.
“If there are outbreaks of COVID-19 in our schools, Queensland Health will deploy additional RATs to clinics near those locations to meet the need.
“I want to thank all the staff and students across Queensland for the incredible resilience they have shown throughout these challenging times.”
More than 870,000 Queensland students will return to school on February 7, although children of essential workers and vulnerable children were able to return to school on January 24.
Further information and FAQs are available here: