Early holidays for Catholic school students

Student-free days will enable teachers to prepare for online learning (Bigstock)

Catholic schools in Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia will wind up term one early, following government decisions to close public schools to try to halt the spread of coronavirus. Source: The Catholic Leader and ABC News.

By Joe Higgins, The Catholic Leader and Charlotte Hamlyn, ABC News

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced schools would close from next Monday instead of April 3 to all but the children of essential workers in order to ease pressure on schools amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The change applied to Catholic schools, independent schools and state schools.

Ms Palaszczuk said schools would move to pupil-free days from next week but parents could still send their children to school if they were working.

“Queensland schools will move to student-free days next week as we work to limit the spread of coronavirus,” she said on Facebook.

“Schools will remain open in a limited capacity until the end of term on April 3, to allow for the children of essential workers to remain at school and for teachers to prepare to move to remote learning from home.

Queensland Catholic Education Commission executive director Lee-Anne Perry said Catholic schools had been planning for the possibility of implementing learning from home options and were ready to support students in a variety of learning environments in Term 2.

“The scale of the pandemic response is new territory for all schools,” Dr Perry said.

“The way Catholic schools are responding is focused on providing students and families with the support they need to keep young people engaged with their learning and maintain their wellbeing.

“Schools continue to also carefully manage those staff who may be at high risk from the virus and to provide appropriate arrangements for them.

“Every Catholic school will meet the coming challenges in the best way for the needs of their students and staff.”

The ABC reports that Catholic schools in Western Australia would follow Government advice in that state in asking parents to keep children at home by close of school today. It said schools would be officially concluding the term on April 3, with the exception of seven schools in the Kimberley which were all closing today.

In South Australia, students will finish school on April 3 instead of April 9. The four days from Monday April 6 to April 9 will be classified as pupil-free days, The Advertiser reports.

Catholic Education SA assistant director Bruno Vieceli said his sector was “preparing for a different way of being a school”.

“Many schools have already been working on this for weeks and the four pupil-free days are a wonderful resource for our teachers to continue that work,” he said.

FULL STORY

Queensland schools to become ‘pupil free’ from next Monday, Catholic schools included (The Catholic Leader)

Government workers denied coronavirus leave if home schooling (ABC News)

SA schools extend Easter holiday for students so teachers can learn how to work in the future (The Advertiser

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