BACK IN CLASS: Charlotte Orenshaw is in Year 12 at St Catherine's Catholic College and will return to school next week.
BACK IN CLASS: Charlotte Orenshaw is in Year 12 at St Catherine's Catholic College and will return to school next week.

St Cath’s principal relieved as students gear up for return

SCHOOLS across the region are bracing for the return of students next week with one principal saying he was relieved to hear the news.

Students in kindergarten, prep and Years 1, 11 and 12 will return to school next Monday.

The state government will then reassess the situation on May 15 for the rest of the grades with the intention of sending all students back on May 25.

Principal at St Catherine's Catholic College in Proserpine, Luke Thomson, said the return of students was welcome news, however he believed all students should have been back in the classroom from May 11.

"I would have liked to see other year levels also return next week," he said.

"I believe that it is a positive move to get children back in the classroom as soon as it is safe and practical to do so."

The back to school announcement on Monday was an acceleration of the state government's original plans for students to return.

In April, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced schools would only be open to vulnerable students and the children of essential workers for at least the first five weeks of term.

Mr Thomson said he did not expect the date to be bought forward but welcomed the return to normal.

"I was surprised that the Government diverted from their initial plan and brought back those year levels two weeks early," he said.

"It demonstrates some flexibility in reacting to the ever-changing situation, a quality that we have all had to embrace over the last six weeks."

The return to school also comes with several suggested directions from the Department of Health including using "alternative learning areas" and adjusting start times to limit contact between classes and year levels, to minimise gatherings and to maximise airflow in teaching and learning spaces.

Come Monday, Mr Thomson said staff at St Catherine's will continue to exercise extra safety measures as well as assess new options to help keep children and teachers safe.

"Prior to the current situation we had made many changes in an effort to ensure student, parent and staff safety," he said.

"These included removal of bubblers and installing more bottle filling stations, cancelling gatherings and assemblies, closure of student lockers, cashless tuckshop, shared resources being allocated to individual students, enhanced cleaning regime and supervised hand sanitation for students.

"We will continue to monitor our procedures and practices and we will be looking closely at pick-up and drop-off, as well as other places where staff, parents or students tend to gather."


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