Attendance drops as parents not waiting for school closures
PARENTS are pulling their kids out of school at unprecedented rates as they refuse to wait for governments ramp up lockdown, as some schools have nearly half its students away and only 65 per cent Southeast Queensland kids at school this week.
Live data obtained from the Department of Education reveals that attendance averaged at Southeast Queensland schools between 65 per cent and 69 per cent on Tuesday.
Attendance has dropped on a statewide average from a high of 94.7 per cent of students in week one of this term to current levels in week 9 at only 70.2 per cent of Queensland kids were at school across Monday and Tuesday.
Last week, during Week 8, live data showed daily attendance ranged from 79.6% to 85.0%.
It is understood, yesterday Wavell State High School had only 46 per cent of students at school.
The latest government advice was that schools were safe and would remain open.
Rife absences at Queensland schools comes as many independent schools move online, including Brisbane Girls Grammar School, Brisbane Boys College and Somerville House, while Anglican Church Grammar School was shut yesterday for cleaning after a parent was diagnosed with coronavirus.
It comes as 19 childcare services were shut yesterday, with all but one centre closures reportedly related to the impact of coronavirus.
QTU president Kevin Bates said the rate of student absence was increasing rapidly, with some schools with only 50 per cent of students attending.
"That's about parents saying they're not waiting for a decision from the government [to close schools]," he said.
"I'm aware of another tranche of reports from our contacts talking about very large numbers of students missing from a range of schools.
"That's going to be the case, parents will continue to make those choices in the circumstances, if we don't get a decision about school closure and I'm hoping it will be sooner rather than later."
In a statement, Brisbane Catholic Education said following public health advice schools would stay open.
"Some parents and caregivers have chosen to keep students at home at this time - we understand and respect this decision," a spokesman said.
"However, a large majority of our students continue to attend school each day.
"Over the last week, the average attendance each day across our 142 schools has topped 80 per cent of students."
Independent Schools Queensland executive director David Robertson said in 2019 student attendance rates for the independent schooling sector in Queensland were at 93 per cent.
However, he said amid the coronavirus pandemic, independent schools have been reporting higher rates of absenteeism than normal, with rates varying significantly from school to school and across the state.
"Absenteeism has been trending up, particularly in the past two weeks, as the coronavirus outbreak has escalated and governments have ramped up nationwide containment measures and restrictions," he said.
"It's clear that many parents, who have the capacity to care for their children at home, are making that decision.
"Independent schools are facing extraordinary pressures on a number of fronts, including providing dual school-based and home-based learning programs as well as supporting families who have lost their jobs."
Term 1 Attendance
Weekly attendance rate range (%)
70.2 - 72.9
79.6 - 85.0
88.4 - 91.8
89.2 - 91.9
90.4 - 92.5
89.4 - 92.2
89.7 - 92.5
89.9 - 93.6
92.6 - 94.7
Data is sourced from One School live data on 25 March and is subject to change after further verification processes.
Originally published as Parents not waiting for school closures