Eight more schools to re-open; schools recovery coordinator appointed

Eight more state schools in the Townsville region will re-open tomorrow , taking the total number of schools re-opened to 20.

Communities Minister Coralee O’Rourke said the schools re-opening tomorrow were: Airville, Halifax, Mutarnee, Osborne, Ravenswood, Townsville Central, Townsville South and Townsville West state schools.

“At the flood’s peak there were 56 state schools closed across Townsville and the surrounding area,” Ms O’Rourke said.

“The re-opening of each school is another milestone for the community, but there is a long way to go. I again thank school staff, parents and others who have helped ensure these schools are ready for students.”

Meanwhile, Education Minister Grace Grace today announced the appointment of a Disaster Recovery Coordinator to assist flood-ravaged state schools to get back to normal.

Ms Grace said highly experienced Department of Education executive director Hayley Stevenson would spearhead recovery efforts for state schools in the region.

“We have a long way to go before we can say we are out of this disaster, but I want the community to know that we’re doing everything we can to help schools get back on their feet,” she said.

“That’s why I have moved quickly to appoint Ms Stevenson to provide a coordinated approach to the major operational aspects of the recovery process for our schools.

“She will streamline the recovery effort in relation to all administrative, human resources, financial and information and technology issues impacting on affected schools.”

She said Ms Stevenson was well-placed to provide these services, with extensive experience in State School Operations and her time as Acting Assistant Director-General State Schools.

Ms Grace said her Department was continuing to work with other Government agencies to determine the capacity of flood-affected state schools to reopen safely.

She said assessments were being undertaken in state schools across the Townsville region, where it is safe to do so, to determine the extent of any flood damage that has occurred.

“These teams will identify the clean-up that is needed and the remedial work that is required before schools can reopen,” Ms Grace said.

Ms Grace said should any state schools be seriously damaged and students were unable to return, alternative suitable arrangements would be provided in consultation with students, parents and school staff.

Parents are still encouraged to check the status of their school on the Department’s school closures website at https://closures.det.qld.gov.au/

“While it’s wonderful that some state schools have been able to re-open, it is going to be a more gradual process for other schools that have suffered greater damage,” she said.

Ms Grace said Ms Stevenson was already putting in place processes through which staff and students could access other important support services, including providing access to support agencies such as Headspace, Lifeworks and Kids Helpline.

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