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It’s school gym, but not as we know it

Back it school: St John Vianney’s Primary School, Manly students Siobhan O’Neill and Olivia Gerhke catch up on some reading time together in the boat cabin of the school’s new nautical-themed playground.

THE chance to shout “Ahoy there”, climbing nets and steering the boat was a delight for youngsters at St John Vianney’s Primary School, Manly, returning to school to explore their new “nautical” playground after weeks of social isolation spent at home.

“A prayer of blessing was offered, a ribbon was cut and ‘champagne’ (soda water) was broken on the boats bow,” the school’s assistant principal religious education Julia McLean said.

“We began planning and dreaming the new playground in late 2019 when students, parents and staff were all consulted.

“The three classes of Prep children moved effortlessly around the space exploring everything on offer with sheer delight on their faces.”

Face-to-face learning is making a welcome return at 307 Catholic schools across Queensland as part of phased easing of coronavirus restrictions.

Seniors, kindy, prep and Year 1 students are back in classrooms and if the state continues to record very low cases of coronavirus, all students will be back from Monday, May 25.

Logan’s John Paul College principal Karen Spiller said she was proud of how her students had tackled online learning for the last four weeks.

“The students have all said the online learning has been wonderful,” she told 7News.

Post lockdown school life will come with a few changes to ensure the health of students and staff.

The emphasis will be on ensuring students regularly wash their hands, use sanitiser, and do not take part in large gatherings like school assemblies.

And it will be up to teachers to ensure they maintain a safe distance from students.

Staff rooms will have strict social distancing rules and be spread out into under-utilised parts of schools wherever possible.

Queensland’s chief health officer Jeanette Young identified pick-up and drop-off zones as the highest risk area for disease transmission.

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