Inadequate resources, COVID-19, excessive workloads and an eighteen-month pay freeze have all contributed to a perfect storm in Queensland schools. Teacher shortages, high rates of absenteeism and a lack of relief teachers are pushing staff to breaking point. But teachers at Sarina State High School, south of Mackay, recently took a stand, voting to take unprecedented strike action.
In what seemed to be a welcome response to the surging COVID cases in Queensland, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk recently announced a two-week delay to the start of the school year to avoid schools reopening during what is expected to be a peak in infections. However, the devil is in the detail: the delay is far from adequate and risks the health of teachers and students from 24 January.