A primary school has banned parents from entering its grounds at pick-up and drop-off times in a desperate bid to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Aitken Hill Primary School, in Craigieburn in Melbourne’s north, announced the stringent new measures on Monday.
‘During the afternoon, again we ask that parents do not enter the school grounds. We will let students leave as normal except for the Prep students,’ the school wrote in a letter to parents.
‘The Prep team and the leadership team will coordinate their dismissal. Our teachers are planning for student learning at home should our school be closed.
‘At this stage, there is no direction from the Department of Education to close our school or others.’
Aitken Hill Primary School, in Craigieburn in Melbourne’s north, announced the changes on Monday
Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton (front) argued the decision not to close schools was based on how the disease presented in children, and to avoid busy health and emergency workers being forced to look after their kids
‘Our teachers, support staff and leaders are very visible and welcoming in our school, and it’s hard for us to not interact with our community as we normally would.’
The school said the measures are temporary and will continue to update parents as they receive information from the Department of Education and Training.
Other schools in Victoria have not been told to close but some private schools across the state – such as Ballarat Grammar, Carey Baptist Grammar School, Loreto Mandeville Hall, St Kevin’s and Yeshiva-Beth Rivkah College – have decided to shut their gates.
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 407
New South Wales: 210
South Australia: 20
Western Australia: 28
Northern Territory: 1
Australian Capital Territory: 2
TOTAL CASES: 407
Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton argued the decision not to close schools was based on how the disease presented in children, and to avoid busy health and emergency workers being forced to look after their kids.
‘There is currently limited information on the contribution of children to transmission of COVID-19,’ he wrote in a statement.
‘For pre-emptive school closures to be effective, prolonged closure is required and it would be unclear when they could be re-opened.
‘If there were still a large pool of susceptible students when schools are re-opened, there would be likely to be re-emergence of transmission in the community.’
Some of Victoria’s biggest universities are moving classes online after a state of emergency was declared in Victoria to deal with the spread of COVID-19.
La Trobe, Monash and Swinburne universities announced on Monday night that from Tuesday all classes will be suspended until the end of the week so staff can prepare for online learning.
Swinburne University will pause lectures until next week, while those at La Trobe and Monash will be recorded and made available online.
Schools in New South Wales have adopted social distancing measures, including cancelling assemblies, excursions and travel, as well as some events and conferences in a bid to slow the spread of the virus.
The Association of Independent Schools of NSW said some of its 500 schools will start teaching students remotely.
St Christopher’s Catholic Primary School in Panania in Sydney’s southwest closed on Monday after a person who attended an event hosted by the school tested positive for the disease.
The University of Technology Sydney has paused all lectures, tutorials and classes for a week.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison told the Today Show on Monday he was following the advice of the nation’s top doctors and still sending his children to school.
‘My kids are going to school. I trust the medical advice of those who are responsible for the medical health of our nation,’ Mr Morrison said.
A statement from the Department of Health and Human Services was sent to schools on Monday amid the COVID-19 outbreak
St Christopher’s Catholic Primary School in Panania in Sydney’s southwest closed on Monday after a person who attended an event hosted by the school tested positive for the disease
‘They don’t consider these things idly, they consider them very carefully. It’s a fact that younger people are less at risk and there are greater risks in school closures.’
There have now been more than 368 cases of coronavirus in Australia, and five people have died.
Globally at least 7,100 have died and 181,800 have been infected.
A state of emergency was declared on Monday to enforce the national 14-day isolation sanctions on all travellers coming into Australia, announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on the weekend.
Anyone returning from overseas will have to self-isolate or risk fines of up to $20,000, while police officers will have the power to can detain people, restrict movement and prevent entry to premises.
Sydney’s Epping Boys High School was briefly closed a fortnight ago after a 16-year-old student tested positive to COVID-19