Victoria shuts down its schools and brings back remote learning for ALL students in a bid to control coronavirus outbreak
Victoria is set to shut down schools and re-introduce remote learning for all students in a desperate attempt to control the coronavirus outbreak.
Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed that stage four restrictions will be introduced on Sunday as Victoria recorded 671 new cases and seven deaths as a result of COVID-19.
Mr Andrews announced that students will return to learning at home as schools and childcare facilities will be closed.
‘From Wednesday we will move to flexible and remote learning for all students in all schools right across the state,’ Mr Andrews told reporters.
‘For metropolitan Melbourne, the Year 11 and 12s will go back to working from home.’
‘Special schools will remain open for those who really need to be in those settings.’
Students of parents who need to keep working will be allowed to go to school and be supervised, but only if it is absolutely necessary, the premier said.
Children will go to school as usual on Monday, followed by a pupil-free day on Tuesday to allow schools to prepare for remote learning before the new rules come into place on Wednesday.
‘We’ll be reducing the total amount of students that are at school and therefore the total amount of movement,’ Mr Andrews said.
‘In regional Victoria, they will move to remote and flexible learning for all students but there will be, I think, larger numbers of students that are allowed to be at school because their parents are working.’
Mr Andrews said it has been a ‘difficult decision’ but said he has made ‘tough choices’ because they will ‘keep us safe and get us past this’.
Childcare facilities in Melbourne will only be open to children of essential workers.
Meanwhile, childcare services in regional Victoria will remain open and continue to have stage three restrictions.
Minister for Education James Merlino told reporters the public health decision making was made to stop movement.
‘These changes going to stage four in Melbourne and stage three in regional Victoria will mean we go from 700,000 students learning remotely to around 1 million students learning remotely, their parents and carers not moving around the community, and teachers and staff are working predominantly from home as well,’ he said.
Stage four restrictions will come into place from 6pm Sunday and require residents to adhere to a strict curfew between 8pm and 5am, unless they are seeking care or working.
Only one person from each household is allowed to go shopping each day and residents can only exercise for one hour a day, within five kilometres of the home.
The restrictions, including remote learning, will run for six weeks and are set to be reevaluated on September 13.
Mr Andrews has declared the six weeks a ‘state of disaster’ in addition to the state’s ongoing ‘state of emergency’.
‘This means that police and others have additional powers,’ the premier said.
‘We can suspend various acts of the parliament and make sure that we get the job done and there’s no question about the enforceability and the way in which new rules will operate.’