Scott Morrison wants ALL schools to reopen by Anzac Day – despite some states telling parents to keep their kids at home over COVID-19 fears
- Prime Minister Scott Morrison said students should be back in class Anzac Day
- ACT and Victoria have closed schools while they stay open in rest of the country
- Most states said attendance was optional amid the coronavirus lockdowns
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said he wants to see all Australian students back in school by Anzac Day despite some states telling students to remain at home.
Across most of the country schools remain open unless a case of coronavirus is detected, except for the Australian Capital Territory and Victoria, which have brought the Easter holidays forward so students stay home.
Schools in New South Wales will remain open despite reports that only a quarter of students are attending classes across the state after premier Gladys Berejiklian said attendance was optional.
A group of school students at Queen Street mall in central Brisbane on Tuesday after the Queensland premier advised schools to remain open
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said he wants to see all students back in school by Anzac Day (file image)
‘This is not something that we do lightly,’ Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said.
He added that the shutdowns were ‘consistent with the health advice provided by the Victorian chief health officer.’
Mr Andrews also said he would take advice from the chief health officer on whether to reopen schools after the holidays.
Queensland schools remain open, however, the elite Anglican Church Grammar School in Brisbane was closed on March 25 after a case of coronavirus was confirmed.
‘Students who arrive at school today will be safely accommodated in the Prep and Senior School administration areas for collecting as soon as possible,’ the school said.
‘The School will provide further advice to the Churchie community as soon as possible today regarding operations for Thursday and Friday.’
Scott Morrison held a meeting with the Australian Education Union on Wednesday morning to discuss what arrangements can be put in place to keep schools open in some form.
Mr Morrison said it was his expectation all schools would reopen after the Easter break, around Anzac Day, but recognised many might have switched to distance learning.
‘It’s going to be a tough year in 2020 and one of the things I don’t want to have yielded up is a year of a child’s education,’ he told reporters.
He says it’s vital that essential workers – who he defined as anyone with a job – were able to send their kids to school if they needed in order to keep earning.
He also said it was important frontline health workers were able to keep working.
SCHOOL CLOSURES STATE BY STATE AS OF MARCH 25
NEW SOUTH WALES
Premier said on Monday schools will remain open but parents should keep children at home where possible.
Easter Holidays start on April 13.
Schools that have confirmed cases of coronavirus will close.
Schools will close.
The Easter holidays were brought forward by a week to start on Tuesday.
Schools remain open but will shut individual schools if a case of COVID-19 is detected.
School Easter Holidays start April 3.
AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
Schools close from Tuesday.
Schools remain open unless identified with a case of the coronavirus.
Some private schools have shifted to online learning.
From Tuesday schools are open but it is optional for students to attend.
Schools remain open and the Premier has requested students to keep attending school.
Schools remain open but attendance is optional.
Scott Morrison held a meeting with the Australian Education Union on Wednesday morning about what can be put in place to keep schools open in some form
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said it was also safer to keep children in schools than spread out in the community or come into contact with vulnerable people.
‘We know that some of those children who have not been at school have been mixing in shopping centres, milling in groups, or being with grandparents,’ he told ABC TV on Wednesday.
The medical advice continues to be that it is safe to send children to schools, but if there is a coronavirus outbreak in any particular institution it would be shut temporarily.
‘We do not see children, fit, healthy children, as vulnerable people with this virus and schools can do a lot of things to make them a safe place to be with good hygiene,’ chief medical officer Brendan Murphy told reporters.
‘Of course, we need to do measures to protect vulnerable teachers, because older teachers with chronic disease shouldn’t be in schools.’
What those measures might be is one of the topics for discussion with the unions.
It is understood no decisions have yet been made on how the disruptions to schools would affect Year 12 exams.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison cooks sausages with daughter Lily (centre) alongside the NSW Liberal candidate for Miranda, Eleni Petinos at the Sylvania Heights Public School, on 2019 New South Wales election day