Schools, and by extension ECEC centres, to remain open PM confirms in latest update

Schools, and by extension ECEC centres, to remain open PM confirms in latest update

by Jason Roberts

March 18, 2020

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed that there are, at this juncture, no plans to shut down schools, and by extension early childhood education and care (ECEC) centres, as a containment measure to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

 

Speaking at a press conference in Canberra Mr Morrison said “The health advice here, supported by all the Premiers, all the Chief Ministers and my Government is that schools should remain open.”

 

Chief Medical Officer Dr Brendan Murphy added “We believe very strongly that it is in the best interest of our children and the nation at this time to keep schools open.”

 

The update will come as a relief for the ECEC sector which has been deeply concerned by the spectre of complete shutdowns and the catastrophic impact they would have on the educators and providers operating in the sector, after several high profile politicians such as Victorian Premier Dan Andrews had signaled closures were an inevitability

 

Dr Murphy went on to note that “We need to make sure that our schools are made as safe as possible. We need to make sure that no sick child goes to school. We need to make sure that no sick teacher goes to school” advice which extends to ECEC settings and “children should be washing their hands regularly, particularly when they’re eating and particularly when they’re touching common areas.”

 

During the press conference the following additional updates to COVID-19 containment measures were been put in place:

 

  • New travel advice for Australians – A level-four travel ban has been put in place indefinitely which advises no international travel whatsoever for the foreseeable future.
  • Gatherings of 100 people or more – A non essential indoor gathering ban of 100 people or more has been put in place, in addition to the existing 500 or more ban for outdoor gatherings
  • Visiting aged care facilities – New measures have been put in place for visitors of aged care facilities including specific bars on people who have returned from overseas, have been in contact with COVID-19 cases and/or are ill themselves. Visitation protocols have also been tightened up although special circumstances will be applied for end of life situations. 

 

For more information and links to key COVID-19 related resources please click on The Sector’s COVID-19 resource page here

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