Australian schools to remain open during COVID-19
National Cabinet met today (16 April 2020) to discuss whether schools should remain open during the coronavirus pandemic and the current evidence supports schools remaining open.
After consultation, the National Cabinet agreed with the AHPPC (Australian Health Protection Principal Committee) advice that “on current evidence, schools can be fully open” along with the “practical guidance and advice” the AHPPC provided school leaders to even further reduce the “relatively low risk” of transmission in schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Summary of the Meeting
- Schools are critical to the delivery of high quality education for students delivered by professional teachers to students in the classroom on a school campus.
- During the COVID-19 pandemic, alternative flexible, remote delivery of education services may be needed.
- Schools must be healthy and safe environments for students, teachers and other staff to ensure the effective and efficient delivery of education to students.
- State and Territory Governments and non-government sector authorities are responsible for managing and making operational decisions for their school systems respectively, subject to compliance with relevant funding agreements with the Commonwealth.
- Decisions regarding the response to COVID-19 in the schooling sector must continue to be informed by expert, official, national and state-based public health and education advice, consistent with these national principles.
- All students must continue to be supported by their school to ensure participation in quality education during the COVID 19 crisis.
- Attendance at a school campus for education represents a very low health risk to students.
- The advice also notes that appropriate practices must be employed at schools, like at other workplaces, to provide a safe working environment for school staff, including teachers, and that the specific AHPPC advice regarding school campuses should be followed.
At the press conference with Stephen Marshall today, he confirmed that South Australian schools will remain open. He pointed out that there has not been any cases of transmission from student to student, or student to teacher (or vice versa) in any schools in South Australia.
In South Australia, the advice from our Chief Public Health Officer is that schools, preschools and early childhood services should remain open. This includes out of school hours care (OSHC).
Parents can however choose to keep their children at home.
The SA Government are providing support through the new online curriculum website Our Learning SA.
A large number of South Australian parents have now taken responsibility for the supervision of their children’s learning at home. There is support for parents and carers who choose to keep their children home during this time.
Students can access learning resources to support their education at home. The website will support students, teachers and families by complementing their classroom education. It links to curated curriculum resources across all learning areas taught in Australian schools and preschools.
The new website supports:
- continued learning between school and home
- students – with opportunities to work independently
- parents and caregivers – with resources and guidance to support learning at home
- teachers – with resources to teach the Australian curriculum.
At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.
Image Source: Australian Government – Department of Health website
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