THE disruption from closing down schools during the coronavirus pandemic would be "severe", Prime Minister Scott Morrison says.
(min cost $8)
Login or signup to continue reading
Despite some calls for shutdowns, public schools across Australia will remain open, he said on Wednesday morning.
"As a father I'm happy for my kids to go to school," Mr Morrison said.
"There's only one reason why your kids shouldn't be going to school, if they are unwell."
Mr Morrison said the disruption from closing down schools would be "severe" on Australia's economy and workforce.
"Any measure you put in place you must be prepared to put in place for six months, maybe longer," he said.
"There is a national public interest in keeping schools open."
Mr Morrison will meet with independent and Catholic schools later on Wednesday to discuss this situation.
Any measure you put in place you must be prepared to put in place for six months, maybe longer.- Prime Minister Scott Morrison
Australian Community Media asked the NSW Department of Education if parents or carers had already removed their children from schools due to the coronavirus. The department did not respond.
A spokesman did, however, issue a statement to say it was working closely with NSW Health and following its expert medical advice.
"Unless a student is required to self-isolate in accordance with current travel restrictions or due to being identified by NSW Health as a close contact to a confirmed COVID-19 case the expectation is that students will attend school as normal," the spokesman said.
The department spokesman said students who had complex health care needs have in place a Health Care Plan.
"Schools will discuss with parents appropriate arrangements on a case by case basis to support those student's needs," he said.
"As in all situations the department will take into consideration the circumstances regarding a student's absence prior to making any decisions regarding further follow up and potential action."
The spokesman said schools must provide adequate hand washing facilities with soap.
"If a school is not following this rule, parents should report this to the department," he said.
"Schools have been reminded that hand washing with soap is the single most effective way to reduce the spread of COVID-19."
We have removed our paywall from our stories about the coronavirus. This is a rapidly changing situation and we want to make sure our readers are as informed as possible. If you would like to support our journalists you can subscribe here.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.