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The reason why Victoria’s schools haven’t been closed

Ross and John
Article image for The reason why Victoria’s schools haven’t been closed

Parents are being told there’s no evidence to support the closure of all Victorian schools yet, despite the decision to ban public mass gatherings of 500 people or more.

The president of the Victorian branch of the Australian Medical Association, Associate Professor Julian Rait, says the decision not to close schools is based around evidence out of China.

“I think the reason is there’s some experience out of China that would suggest schools are at a much less risk than other large gatherings,” he told Ross and John.

“The experience out of China is that the schools pose less of a risk and in fact, it’s adult to adult transmission that’s driving COVID-19.”

This afternoon, St Leonards College in Brighton East principal Stuart Davis announced to parents the school would create a “student free zone” and move to an online approach from Tuesday 17 March, until further notice.

“To ensure the continued health and wellbeing of our College community and to facilitate the ongoing educational development of our students, we will be transitioning to our online learning model effective tomorrow,” the statement read.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told the TODAY Show schools were taking the necessary precautions, banning assemblies and big gatherings.

“The medical advice from the chief health officers of the states and territories and of the Commonwealth, are not recommending the universal wide closure of schools,” he said.

“Children, on the medical advice are those at the lower risk end, it’s more at the elderly level are at risk.”

To date, only a handful of Victorian schools have closed including Loreto Mandeville Hall’s Toorak campus, Carey Baptist Grammar School and Geelong Grammar has announced term 1 will end early as a pre-emptive measure.

Lowther Hall Anglican Grammar School is closed today after members of the wider school community came in contact with confirmed COVID-19 cases.

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Image: Getty Images, JohnnyGreig

Ross and John