Which Sydney Schools Have Closed Due To Coronavirus?
Coronavirus has got the world in a state of panic, and rightly so. The COVID-19 virus is spreading with the determination of a bushfire and us Australians are certainly feeling its chutzpah with travel bans, empty supermarket shelves, spectators banned from the Grand Prix, and the threat of mass school closures looming.
If you're a parent with kids in school, you're no doubt anxious about sending your child to school with the threat of them returning with coronavirus symptoms. With schools closing in NSW as well as Victoria almost on a weekly basis, Sydney parents can't help but wonder which school will close next, are we headed for mass school closures, and how will this affect me as a working parent?
As of March 22, 2020, the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee that guides health emergencies has advised that schools should remain open.
School Closures In Sydney
As Australia tries to batten down the hatches against the spread of coronavirus, temporary school closures are likely to keep happening. According to Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan, "School closures will become the norm as we go ahead, but we are doing everything we can to keep our children safe. Schools have been closed for a day so they can be thoroughly cleaned. That is the best medical advice that we’re being given at the moment. If that changes and it says that schools need to close for longer, then schools will close for longer."
The Sydney schools he's referring to are:
Katoomba High School, Blue Mountains
St Patrick’s Marist College, Dundas
Willoughby Girls High School, Willoughby
Epping Boys High School, Epping
St Christopher's Catholic Primary School, Panania
Normanhurst West Public School (closed for two days (March 23) after a staff member tested positive to coronavirus.
These Sydney schools have all faced closures for up to 2 days after students and an adult member of a school community developed symptoms consistent with COVID-19. NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has advised that while schools are closed, parents should try "Not to panic but to make sure your child stays home."
Social Distancing At Schools
While the decision has been made by Prime Minister Scott Morrison to keep NSW schools open for now, the NSW Department of Education has adopted social distancing measures at public schools as a precaution to limit the spread of coronavirus. This includes cancelling excursions, interschool arts and sports events, and assemblies.
What Do School Closures Mean For Working Parents?
The other concern on parents' minds is, what do I do as a working parent if my child has to stay home from school? Working parents are going to be affected in different ways and depending on how much help they can get from family, neighbours, and friends. Managing kids during school holidays is bad enough, but what if we now have to deal with extra days off of school due to school closures. It's an unfortunate reality that many parents might just have to bite the bullet and take time off work. School bans across Sydney may force employers to enable remote working for its employees if possible and also to consider flexibility around work hours for parents with kids home from school.
The good news, for the time being, is that school closures due to coronavirus cases have only been temporary. Australia is very fortunate to be behind other countries in terms of how rapidly COVID-19 is spreading, awarding us the bonus of being able to learn and prepare accordingly.
Where To Get Help
If you are feeling stressed or concerned about the coronavirus in Australia or would like to keep up-to-date with health alerts, visit the Australian Government Department of Health.
In Other News
Have you signed up to our newsletter? Join ellaslist to get the best family and kid-friendly events, venues, classes and things to do NEAR YOU!