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03 May 2020

Victoria Has It Right on Schools

Remember a few months ago when we were being told the “there is no evidence of human to human transmission of COVID19”? Of course it was obvious to anyone with the most basic knowledge of epidemiology that that was nonsense.

Then there was the advice that “Shaking hands and going to the gym are safe.”

Until they weren’t.

Then we were told “Go to the footie”. When a pandemic had been declared!

Now we are hearing that “schools are safe and physical distancing doesn’t apply to classrooms because “there’s no evidence of children infecting teachers”.

There just isn’t enough evidence to make that statement with any degree of confidence.

And one of New Zealand’s largest outbreaks was in a school community in Auckland.

A German study has found that children can carry levels of the coronavirus as high as adults and they warned against “an unlimited reopening of schools and kindergartens in the present situation.”

Teachers across Australia have worked so hard to set up remote learning, with schools remaining open for children whose parents are not able to home school them. We have right balance.

We must not take risks with the health of children and teachers and school administration staff, especially while there is still a high degree of uncertainty.

I agree with the Victorian government that now is not the time to relax the precautions in schools.