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Mixed Message on Schools Creating Confusion

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Tags: Health, COVID-19, Schools

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Health spokesperson

The disconnect and mixed messages from government imposing strict physical distancing measures and not closing schools is creating confusion within the community.

Many parents, teachers and school children in a state of anxiety over the potential public health risk. There is also a risk the physical distancing message - necessary to combat the spread of the coronavirus - may be compromised by confusion.

There is strong health evidence that children can pass the virus to other people. Allowing students to mingle in the school environment runs against medical advice that aims to contain this disease.

The Premier has stressed the importance of parents keeping a tight rein on children who are being kept home from school. The government, however, maintains that schools, where a large number of children are kept in close proximity, are not considered significant transmission problems.

This is a very different approach from that taken by NSW, Victoria, the ACT and New Zealand.

Parents are being told children having sleepovers or going away for school holidays shouldn’t happen, yet everyday close social interactions in the classroom, playground and school bus are fine.

Medical evidence and the experience of other countries in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic tells us every day we delay effective social distancing is a day too long.

The Premier is correct – the COVID-19 threat is serious, and the lost jobs of thousands of people should not be in vain.

We strongly urge the Gutwein Government to recognise the risks and close schools to all but the children of health and emergency workers.