Scott Morrison issues a bleak warning about economy

Another month of pain: Australia will be in lock down for another four weeks as Scott Morrison announces the three benchmarks that Australia needs to hit before restrictions are lifted

Scott Morrison has listed the three things that need to be in place before coronavirus restrictions can be lifted in four weeks’ time.

Wider testing, more rigorous contact tracing involving technology and plans for local lockdowns to combat outbreaks need to be in place.

Baseline restrictions will remain in place for four weeks until these three goals have been achieved.

Australia’s biggest states will be able to relax some of the harsher restrictions before then, if they chose to do so, Mr Morrison said. 

Scott Morrison has listed the three things that need to be in place before coronavirus restrictions can be lifted in four weeks' time

Scott Morrison has listed the three things that need to be in place before coronavirus restrictions can be lifted in four weeks’ time

He also warned that Australia needs to brace for economic strife ahead.     

Schools in New South Wales will re-open within five weeks, Premier Gladys Berejikilan said today.

Term two starts on 27 April and schools will return to some normality three weeks later. 

In her press conference this morning, Ms Berejiklian said: ‘We envisage the school term will be very exactly the same as what the end of term one was like. 

‘However, from week three of term two there will be more face-to-face contact for students.’

Schools in New South Wales will re-open within five weeks, Premier Gladys Berejikilan (pictured) said today

Victoria has no plans to re-introduce face-to-face teaching.

The state’s education secretary James Merlino said today: ‘If you can learn from home you must learn from home.’

He said around three per cent of students were going to school and the rest were at home. 

Schools are open for children who cannot learn from home if their parents have to go to work. 

All states and territories, except the Northern Territory where attendance is compulsory, have made school optional or told parents not to send children to class during the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, was pushing for schools to re-open as the risk of serious infection was very low among that age group – but unions expressed concerns about teacher safety.

Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said the powerful unions were responsible for shutting down schools against the wishes of state premiers.

‘Most of the state governments actually didn’t want to close the schools, it was the parents and the teachers who closed the schools,’ he told a New Zealand parliamentary hearing. 

CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 6,449

New South Wales: 2,886

Victoria: 1,299

Queensland: 999

South Australia: 433

Western Australia: 532

Australian Capital Territory: 103

Tasmania: 169

Northern Territory: 28

TOTAL CASES:  6,449

RECOVERED: 3,624

DEAD: 63

On Tuesday night Mr Morrison released a video asking teachers to agree to go back to work, saying: ‘Your students and their families are relying on you more than ever.’

The President of the Queensland Teachers Union told Mr Morrison to ‘butt out’ and insisted that teachers should not have to attend school.

President Kevin Bates claimed that ‘young people will not suffer’ from learning online – despite strong evidence that children learn far better in a classroom environment. 

But health experts have repeatedly said schools are safe and on Wednesday afternoon Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Coatsworth again re-iterated it was fine for schools to be open.

Children make up only two per cent of coronavirus cases in Australia, he said.

‘It’s the view of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee that schools are safe places because of the low rates of transmission.’ 

He described teachers as ‘essential’ and said the AHPPC will advise the National Cabinet how to make schools even safer so they can re-open.

The National Cabinet will this morning discuss plans to get schools open within three to four weeks, with each state and territory likely to move at different times.

Australia has made significant progress in the fight against coronavirus, with a clear flattening of the curve on the graph that measures the daily infection rate

Australia has made significant progress in the fight against coronavirus, with a clear flattening of the curve on the graph that measures the daily infection rate

Classrooms across the nation were virtually empty toward the end of term one as parents stopped sending their children to school

Classrooms across the nation were virtually empty toward the end of term one as parents stopped sending their children to school

The Prime Minister said teachers are ‘more likely to catch coronavirus in the staffroom than they are in the classroom’ and said he was ‘very concerned’ about current levels of teaching.

‘I kept my kids in school up until the last week because they weren’t getting taught at school in that last week. 

‘They were sitting in a room looking at a screen – that’s not teaching, that’s child minding and schools aren’t for child minding,’ he said. 

HOW AUSTRALIAN SCHOOL STUDENTS WILL LEARN FROM TERM 2

VICTORIA 

  •  Term 2: Wednesday April 15 – Friday June 26
  • Government primary, secondary and special schools move to remote learning and teaching.
  • On site learning available for vulnerable students and children of parents unable to work from home.
  • Government providing free internet and laptops for students who need it.
  • End of year VCE exams moved to December.

QUEENSLAND

  • Term 2: Monday April 20 – Friday June 26
  • Students who are able to learn from home will move to remote online learning.
  • Schools remain open for school staff including teachers, vulnerable students, and children of parents unable to work from home.
  • Government providing sim cards with internet access to students who are unable to access the internet at home.
  • Remote learning measures will be in place until May 22.

NORTHERN TERRITORY

  • Term 2: Monday April 20 – Friday June 26
  • Schools to remain open and students are expected to attend physically.
  • Exceptions can be made for students to learn from home if their parents inform the school.

NEW SOUTH WALES

  • Term 2: Monday April 27 – Friday July 3
  • Students encouraged to stay at home and learn remotely if possible.
  • Schools remain open for those who cannot learn remotely or have parents unable to work from home.
  • NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says the guidelines are unlikely to be changed early in the term.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

  • Term 2: Monday April 27 – Friday July 3
  • Schools remain open, though parents are free to keep their children at home.
  • All schools are providing access to online learning for students who remain at home.
  • Some private schools have transitioned to all online learning.
  • Flexible arrangements put in place to assist students in year 11 and year 12, and it is expected end of year exams will still be conducted for year 12 students.
  • Schools in and between the towns of Nuriootpa, Tanunda, Angaston, Lyndoch and Williamstown closed until further notice due to a cluster of cases in the Barossa Valley.
  • Schools will close for at least 24 hours if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19 to allow all families to be advised and for the site to be cleaned. A site will only re-open on the advice of health authorities.

ACT

  • Term 2: Tuesday April 28 – Friday July 3
  • Students to move to remote learning at home.
  • Some schools will remain open for vulnerable students and the children of essential workers.
  • All students will follow the same curriculum.
  • Government will provide computers and internet devices to students in need.

TASMANIA

  • Term 2: Tuesday April 28 – Friday July 3
  • Students to continue to learn from home where possible.
  • Schools remain open for students whose parents are unable to supervise at home due to work or are unable to support learning at home.
  • Teachers to provide students with school work online, offline or a combination of both. 

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

  • Term 2: Tuesday April 28 – Friday July 3
  • Students were urged to learn remotely from home if their parents are not essential service workers or vulnerable towards the end of term one.
  • All schools provided access to online learning for students at home.
  • Students will complete their Year 12 exams this year, but they may be shorter and start a couple of weeks later.
  • School holidays are being used to develop an education model for term two and beyond.
  • It is unclear whether students will receive their usual report cards in term two, but there will be some form of feedback.
  • If anyone at a school tests positive for COVID-19, the school will be temporarily closed for tracing and cleaning.

SOURCE: AUSTRALIAN ASSOCIATED PRESS 

 

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