Victoria shuts down its schools and brings back remote learning for ALL students in a bid to control coronavirus outbreak
- Melbourne goes into Stage 4 lockdown from 6pm on Sunday and rest to Stage 3
- Curfew bans anyone being out 8pm-5am unless working or on medical grounds
- Premier Daniel Andrews announced schools will be closed to control outbreak
- Students will go back to at-home learning for the duration of the six-weeks
Victoria is set to shut down schools and re-introduce remote learning for students in a desperate attempt to control the coronavirus outbreak.
Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed that stage four restrictions will be introduced on Sunday as Victoria recorded 671 new cases and seven deaths as a result of COVID-19.
Melbourne will to go into strict Stage Four lockdown from 6pm on Sunday until at least September 13, during which students will go back to at-home learning.
‘From Wednesday we will move to flexible and remote learning for all students in all schools right across the state,’ Mr Andrews told reporters.
‘For metropolitan Melbourne, the Year 11 and 12s will go back to working from home.’
‘Special schools will remain open for those who really need to be in those settings.’
Victoria is set to shut down schools and re-introduce remote learning for all students in a desperate attempt to control the coronavirus outbreak (stock image of school students)
Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed that stage four restrictions will be introduced on Sunday as Victoria recorded 671 new cases and seven deaths as a result of COVID-19
Students of parents who need to keep working will be allowed to go to school and be supervised, but only if it is absolutely necessary, the premier said.
Children will go to school as usual on Monday, followed by a pupil-free day on Tuesday to allow schools to prepare for remote learning before the new rules come into place on Wednesday.
‘We’ll be reducing the total amount of students that are at school and therefore the total amount of movement,’ Mr Andrews said.
‘In regional Victoria, they will move to remote and flexible learning for all students but there will be, I think, larger numbers of students that are allowed to be at school because their parents are working.’
Mr Andrews said it has been a ‘difficult decision’ but said he has made ‘tough choices’ because they will ‘keep us safe and get us past this’.
Childcare facilities in Melbourne will only be open to children of essential workers.
Meanwhile, childcare services in regional Victoria will remain open and continue to have stage three restrictions.
Regional Victoria will go back into Stage 3 lockdown from 11.59pm on Wednesday as the virus spreads beyond hardest-hit Melbourne.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews made the shock announcement on Sunday (a woman reading with her face mask on in Melbourne on Wednesday is pictured)
‘From Wednesday we will move to flexible and remote learning for all students in all schools right across the state,’ Mr Andrews told reporters on Sunday
Minister for Education James Merlino told reporters the public health decision making was made to stop movement.
‘These changes going to stage four in Melbourne and stage three in regional Victoria will mean we go from 700,000 students learning remotely to around 1 million students learning remotely, their parents and carers not moving around the community, and teachers and staff are working predominantly from home as well,’ he said.
The move to harsher restrictions comes as coronavirus cases continue to yo-yo, more than halfway through the state’s initial six-week lockdown.
Mr Andrews has declared the six weeks a ‘state of disaster’ in addition to the state’s ongoing ‘state of emergency’.
‘This means that police and others have additional powers,’ the premier said.
‘We can suspend various acts of the parliament and make sure that we get the job done and there’s no question about the enforceability and the way in which new rules will operate.’
Police officers give chase to a skateboarder who refused to wear a facemask in Melbourne
Mr Andrews announced that students will return to learning at home as schools and childcare facilities will be closed for up to six weeks (stock image of school students)
The restrictions will come into place from 6pm Sunday and will run for six weeks before being reevaluated on September 13.
‘If we don’t make these changes, we’re not going to get through this,’ Mr Andrews told reporters.
‘We need to do more. That is what these decisions are about.’
Under the ‘stage four’ restrictions, Melbourne residents will only be allowed to exercise for an hour a day and can’t travel more than 5km from home for the purpose of shopping.
Only one person from each household will be able to go to the shops each day.
Metropolitan Melbourne will be under a nightly curfew, between the hours of 8pm to 5am, from Sunday night with some exemptions for those providing care and travelling to and from work.
Regional Victoria will move to ‘stage three’ restrictions, with restaurants, cafes, bars, gyms and other businesses to shut from midnight on Wednesday.
The looming harsher lockdown prompted thousands to flock to shops across Melbourne in a new round of panic buying
The Victorian government released a breakdown of active COVID-19 cases by postcode on Friday afternoon after recording the second highest number of new daily cases since the pandemic began – another 627 cases and eight deaths
The premier flagged further announcements would be made about workplaces on Monday, including the closure of certain industries.
‘I want to ensure all Victorians supermarkets, the butcher, the baker, food, beverage, groceries, those types of settings, there will be no impact there,’ he said.
Mr Andrews said the extremely tight restrictions was necessary to prevent to the lockdown dragging on until Christmas.
‘Six weeks versus a slower strategy. A much, much slower strategy that takes up to six months,’ he said.
‘I’m not prepared to accept that or accept days and days and days of hundreds of cases and more and more death.
Victoria recorded seven new deaths from coronavirus on Sunday, taking the national toll to 208, along with 671 new cases.
Six of the deaths were connected to the age care sector.
Seventy-three of the new cases are linked to known outbreaks while 598 remain under investigation.
COVID-19 cases in Victoria
Victorian premier Daniel Andrews announced 397 new coronavirus cases had been recorded on Saturday.
The state continues to struggle to contain the outbreak and has consistently broken national records on both daily new COVID-19 cases and deaths.
August 2: 671 new cases and seven deaths
August 1: 397 new COVID-19 cases and three deaths
July 31: 627 new COVID-19 cases and eight deaths
July 30: 723 new COVID-19 cases and 13 deaths
July 29: 295 new COVID-19 cases and nine deaths
July 28: 384 new COVID-19 cases and six deaths
July 27: 532 new COVID-19 cases and six deaths
July 26: 459 new COVID-19 cases and 10 deaths
July 25: 357 new COVID-19 cases and five deaths
July 24: 300 new COVID-19 cases and seven deaths
July 23: 403 new COVID-19 cases and five deaths