Urgent coronavirus alert for school parents: Keep your children home

Thousands of parents have received this message

Editor / January 28 2020

Hundreds of thousands of parents across the nation have received offical alerts from schools and daycares advising them to keep their children at home.

With the global health pandemic coronavirus affecting countries around the world there is a real threat to the Australian public.

Tonight parents of school children have had official emails notifying them to keep children at home for up to 14 days.

The New South Wales government has advised parents with children who have recently returned from China to refrain from returning to school for two weeks due to the ongoing spread of the coronavirus.

In a statement released to schools and parents they said:

"I've been advised that it's not medically necessary, but the NSW Government has acted in line with community expectations to ensure the safest possible environment for our students," Health Minister Brad Hazzard.

"The internationally recognised incubation period for the coronavirus is 14 days, so this is the logical timeframe to ask students to refrain from attending school. After this time, there is no risk.

"Advice about not attending school has already been provided to any close contacts of confirmed cases."

NSW Health has been contacting passengers who were on the same planes as confirmed cases to provide appropriate advice and has processes in place to identify any close contacts of cases confirmed in Australia.

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said the Department of Education has issued guidance to schools and childcare services across NSW on protocols in the event of a child becoming sick.

"Although the risk remains very low for children, we believe it is the right thing to do to take this extra step and will continue to update the community with advice," Ms Mitchell said.

There are currently four confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in NSW. All cases had travelled to Wuhan, China or had contact with a confirmed case in China.

Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy has reiterated the warning signs of coronavirus saying: "Our most important thing now is for those who have come back from China in the last two weeks, whom developed flu-like symptoms, particularly if they’ve come from the Hubei Province of China, they need to call ahead to their GP or their emergency department, tell them of their travel history and get tested."


Stuartholme Boarding School

Stuartholme Boarding School

Earlier today Stuartholme School in Toowong, Queensland, has told parents that 10 students from mainland China will be quarantined to a single floor of its boarding house for 14 days.

The Toowong girls' school said the students will undergo daily checks by a nurse before being allowed to attend class.

Principal Kristen Sharpe said in a letter to parents "under the advice of Queensland Health, our returning students will be isolated to their own floor of the Boarding House for a period of 14 days".

"Every day, the nurses from our health centre will undertake a medical assessment of the students to check for any signs of illness," Ms Sharpe said.

"During the 14-day period, students will be allowed to attend classes.

"Please remember that they will only be allowed to do this if they have not presented with any signs of being unwell during the morning assessment."

Ms Sharpe said a Chinese boarder who lived "within the quarantine area will not be returning to Stuartholme until the quarantine is lifted".


Medical personnel wearing protective suits. Image: Getty.

Medical personnel wearing protective suits. Image: Getty.

Parents with concerns can contact their local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055 for advice.

Anyone who develops a fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath within 14 days of travel to Hubei or contact with a person with confirmed coronavirus, should immediately isolate themselves from other people, contact their GP or local emergency department or call the healthdirect helpline 1800 022 222.

Michelle Connolly has worked as a photo director, social media manager and photo editor at some of Australia's biggest media companies, including New Idea. She is now editor of Practical Parenting and loving mum-of-two.

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