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Australian Catholic Schools to remain operational during COVID-19

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The students from Arncliffe’s St Francis Xavier's Catholic Primary School are hoping to be selected as a winner of the Banner Competition and win a $100 gift card from Smiggle and a family pass for 2 adults and up to 3 children to the VIP area for the opening night of the Lights of Christmas at St Mary’s Cathedral. Photo: Alphonsus Fok
The students from Arncliffe’s St Francis Xavier’s Catholic Primary School. Approximately 1 in 5 students are enrolled in a Catholic school nationwide Photo: Alphonsus Fok

Australian Catholic Schools are to remain open during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The decision, according to National Catholic Education Commission Executive Director, Jacinta Collins, comes from the advice of the Australian Government and the State health authorities.

“While there is significant concern and debate regarding school closures in Australia to minimise the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) It is our view that the government and public health authorities are in the best position to determine whether schools should remain open and we will adhere to this advice,” wrote Ms Collins in a press statement.

Global pandemic. People wear masks as protection against the coronavirus as Pope Francis leads his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Feb. 26, 2020. PHOTO: CNS/Paul Haring

The intention in remaining open allows for the freeing up of the workforce – especially in the health sector on the front lines fighting the pandemic.

approximately 30 per cent of the health sector would be unable to work if schools did not resume

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According to Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s public address today, approximately 30 per cent of the health sector would be unable to work if schools did not resume.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison PHOTO: AAP

Ms Collins did not rule out the possibility of individual schools closing in future circumstances but stressed that as a general rule, Catholic schools would remain operational. 
 “Should it become necessary for schools to close in some states or territories, or across Australia, our school communities will follow this advice and seek to minimise the impact on student learning as much as possible.”

“It is important that we remain calm and alert as we monitor this health risk, and for our families and staff to be well informed about the health advice and protocols to reduce this risk.”

the majority of children must return to school

Regarding children who were medically at risk, Ms Collins conceded a case-by-case basis to stay at home but by-and-large the majority of children must return to school.

“Some parents have chosen to keep their children at home or have special circumstances to consider. However, Catholic schools will remain open and operational until we have been advised otherwise.”

Children with water dragon at the Blessing of the Animals
Children admire the Water Dragon belonging to one of the kindergarten pupils at St Francis of Assisi Primary School, Paddington. PHOTO: Alphonus Fok

There are approximately 764,000 students enrolled in the Australian Catholic school system – approximately one in five Australian students.

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