The federal government is adamant that schools will remain open amid the Coronavirus crisis. However, teacher unions are now demanding that schools close early to protect staff who are on the frontline of our children’s education.

NSW Teachers Federation has demanded that school operations cease from Monday next week and that teachers and admin staff be permitted to work from home.

The union’s president, Angelo Gavrielatos, has said in a statement that schools should only have minimum staffing to support essential frontline services workers who cannot care for their children during the crisis, as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Demand Schools Close

“Normal school operations must end to put the health and safety of students and staff first,” Mr Gavrielatos said.

“It is now essential that an immediate transition to an emergency mode of school operation be put in place with minimum staffing (to support essential frontline services workers who are unable to care for their children during this crisis) and necessary systems to provide maximum health protection for all present on school sites.

“Staff not rostered on minimal supervision are to work from home providing educational continuity as far as is practicable for students online during term time. The arrangements for staff in high-risk categories working from home continue unaltered.

“To facilitate this transition, from the week beginning 30 March schools must be declared pupil free for all students except the children of essential frontline services workers who are unable to care for their children and vulnerable children.”

Further Action

The union is planning to meet tomorrow to consider further action if their demands are not met.

The Queensland teacher’s union is also unhappy with the government’s persistence of keeping school doors open.

Queensland Teachers Union president Kevin Bates says keeping schools open is untenable in light of Victoria and the ACT shutting down their institutions earlier this week.

“We can’t accept that, if other state and territories, other jurisdictions, move to a new position that Queensland can’t adopt a similar strategy.”

A QTU spokesperson said the union would prefer not to go on strike and hope for an amicable solution because their members are “up against the wall”.

Officially Queensland schools remain open but parents can choose to keep their kids home.

Parents’ Choice

The local NSW government has asked parents to keep their children at home, if they are able to. However schools are definitely still open and no student will be turned away.

As a response to this plea, the attendance at schools is dwindling and was down to less than 25 per cent this week.

We’ve personally decided to keep our kids at home and really feel for our teachers who do not have that choice. I hope that the local governments will take Union demands into consideration and allow the schools to open with a skeleton staff only.

Current Status Of Schools

The current status for schools across the country are as follows:

Victoria: Schools closed for school holidays on Tuesday this week. The schools are due to open on 13 April.

NSW: Schools are still open but parents are encouraged to keep their children at home if they are able to.

Queensland: Schools remain open and parents have the choice whether they wish to send their kids to school.

ACT: Schools are now pupil-free until the school holidays. However those parents who work and are not able to keep their children at home, are able to still send their kids to school.

Tasmania: Schools are still open but it is optional whether parents wish to send their kids to school

NT: Schools are still open but it is optional whether parents wish to send their kids to school

SA: Schools are still open but it is optional whether parents wish to send their kids to school

WA: Schools are still open but it is optional whether parents wish to send their kids to school

All states and territories are planning on re-opening in term 2, with a mixture of distance learning and at-school learning, for those parents who are unable to keep their children at home.

Do you think the government will listen to unions demanding that school close? Tell us in the comments below.

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  • This was a really tough one. I work with special needs children and although the school was only supposed to be open for children of essential workers it sadly didnt work that way. There were quite a few parents that sent their venerable children to school anyway while they stayed home.


  • Such a pity that Federal and the States politicians couldn’t agree on this. Just goes to show we are not ‘all in this together’ when the States do what they want no matter what our Federal pollies say.


  • They should reopen for all that want their kids to attend as they will fall behind


  • Our school is still open but only for essential works


  • Schools are still open, although the number of students have drastically reduced. If the parents who can keep their kids at home do such, it will lighten the load for schools, meaning they are able to stay open for those parents who are still working and need them open. Less kids means less teachers are needed, lightening the load for them and decreasing the risk of spreading the virus. I think it’s more disgusting that parents are not sending their kids to school but then allow them to roam the streets in packs!


  • Wonder if they will reopen or not


  • I’m in QLD and still have the option to send my kids next week, but I’m letting them stay home. They will be doing work online and I’ve received numerous emails from their schools and teachers regarding home work.


  • I am so thankful that I am still on mat leave!


  • I like the idea of keeping schools open with skeleton staff so parents have the option to either keep their kids at home or school.


  • From next week here in WA parents may keep kids at home. But as my daughter is in Year 12 and teachers are still at school, she will keep going I think.


  • I wish they would just do a full lockdown! The longer they drag this out the longer businesses will lose money and more people will get sick!

    • Lockdown is the way many countries have gone to try and manage this pandemic. I imagine we will be there soon for the safety of the people in this country.


  • I figure everyone’s trying their best to make the best decisions – there’s no wrong or right at the moment. If parents feel strongly, keep their children home. If teachers feel strongly, they should be allowed to go home. But I understand what the Government is trying to do and why. If people adhere to the rules, it would not be such an issue, but kids are still out and about and congregating and parents need to take responsibility for their children.


  • Great, this is just what we need…


  • Life is going to be different for a while. We are all in the same situation. I work in essential services and have to travel on public transport to get to work (I don’t drive). We all have to play our part, what ever that means for the individual to keep things going and sane. I have a pre-existing lung condition that puts me in the high risk category.


  • I think it is going to be a different way of life for a while and technology and other methods will need to be used in educating children.


  • Not about schools, but Woolworths “helping out”elderly and people who can’t get to shops.
    They will deliver, Yay, but will cost $15. Hmm I used to to get delivery for $8 or even $4 at particular hours. Now it is $15 no matter of it is 5am or 10pm.
    So nice to help out pensioners etc. Think it is called gouging??
    Surely encourage people to stay away from large gatherings e.g supermarket. Ah well that is the Australian way.????????


  • All schools should close now. A lot of stores have closed and aren’t our children worth more than stores. My son and DIL are keeping their children home from school and I praise them for their actions.


  • My husband is a teacher who is in the high risk category plus I am in my 3rd trimester. We have decided to keep the kids home as of Friday last week. Anyway, for the past few weeks, his school (k-7 presently) has had this protocol in place for a few weeks! They had decided that the school would close and a skeleton staff would be available for the students of essential workers or who would otherwise be cared for by their elderly grandparents. That was, however, before schools were threatened with having their funding cut, if they did close. So now with about 8 students per class he is still unable to stay home, unless, it is deemed that he may be putting our unborn child at risk. But that will cost the school $3000 a week in relief teachers for him!


  • I said this would happen! And fair enough too, teachers deserve protection too. My kids are at home.


  • Victorian schools have closed a week early for the holidays, hopefully people self isolate better than they have been or it will be a waste of time


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