Close Australian Schools Now

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COVID-19 is spreading quickly through NSW and the rest of Australia. Social distancing must be enforced by closing schools. Students with respiratory issues are highly at risk, as are older staff members and families of infected students. 

If mass gatherings have been banned, why aren’t schools closing? The UK and the US have already shut their schools and universities, leaving Australia once again behind the rest of the developed world. Forcing students and staff into crowded environments such as schools is one of the most certain ways to ensure rapid spread of the virus. Private schools have already begun to shut their doors as a precaution — state schools should be doing the same.

There are over 100 cases in NSW, making it the most infected state. Our premier should be protecting our students, teachers, and their families. If Scott Morrison refuses to take action, we should at least be looking after our own state. The best action citizens can take is to self-isolate, and to not be attending crowded school and university environments. With our flawed COVID-19 testing system, the virus can manifest discreetly in young people, and they can pass it to older relatives without even knowing they’re infected. 

Not only do we need to protect those who are at risk of serious infection, but we need to leave medical resources available to others in need. If our hospitals are filled with COVID-19 cases, others in need of serious medical care may be overlooked. The spread of infection needs to be slowed and then stopped before the rate reaches the thousands, in order to protect everyone that our health system fails to care for. 

Australian chief medical officer Brendan Murphy claims that it is ‘too early’ to close schools — despite the fact that dozens of countries with less cases than us have already shut the doors of their schools and universities. Now is the only chance we have to stop the spread of this virus before it cripples our health system. 

Most students are no strangers to long distance learning. In this age of technology, students can easily continue their learning from home while remaining safe and healthy, as so many other countries have already proven. This means that students will not fall behind in their learning, as Murphy seems to imply.

There is no excuse for our government to put its students, and those around them, at risk. Please sign the petition and make our state and federal governments reconsider this dangerous decision that has put all its citizens in danger.