"Students deserve to be safe; need stronger COVID19 measure! Schools should be closed down

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We are concerned students who are worried about the pandemic measures implemented by the New South Wales Department of Education. Students cannot partake in preventative measures against the novel Coronavirus such as social distancing when they are forced to sit next to each other in classrooms. Measures such as the cancellation of events with over 500 people become void when the government forces students to gather at schools with over 900 individuals packed into one place. It endangers students and worries us as members of society when the government chooses economic growth instead of saving human lives, and it poses a risk to their families when students return home after being exposed. There are students with family members who are elderly, immunosuppressed or pregnant. You are not only failing to protect the students across your nation but you are further increasing the risk of mortality amongst their relatives.

As of 17 March 2020, at 6-am, there have been 375 cases of COVID-19 in Australia, 170 in NSW and 5 fatalities. University of Sydney Professor Robert Booy and head of Clinical Research at the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS), who has previously advised Australia's chief medical officer on influenza pandemics has said the best-case scenario is that one in five people in the state will be infected with the deadly coronavirus. New South Wales has a population of 8 million people, meaning Professor Robert Booy has predicted that 1.6 million people will contract COVID-19 this year. Australia's latest Health Department alert said the global case fatality rate is now about 3.7 per cent, based on those figures 59,200 people would die in New South Wales alone.

You can save an economy, but you cannot save the dead. We urge the New South Wales government to think of the people, not just how COVID-19 may impact economic growth.

The Australian government needs to follow the actions of other nations in cancelling school and holding online classes instead. This alternative has proved to be successful in nations such as China and Italy and has the ability to help contain the spread of the virus in Australia. Our nation’s livelihood and health have a greater significance than anything else and as so, we should take greater measures to ensure our safety.

We are demanding that the NSW Department of Education take effective and immediate action towards the prevention of COVID-19 in order to ensure the safety and health amongst students, which should be one of your main priorities. We represent the student body in New South Wales and hold their concerns in the wake of this pandemic that mandatory attendance to schools should not be more significant than our health and that of our family members.

Please trust students to partake in the required preventative measures to its full extent by closing down schools and holding online classes instead. You are not being considerate of healthcare workers by forcing students to go to school nor are you benefitting the wider community, rather you are helping COVID-19 spread more rapidly.