Australia

Scott Morrison issues direct plea to Australia's teachers, urging them to keep their classrooms open

Prime Minister Scott Morrison Source: AAP

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has thanked Australian teachers as he calls on them to keep classrooms operating with students preparing to start term two.

Scott Morrison has pleaded with teachers to keep classrooms open during the coronavirus pandemic, as states mull when to fully refill classrooms.

The prime minister said schools remaining open was important for the children who can't learn at home, such as those whose parents are essential workers.

"We will lose many things in the course of fighting this virus," Mr Morrison said in a social media video.

"One thing that I know teachers are united on, with their parents, is we do not want one of those things to be the loss of a child's education, giving up a whole year of their learning."

0:00

 Classrooms across the country are moving towards remote learning as a result of coronavirus.

In Victoria, term two for schools resumes on Wednesday but most students will be learning from home.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is keen to see an increase in face-to-face teaching during the term.

"I'll make sure there's plenty of time to update parents and students, but our desire is to see a change in term two. I've been very open about that," she told reporters.

"We want to see students have access to face-to-face teaching."

He thanked teachers for their efforts to keep classes going, in many cases online, while the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

"I want teachers to know from me, both as a parent and as a prime minister, just how appreciated you are and how important the job is that you're doing right now and how much you are needed," he said.

In Victoria, term two for schools resumes today but most students will be learning from home.

Queensland will review its advice on schools by May 15 in an effort to provide clarity for parents halfway through the term.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said schools were open for children of essential workers and vulnerable students.

"I think we've got that mix right here in Queensland," she told reporters.

Labor's education spokesperson Tanya Plibersek hit out at the prime minster's plea, saying he was contradicting state and territory leaders.

"Parents just want clear information. So do teachers. This mess must be cleaned up immediately," she said on Wednesday.

Mr Morrison said medical experts still advised the coronavirus risk remains very low for children attending school, but added the health of teachers was a priority.

NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said evidence from overseas showed outbreaks among children in schools were unlikely.

"They tend to get it milder, there aren't reported outbreaks amongst children in schools and it was adults introducing it to children," she told reporters.

She said NSW would release a report showing adults were the most common source of transmitting the disease.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others and gatherings are limited to two people unless you are with your family or household.

If you believe you may have contracted the virus, call your doctor (don’t visit) or contact the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. If you are struggling to breathe or experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch