Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein says parents must keep tabs on their kids if they stay home. Image by Dan Peled/AAP PHOTOS


Tasmanian schools to stay open amid virus

2020-03-24 21:18:20

Tasmania’s public schools will stay open for the time being amid the coronavirus pandemic but parents have been told they can keep their kids home from Wednesday.

Premier Peter Gutwein says parents have a responsibility to keep tabs on their children if they remove them from school.

“This does not mean take your children out of school and let them go on holiday,” he said.

“If you decide to take them out of school, look after them, be responsible for them.”

Mr Gutwein said school remained the safest place for kids, in line with national medical advice, and they would remain open for “the time being”. 

Further advice around child care and TAFE will be provided in coming days while the school closures will be reviewed after the term one holidays.

Schools in Victoria and the ACT will close on Tuesday.

Tasmania has confirmed six more cases of coronavirus, bringing the state’s tally to 28.

All six had either been on a cruise ship or returned from overseas, meaning community transmission has not yet been identified in Tasmania.

Director of Public Health Mark Veitch had anticipated that more positive cases from the Ruby Princess cruise ship would be confirmed over the course of the week.

Health authorities are contacting about 250 Tasmanians who were aboard the Ovation of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas and Celebrity Solstice cruise ships.

Mr Gutwein said police would ensure people complied with tough national measures that have shut pubs, clubs, hotels, gyms, cinemas and casinos.

“Do not gravitate to holding parties in backyards or in other facilities,” he said.

“The rules of social distancing apply. If you’re having a 21st or a 40th or a 50th, abide by the rules of social distancing.”

Federal Group, which owns the state’s two casinos, announced 1500 staff – more than three-quarters of its workforce in Tasmania – would be stood down. 

The state’s libraries will close indefinitely from Wednesday.