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NSW, Victoria and ACT split from government over school closures

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

The federal government and the nation’s two most populous states have splintered over COVID-19 and school closures.

The Federal Government and the nation's two most populous states have splintered over COVID-19 and school closures.

The morning after Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared it was safe to keep schools open, the NSW and Victorian premiers announced closures and advised parents to keep their kids at home.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said schools in the state would remain open but she encouraged parents to keep their children away if at all possible.

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A mother and her child outside Annandale Public School in Sydney's Inner West

Further south, at a media briefing delivered at the same time as Ms Berejiklian's announcement, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed the state's schools will shut gates at the end of today for early holidays.

Like Victoria, the ACT also acted to bring forward its school holidays.

New South Wales school closures

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said health experts had advised her to encourage parents to keep their children away from schools.

"We appreciate for some parents this is not possible," she said.

She said schools were only being kept open for families who had no other options. No child would be turned away from the school gates, Ms Berejiklian said.

Online learning will be put in place until the school holidays begin. Despite intense questioning from reporters, the NSW premier would not forecast what might happen when Term 2 was scheduled to begin.

The premier admitted that up to 30 per cent of children were absent from NSW schools last week.

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NSW has reported a record increase in COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours.

As of 8pm yesterday, there were 669 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in NSW - an increase of 136 cases.

New South Wales chief medical officer Dr Kerry Chant said the previous highest 24-hour increase was 97 cases.

The vast majority of cases - 327 - were imported from overseas.

NSW health authorities are investigating some cluster outbreaks.

Dr Chant confirmed there are 10 people in ICU and six confirmed coronavirus deaths in the state.

READ MORE: Who is most at risk at getting coronavirus broken down by age, gender and health

Coronavirus: Victoria brings forward school holidays

Victoria school closures 

Victoria's schools will close from the end of today for early holidays.

"These are not ordinary school holidays. Every Australian has been advised not to undertake non-essential travel," Mr Andrews said.

The premier cautioned parents to keep a close eye on what children did on their holidays and ensure they maintain tight social distancing laws.

"These are not ordinary school holidays," he said.

ACT school closures 

ACT schools will follow the NSW model and be "pupil-free" from tomorrow.

The school holidays have been brought forward and teachers will conduct online learning lessons with students.

However, if children need care because their parents still have to work the school will be open for them.

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canberra has jumped to 20.

Source: 9News

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