Schools in Greater Sydney will shift to online learning next week for four days after additional cases of COVID-19 were recorded overnight and the number of exposure sites grew.
This morning, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced that lockdown will be extended until at least 16 July for Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour, which had anticipated an end to lockdown this Friday. However, regional students will resume face-to-face learning on 13 July.
NSW Health recorded 27 new cases in the 24 hours to 8pm last night, with 14 of the cases active in the community while infectious. There were seven people in ICU, one of whom was aged in their 30s.
Yesterday, a spokeswoman for the NSW Education Department told The Educator that the expectation was that students would be back at school on day one of Term 3, but the Premier’s announcement has scuttled those plans.
In the space of just two weeks, the Bondi cluster has now grown to 331 cases, and on Monday, a third Sydney school was closed for deep cleaning and contact tracing after a student at Rose Bay Primary School tested positive to COVID-19.
In her press conference this morning, the Premier said the decision for children to undergo remote learning is not because schools are not safe.
"Schools are safe, but we really need to reduce mobility, and stop hundreds of thousands of adults moving around and interacting with each other, including dropping off and collecting their children from school," Berejiklian said.
"Whilst the virus is more contagious among children than previous strains were, the main concern is too many people being mobile at same time".
The Premier said that as with the last lockdown, parents who are essential workers will be able to send their kids to school.
"The education department is also seeking to reduce any stress for year 12 students who need to do important practical work at school," she said.
"If they need to be on campus, the department and NSW Health are working together on those issues."
The Premier urged communities to remain vigilant, saying preliminary information from NSW Health suggests that tomorrow's case numbers will be higher than they were today.