When I dropped off my son for his first day of the school year this morning, it was pretty obvious that things were different. There were kids wearing masks in the schoolyard. The talk was all about coronavirus.
Late yesterday, the NSW Government changed its advice to parents on the virus. It requested that any children who have visited China in the past two weeks should not attend school or childcare until 14 days after their departure from China.
NSW Health has a message for Australians on coronavirus. Post continues below.
But is this enough to take away the fear that parents are feeling right now?
At last count, this new coronavirus, which originated in the city of Wuhan, had killed 106 people, all in China. So far, there have been five confirmed cases of the virus in Australia, four of them in NSW. With the new school year starting this week, many Australian parents have been feeling fearful, especially those whose kids have classmates who’ve recently returned from holidays in China.
Wendy Woo is one of those parents. She started a petition asking the NSW Government “to enforce a strict restriction for all families who have recently returned from China to keep their sons/daughters at home for two weeks before attending school, kindergarten and daycare”. Woo’s petition has been signed by more than 10,000 people, and yesterday, the Government did pretty much what she was asking – only it’s a “request”, not a “strict restriction”.
Mamamia spoke to Woo today.
“The announcement is good, but a little too late,” she says. “I’m not sure how many people are actually reading it.