Coast school closes doors, moves lessons online


ONE OF the Gold Coast's largest schools has decided to close its doors and move more than 1500 students to online learning amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.

As of Friday, All Saints Anglican School - which has not had a confirmed case of the virus among its staff, students or school community - will move all lessons to online learning in order to enact social distancing measures.

The school does not plan to make a decision on reopening until after the Easter break.

Patrick Wallas, Headmaster, All Saints Anglican School. Photo: Supplied.
Patrick Wallas, Headmaster, All Saints Anglican School. Photo: Supplied.

Headmaster Patrick Wallace said the school had made the decision in order to give parents "certainty in uncertain times."

Mr Wallace said the school would allow the children of emergency and health workers to continue to return to campus with staff who volunteered to come in.

The school was also the first on the Gold Coast to announce measures to quarantine boarding students who returned from the Wuhan province in China earlier this year.

All assessments at the school has been postponed with the possible exception of the Year 12 examinations due next week.

It is understood the school is working to provide alternate options for these students.

"The people I have been listening to is the doctors who are parents at our school, we believe with the recent spike in infections the sooner you close the better," Mr Wallace said.

Mr Wallace said the school, like others across the Gold Coast, have already been experiencing a large number of absences, with parents choosing to keep children at home.

"We are very conscious of the increasing uncertainty as to what is happening, so we want to offer parents clarity," he said.

"We know children tend to be asymptomatic but are incredibly contagious carriers and we have had two staff who are immunity suppressed, I would never forgive myself if anything happened."

The Headmaster said parents should see the time at home as an opportunity to spend family time together.

"It is a strange few weeks and months already, I see the community emerging with improved respiratory hygiene and more, it as very much a time for renewal," he said.

"In years to come children won't remember the details but they will remember how they felt having time home as a family.

"The challenge for families in this precious time is to foster resilience, embrace the adventure."

According to the school the reaction from parents has been positive.

"Students in the senior school will follow their time table, logging in to see the smiling face of a teacher to teach their subjects."

Students in middle and junior school will also be catered to with a mix of online and take home resources.

"It is most distressing that we find ourselves in this situation, but we must rally together and, as our prime minister has suggested, 'look after each other'," Mr Wallace said.

"The virus will pass and in the meantime it is incumbent upon all of us to make the very best of a challenging situation."

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