NSW public schools have been advised to scrap or postpone any scheduled overseas excursions amid the global coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis, marking the latest precautionary measure against a viral outbreak which has impacted every continent outside of Antarctica.
We assume the excursion ban applies to Antarctica too, though.
The Guardian Australia reports public school principals were handed the difficult news in a notice this week.
“With the current Covid-19 situation, the safety of our students and staff is paramount and it is for this reason that all overseas excursions are required to be now placed on hold until further notice,” the notice states.
The NSW Department of Education website now states “The safety of our students and staff is the department’s highest priority; therefore, all overseas school excursions are on hold until further notice.”
As the Guardo points out, the edict only applies to public schools, with independent educational institutions free to carry on with their prior plans. A spokesperson for the state’s Catholic school system told the outlet that it’ll assess each case before choosing to cancel.
The news comes amid a rising number of local infections. As it stands, the federal health department states Australia has counted 33 confirmed cases of Covid-19. Sadly, one man has died as a result of the virus.
While Australia readies for the possibility of further local transmission, other excursion hotspots are facing their own unique challenges. Travellers have been advised not to travel to China under any circumstances, while Japan has closed schools and theme parks to slow the virus’ spread within its own borders. South Korea has recorded 28 deaths and over 4,000 confirmed infections.
Things are not much rosier in Europe. 52 have died of the disease in Italy, prompting the postponing of football matches and the closure of landmarks. The Louvre, Paris’ iconic museum, has also closed for the foreseeable future after considerable staff pressure.
We’ll keep you posted on how this one pans out.