Upcoming school holidays extended. Here’s how to protect your family from COVID-19

School Holidays Mar 15, 2020

Latest update 03 April 2020

Strict social distancing rules and restrictions are in full effect, with police charging those who do not comply.

The chart below summarises the restrictions as announced by Scott Morrison PM on 29 March 2020:

Australia COVID-19 Prime minister update 29 March 2020 Social gathering restrictions
Source: ABC news

This video from Sky News Australia discusses the severity of these rules and the activities banned in various states.

It’s advised to stay home unless you absolutely have to go out, for example, for grocery shopping or exercise.

Update 22 March 2020

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, has released a statement concerning COVID-19 and the next steps for the state.

I will inform National Cabinet tonight that Victoria will proceed over the next 48 hours to implement a shutdown of all non-essential activity across our state to combat the spread of Coronavirus.

Non-essential activity includes restaurants, cafes, events and other public gatherings.

Supermarkets, pharmacies, petrol stations, banks and convenience stores, as well as essential delivery services are still going to operate.

I will also inform National Cabinet that school holidays will be brought forward in Victoria, starting on Tuesday 24 March.

You can read the full statement from the Premier of Victoria here.

The Premier of NSW, Gladys Berejiklian, has also released a similar statement for the next 48 hours.

...NSW will proceed to a more comprehensive shutdown of non-essential services. This will take place over the next 48 hours.
Schools will be open tomorrow [Monday 23 March 2020], though I will have more to say on this issue in the morning.

Read the full statement from the Premier of NSW here.

With a couple of schools shutting down around the country, numbers of cases growing daily, and supermarkets rallying with customers to keep their shelves stocked up, this is Australia during the worldwide COVID-19 crisis.

While the government is taking some action during this time, including putting a ban on travel and non-essential gatherings, the Department of Education is still undecided about school closures, and it is individual schools that have been taking action. For now, it is important to be patient and look after your own health, while monitoring the Department of Health’s website for any updates.

The government is considering to extend the upcoming April school holidays, according to federal Education Minister Dan Tehan and Channel 7. This extension may be between one or two weeks. However, no official government statement has been released yet regarding this matter, but it is fair to assume an extension to the usual two-week school holiday period may take place.

The NSW Department of Education is going to send coronavirus advice to schools this weekend about managing the outbreak. The secretary of the NSW Department of Education Mr Scott suggests that closing schools across New South Wales could increase the spread of coronavirus because, in his opinion, kids will end up spending time at the shopping centres, playgrounds or at the movies.

Coronavirus has taken a toll on many families, and a longer school holiday period is yet another worry. Travel bans and restrictions, as well as events getting cancelled, make it seem as though there is not going to be much to do during the fast-approaching school holidays.

But this is not the case!

There is heaps to do locally, without crowds, and even in the comfort of your own home if you don’t want to go out. Follow us on Instagram for ideas and how to spend your time during the upcoming school holidays.

There have been warnings and advice issued to the public about health and safety during this time. The most urgent advice is to avoid any overseas travel, especially to the highly affected regions of China, Italy, the Republic of Korea and Iran. A government-issued travel ban is in place for visitors arriving from these places.

This video can help you to understand Coronavirus better.

What is Coronavirus?

COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease 2019) is a respiratory illness that can spread from one person to another. COVID-19 was first identified in Wuhan, China, and has now spread to many other countries.

How does COVID-19 spread?

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention assume that COVID-19 probably emerged from an animal source. Now, it is spreading from person to person, and is more likely to spread between people who stay in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet or 1.8 metres from one another) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It may also be possible to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your own mouth, nose or eyes. However, this is not confirmed to be the main way the virus spreads.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Patients with COVID-19 have mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of

  • fever
  • cough
  • shortness of breath

Here is another helpful chart on symptoms of COVID-19.

COVID-19, Cold and Flu comparison. Is it coronavirus or something else?
COVID-19, Cold and Flu comparison. Source CDC, WHO.

Is COVID-10 more severe in children?

So far, adults make up most of the known COVID-19 cases to date. According to the BC Children’s Hospital, it is less severe, particularly in children under 10 years old.

How can I protect my family from COVID-19?

To keep you and your family from catching the virus:

  • Wash your hands often, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with a 60% alcohol base.
  • Wash your hands after using the toilet and public transport, and before eating and cooking.
  • Avoid touching your face, nose, mouth and rubbing your eyes with unwashed hands.
  • Cover coughs or sneezes with your elbow.
  • Wash fresh produce and thoroughly cook meat and fish.
  • Try to avoid close contact with anyone showing cold or flu-like symptoms.
  • Reduce time spent in crowded places (or avoid crowded places altogether).
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces daily in your household common areas such as tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets, sinks, etc...
  • Launder items, including washable plush toys, as appropriate according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, wash items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry them completely. You can wash dirty laundry from an ill person with other people’s items.

Sources: CDC and Health Direct.

How to avoid infection or spreading COVID-19
How to avoid infection or spreading COVID-19. Source Health Direct.

Should I wear a mask?

Masks should be used by sick people to prevent the spread of germs to others. A mask can help keep a person's droplets in when they cough or sneeze. If you or your kids are not sick, wearing a mask is not necessary. If you wear a mask, it can give you a false sense of security and you are likely to increase the number of times you touch your face, which, in turn, increases the chance of getting an infection.

Should my child wear a mask?

It is not necessary. If your child is healthy, there is no need for them to wear a facemask. Only people who have symptoms of COVID-19 or who are providing care to those who are ill should wear masks.

What if I am showing symptoms?

Self-isolate and contact your doctor, the emergency department or the Coronavirus hotline if you are showing symptoms of COVID-19.

For the most recent updates regarding COVID-19 see the Department of Health’s website here.

Let’s do our best to keep each other healthy.

More COVID-19 Resources

See the links below for more information regarding the Coronavirus and Coronavirus in Australia.


Content creator and editor at schoolholidays.com.au. I love to travel, read and write!