Scott Morrison say the reopening of schools is vital to Australia’s economic recovery but accepts there will not be full levels of attendance for the duration of the coronavirus crisis.

“Get more kids back into schools, which will mean that our economy will be able to support more people and they won’t become reliant on JobKeeper or JobSeeker,” he said.
Mr Morrison cautioned again that it would be many weeks before restrictions could begin to lift. First, the testing regime needed to be broadened and the health system sufficiently armed to deal with any coronavirus outbreak so there was no undue public health risk as restrictions were lifted.
Mr Morrison said that for the duration of the virus crisis, it would not be mandatory to send children to school.
“I understand that and I respect that,” he said.
But he wanted schools to get back to levels of attendance where they were teaching again, rather than child minding, which caused him to pull his daughters out of school in the last week of term one because they were not being taught.
Mr Morrison said if the schools started teaching again, he would send his daughters back “in a heartbeat”.
At the end of term one, attendance in NSW was 5 per cent whereas in South Australia it was 50 per cent.
“What we’re talking about here, I think ultimately, is not full attendance at school, but a functional attendance at school, which enables lessons to be done at school,” Mr Morrison said.
“Obviously, the populations will be lower, which is greater opportunity to ensure better social distancing practices in the classrooms which protect teachers.”
Teachers aged over 65, or over 50 if they were Indigenous, will be kept away from school, and other protective measures for teachers will be presented to the National Cabinet by state and federal chief medical officers.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Nicholas Coatsworth said the level of infection among children, let alone transmission from child to child, was low. The risk in schools was children giving the virus to teachers and other adults, or teachers passing it to other teachers.
Dr Coatsworth said it was not necessary to issue teachers with protective equipment such as masks.
Mr Morrison envisaged restrictions on parents regarding drop-offs to stop contact between adults.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said only the children of essential workers would be allowed at school until at least term three, but he added the definition of essential worker was broad.
“People who are stacking shelves, running checkouts, driving trucks, public transport, cleaning hospitals, all the way through to critical care, are criticalroles,” he said.