Geelong Grammar closes over coronavirus pandemic
Geelong Grammar School has announced it will close because of coronavirus.
The school made the decision late last night to "bring Term 1 to an early close", as a precautionary measure.
And more independent schools are set to follow suit.
In a notice to school families, principal Rebecca Cody said: "By 5.00pm on Wednesday 18 March all classrooms, grounds and boarding residences will close for student learning and activities until further notice. Given we currently remain an infection free site, this decision gives families time to prepare calmly for collection of their children.
"Remote learning for Year 12 students will commence on Friday 20 March. Remote learning for Prep-Year 11 will commence on Monday 23 March. Our teachers will remain onsite until Friday 27 March. Students will have digital resources, interactive lessons facilitated by their class teacher, along with assigned prep.
"Attendance and work will be recorded, monitored and feedback provided."
She said it had not yet been decided when students would return to school.
"As ever, we will endeavour to provide families with expedient advice. If the pandemic intensifies during the holiday period, online learning opportunities will be available from Wednesday 15 April," Ms Cody said.
As Australia's largest coeducational boarding school, with a student population drawn from every state and territory and 16 overseas countries, the school was "instigating an intentional and proactive staged unscheduled closure" of four campuses, Ms Cody said.
"This approach will enable an orderly return of students into the care of their families or guardians and homestay providers," she said.
Chief executive of independent Schools Victoria Michelle Green said the situation regarding coronavirus was evolving rapidly, "in ways that are challenging and frustrating for everyone involved in education - principals, teachers, students and parents".
Independent schools were looking at their processes, emergency management plans and the needs of their students in the event of coronavirus outbreaks in their schools and subsequent closures, she said.
"Their priority is protecting the health of their students and staff, taking into account the advice of government health officers," Ms Green said.
"Given government announcements over the past week, and the fact that some independent schools have already been forced to close temporarily, schools are planning for the high likelihood of further and more widespread closures.
"This planning includes measures to provide education to their students online, in the event they are unable to come to classes."