Teachers told to hold classes outdoors
TEACHERS should open windows in classrooms and hold lessons outdoors when possible to avoid the spread of coronavirus, health experts have told education ministers.
The Federal Health Department's Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) has advised teachers to stay home if they are sick, suffer underlying health issues or are caring for a "vulnerable person''.
It suggests that schools teach lessons outdoors, host smaller classes, stagger lunch breaks and "monitor'' students to check they stay 1.5m apart in play areas.
Bubblers should be closed, and play equipment cleaned and disinfected at the end of each recess.
"Increase the amount of fresh air available indoors by opening windows or adjusting airconditioning,'' the advice states.
"Provide bins in every classroom for used tissues, and empty them regularly throughout the day.''
The AHPPC has advised schools to discourage "and if possible restrict'' the use of mobile phones as they are "regularly touched and breathed on''.
It says parents should stay apart at school pick-up and drop-off, and teachers should stay 1.5m away from other adults.
Hand sanitiser should be placed at school entrances and in every classroom.
The health experts advised against using masks, which "have the potential to create more harm than good'', or to conduct wide-scale temperature checking of students "as there is limited evidence" to demonstrate their value.
"Good hygiene practices and environmental cleaning are more important for reducing risk,'' the advice states.
"The greatest risk of transmission in the school environment is between adults,'' it says. Education Queensland said schools would "be alert to increasing air circulation and ventilation in classrooms, using larger spaces, and spreading staff and students out across campuses''.
A spokesman said "vulnerable employees'' should not work in schools.
"Schools will work with vulnerable employees regarding their work arrangements, including working from home,'' he said.
Originally published as Teachers told to hold classes outdoors