Students at Australia’s most expensive private school will finish their first term early this week amid concerns over the spread of the coronavirus.
Geelong Grammar School principal Rebecca Cody sent out a message to families and friends on Saturday saying the school will be cutting the term short at its four campuses.
The decision came as another 13 people were confirmed as being infected with COVID-19 in Victoria, bringing the state’s total number of cases to 49.
Ms Cody says the school’s leadership has taken into account that they are Australia’s largest co-educational boarding school, with 900 students from every state and territory, and 16 foreign countries.
All classrooms and boarding residences will close by Wednesday, rather than the scheduled end of term on March 27.
“Given we currently remain an infection-free site, this decision gives families time to prepare calmly for collection of their children,” Ms Cody said.
Victoria’s Supreme Court and County Court have also taken the unprecedented step of suspending all new jury trials indefinitely amid the spread of the illness.
It will halt the empanelment process, in which hundreds of potential jurors gather at court, Victorian Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne Ferguson said on Saturday.
“This precautionary decision was made after consideration of the latest expert health and government advice and recognises that members of the community may hold concerns about attending court in large groups,” she said in a statement.
The latest 13 cases of the virus in Victoria include 11 men and two women aged between 20 and 69.
One person has been admitted to hospital and is in a stable condition but the others are recovering at home in isolation, the Department of Health and Human Services confirmed on Saturday.
Major events meant to be held in Victoria have been cancelled to help halt the spread of the illness, including this weekend’s Grand Prix and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
Footy fans won’t be able to attend the AFL season opener at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Thursday, with all games to be played without spectators for the foreseeable future.
The federal government is urging against non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people starting from Monday.
Australian Associated Press