Coronavirus FAQs: Answers to your most common questions

You, Tassie’s young people, have been contacting my office with loads of questions about the coronavirus (COVID-19).

I’ve worked with my team and Tasmania’s Department of Health to get you answers which I hope you will find helpful.

My team and I will update the answers as quickly as we can as events and advice change or to answer any new questions you ask me.

However, for the most up-to-date and accurate information, please always consult the government coronavirus website at https://coronavirus.tas.gov.au/

 

FAQs last updated 31 March 2019

 

ABOUT CORONAVIRUS

What is coronavirus? Maddie, 17

Viruses are tiny germs that we can’t see. Some viruses can make you sick, but they can’t do that unless they get inside your body.

One group of viruses is called coronaviruses. Some coronaviruses attach inside your nose and can give you a mild cold – you get an icky runny nose. Other coronaviruses – like coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) – attach to your lungs as well as inside your nose. For some people, this just gives them a high temperature, sore throat or cough, but for others, it can make it more difficult for them to breathe and they can get something called viral pneumonia.

 

Why is it also called COVID-19? Maddie, 17

Coronavirus disease 2019 is a new coronavirus that was discovered in December 2019. It is often called COVID-19 because it’s a quicker way of saying coronavirus disease 2019. CO stands for corona, V for virus, D for disease, and 19 for 2019.

 

Where did the virus come from? Joe, 8, Mimi 11, Lexi 10

It is believed that this particular coronavirus was first found in a seafood market in a Chinese city called Wuhan in December 2019. More research is needed to be sure, but we think it first came from bats and then hopped from there to another type of animal, such as a pangolin, before that mystery animal gave it to humans.

 

Is coronavirus the same as the flu? Maddie 17

COVID-19 and flu are caused by different viruses. However, many people diagnosed with this coronavirus may feel like they have the flu.

The main difference between COVID-19 and the flu is that the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is new. Scientists have been studying the flu for years so there are many treatments to help battle it.

We are still learning about COVID-19, so we still don’t have a vaccine against it and we are still learning a lot of things about how it spreads and why some people get very ill from it and others don’t.

Another big difference between flu and COVID-19 is that the coronavirus seems to be slower to spread – it takes about six to seven days to spread between people, whereas the flu can spread between people in four days.

 

Does the coronavirus really have green spikes and an angry face? Bronte, 10

This is a very interesting question, Bronte. Many pictures of coronavirus in the media show a green spiky ball – or sometimes red, yellow or even multicoloured.

We can only see the virus using a special, high powered microscope called an electron microscope because it is so incredibly tiny – you could fit ten coronaviruses across the width of one of your hairs!

When we look at electron microscope images of the coronavirus, it is indeed spiky! In fact, it’s called coronavirus because ‘corona’ means ‘crown’ in Latin’ – the virus looks a bit like it’s wearing a spiky crown. The spiky bits are called ‘spike proteins’ – they help the virus to get inside the cells in a person’s body, a bit like a key into a lock.

The virus is clear, not green. Scientists and artists use colours in their images to make it easier to see the virus and its different parts – can you imagine trying to draw something that has no colour? It’s a bit like trying to draw air!

The coronavirus also doesn’t have an angry face – in fact, viruses don’t have faces or arms or legs at all! Sometimes artists put an angry face on their virus drawings to make it look like a baddy – a bit like the bad guys in cartoons!

 

Why is the coronavirus named after a beer? Finn, 14

The coronavirus is not actually named after a beer. Interestingly, the Corona beer and the coronavirus both get their name from the same Latin word – corona, meaning ‘crown’.

When we look at electron microscope images of the coronavirus, it is covered in lots of spikes. It is because of these spikes that it is called coronavirus because ‘corona’ means ‘crown’ in Latin’ and the virus looks a bit like it’s wearing a spiky crown.

The spiky bits are called ‘spike proteins’ – they help the virus to get inside the cells in a person’s body, a bit like a key.

Corona beer, which was first made in 1925, has a crown for its logo. The crown represents the crown on the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the town of Puerto Vallarta in Mexico. Corona beer was first brewed in Mexico. So, there’s no link at all between the virus and the beer. They just share a really interesting name!

 

Why does President Trump call coronavirus the Chinese virus? Mimmi 11 and Lexi 10

In the old days, it was common for viruses to get named after the first place they were recognised. Today, scientists don’t name new diseases in this way anymore because it can later turn out to be wrong. For example, the famous ‘Spanish flu’ pandemic did not start in Spain.

 

Everyone is talking about the virus all the time. Should I be worried? Jethro 8, Caleb 10

It’s OK to feel worried. When there’s something new or different happening, people often talk about it a lot at school, in the news, in the shops, and on social media.

The good thing is, your parents and carers will take good care of you. And scientists, doctors, and leaders are all doing things to help keep you and everyone around you safe – from working on a vaccine to putting in special rules for travel on planes or going to restaurants and cafes.

But there are also things you can do to protect yourself and others. Older people and people who are already a bit sick with other illnesses need your help to stay healthy. Remember to wash your hands regularly and stay home if you feel sick.

If you or someone you know is feeling really worried about anything related to coronavirus, speak with your family or carers, friends, a teacher or someone else you trust. There are also free and confidential services that can give support and guidance to children and young people who are having difficult feelings like Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800.

 

 

CATCHING CORONAVIRUS

 

How do you catch coronavirus? Joe, 8

The tiny coronavirus hitches a lift in the snot and saliva of people who have the virus. When one of those people coughs or sneeze, the germs are sprayed in the droplets of snot or spit from their nose and mouth – yuk!

However, the moisture carrying the virus still has to get into your body to make you sick. The virus can’t get into your body just by getting on your skin. It has to get into your eyes, nose or mouth, and unless the person coughed or sneezed directly into your face it needs your help to get inside you. That’s why it’s important to wash your hands regularly with soap and water and not to touch your face, eyes, nose or mouth.

 

How far away do we have to stand from people not to get coronavirus? Catherine, 5

Scientists have worked out that if a person who has the coronavirus germ coughs or sneeze, the germs are sprayed in the snot or spit from their nose and mouth. That spray of germs can’t reach you if you stand 1.5 metres or more away from other people.

You don’t know how far 1.5 metres is? A broomstick is a bit shorter than 1.5m so if you imagine holding a broomstick out towards other people like a wand, that’s how far away you have to keep away from other people! Another way to think of it is, if you’re a little person, 1.5 metres is probably two huuuuge steps. If you’re bigger, it’s probably around two larger steps.

 

How will I know if I have coronavirus? Billy, 13

If you have a sore throat, cough, runny nose, tell a parent or carer. In rare cases you may totally lose your sense of smell and taste. Your parents or carer may call your doctor who will decide if you need a test.

The COVID-19 test is just like the flu test. They will stick something like a cotton bud up your nose or down your throat to test your snot or saliva for the virus. The results will come back in a few days.

Most people who get these symptoms won’t have coronavirus. There are a lot of other germs going around at the moment, including the common cold and flu. If you feel sick, it is important to stay home from school or care, even if you don’t have coronavirus.

 

How does it travel inside you to make you sick? Albie, 7

The virus hitches a ride inside cells. When your body notices the virus has got inside, it reacts in lots of different ways to get rid of the virus. These reactions cause symptoms like cough and fever.

 

What does it do to your body? Eve, 9

If people catch the coronavirus, they might not know they have it at all. Some people don’t get affected by the virus. But if they do, they might feel hot with a fever, get a headache and a cough. They will probably want to stay in bed and not go to school.

If people who are already sick with something else get the coronavirus, they might get more seriously ill. They may need to go to hospital. But most people won’t stay unwell for too long.

 

Do children have a higher chance of getting sick or dying from this virus than adults? George, 9

Kids can catch the coronavirus, but it doesn’t seem to make most children very sick.

Older people and people with some other medical conditions don’t seem to be able to fight coronavirus off so well, though.

COVID-19 is a new virus, so we are still trying to work out why kids and older people may react differently. We also still don’t have a vaccine for the virus. That’s why we all need to work together to stop the coronavirus spreading around and reaching people whose bodies might not be able to fight it as well as you can.

 

Will everyone die? Albie, 7

No, deaths from COVID-19 are quite rare. Most people get better and in fact, many people only get mild symptoms or none at all. Unfortunately, some people, particularly some older people, or people who already have some other diseases, get very sick with this virus.

That’s why we need to work together to help stop the spread of the virus by washing our hands and covering our coughs and sneezes. In this way, we can help keep everyone in our community safe.

 

If children get it does it last as long as it does for adults? Or does it go away at all? Lillian, 10

Kids can catch the coronavirus, but it doesn’t seem to make most children sick. Other people may just get mild symptoms like a sore throat, runny nose, and a cough. Older adults, or some people who already have other diseases, including kids, can get very sick and it can take them a while to recover.

Scientists are working to make a vaccine to protect everyone against the virus. Meanwhile, it is important to wash your hands with soap and water often and cover and nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough. This will help protect everyone around you, not just from coronavirus but from other germs like colds and flu.

 

Why do they say it travels through kids and that’s ok? Because I don’t want to hurt my mummy if it will make her sick if she got it? Albie, 7

It’s good for you to want to protect your mum, family, and friends. Kids can catch the coronavirus, but it doesn’t seem to make most children sick. Older people may get sick but not always. That is why it is important to wash your hands with soap and water often and cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough. This will help protect ourselves and everyone around us, even when we are feeling well with no signs of being sick.

 

Can I catch coronavirus from my pets? Flynn, 12

At the moment, scientists believe that pets such as dogs and cats can’t get coronavirus and give it to you. So, playing with your pets is OK as long as you remember to wash your hands afterwards – your pets can be pretty germy anyway (have you seen them lick their bums?)!

 

Is there a vaccine for the coronavirus? If not, how long will it take to make it? Charlie, 8; Emily, 9; Meg 9; Will, 9; Isla, 9

COVID-19 is a new virus so there isn’t a vaccine for it yet. Scientists around the world, including in Australia, are working really hard to create one, though. Even though they are making great progress, it will probably take between a year and a year and a half before a vaccine is available from your doctor.

 

 

STATUS OF CORONAVIRUS

 

How long will coronavirus go on for? Lockie, Billy 13, Albie 7, Meg 9, Mimmie 11, Lexi 10

We don’t know for sure. Scientists in Australia and around the world are working hard to develop a vaccine so you don’t get sick if you come in contact with the virus. We’re not sure how long that will take but our best guess is around one year to one and a half years.
That’s why it’s really important to wash your hands regularly with soap, sneeze, and cough into a tissue or your elbow, and keep 1.5 metres or two big steps back from other people whenever you can.

 

How many cases are there? Emily 9

The number of people getting the virus is changing every day. At the moment, the numbers are going up across some countries. In others they are staying roughly the same. Australia is doing much better with fewer people now catching the virus than a month or so ago. However, in China, where the virus was first found, the numbers seem to be going down at the moment. Remember that these numbers change every day.

To get the numbers down, it’s really important to wash your hands regularly with soap, sneeze and cough into a tissue or your elbow, and keep two big steps from other people, and follow any other rules the government, your parents or carers recommend. The adults in your life will look after you to help make sure you and everyone around you stay safe.

 

 

HELPING TO STOP CORONA VIRUS

 

What things can we do to help? Joe 8, Henry 15

There are a lot of things you can do to help keep everyone healthy.

The best way to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus is to wash your hands properly and avoid touching your face.

You need to wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, or as long as it takes to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice. There are some great YouTube videos on how to wash your hands properly.

Hand-sanitiser works well if you can’t find soap and water.

Always sneeze or cough into a tissue and wash your hands. If you don’t have a tissue, do the ‘Dracula sneeze’ – into your elbow.

Another thing you can do to help prevent the spread of the virus is to wipe down things you frequently touch, for example, your phone, table, bedroom door handle, etc.

It’s also a good idea to do everyday things to keep your body healthy – eating well, getting enough sleep and moving your body every day. Look after your mental health too – if you’re worried, talk to an adult you trust. Try doing things that you like – reading books, listening to or making music, being creative.

Finally, if you feel sick, stay at home.

Remember, even if you might not get ill from coronavirus, doing these easy things helps keep people safe who might get ill and also stops other germs from spreading too!

 

Do I have to sing happy birthday when I wash my hands to stop catching the virus – I don’t understand why it works when it’s not my birthday. Millie, 5

This is a great question! And you’re in luck, Millie – it’s not the song that kills the virus. Singing the song twice takes about 20 seconds, which is how long you should wash your hands with soap and water to properly remove the germs.
You can count very slowly to twenty or choose any song you like that is 20 seconds long. There’s a great app called washyourlyrics.com that will make a handwashing poster with the words of your favourite song!

 

Should I wear a mask? Isla, 4

No. If you’re healthy there’s no need to wear a mask. You only need to wear a mask if you are sick or looking after someone who is sick.

 

 

SOCIAL DISTANCING AND SELF-ISOLATION

 

What is social distancing? David, 8

Social distancing is something everyone can do to help stop the spread of germs. It means putting plenty of space between you and other people – for example, keeping at least 1.5 metres between yourself and another person (that’s about two big steps away), or not shaking hands, and not playing sports like football or netball. The more space there is between you and other people, the harder it is for germs to spread. Think of yourself as having a large space ball or ‘personal bubble’ around yourself that no one other than your carer or siblings can step into!

Right now, all Australians, including children and young people, are being asked to keep plenty of space from other people to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

You will have noticed that your usual group activities out of the home (like sport, dancing, swimming or visiting family) have been canceled or postponed to help stop the spread of coronavirus. These are also examples of social distancing.

Keeping plenty of space between you and other people can be hard, especially when you want to spend time with your friends or members of your family. But it’s not impossible and it won’t be forever!

There are lots of ways to spend time with the people you care about that don’t involve physical contact and if you can’t see someone for a while, you can still speak on the phone, use video calls or even write a letter. Use your imagination!

 

What is self-isolation?  Joe, 8; Eve, 9; Will 9

Self-isolation is more strict than social distancing. It is where you stay at home and keep away from everyone except the people you usually live with. This is to help stop the spread of coronavirus as well as to avoid catching it.

Some people have to go into self-isolation because if they get the virus they have other illnesses which make them more likely to get sick from coronavirus (many elderly people have chosen to stay at home to reduce the chance of getting sick). Other people may go into self-isolation because they could be sick with coronavirus and don’t want to spread it.

All people who come from the mainland or overseas or who have been in contact with someone with coronavirus must go into self-isolation. In this case, isolation lasts for 14 days because it can take 14 days to find out if you are sick with coronavirus.

 

What is lockdown? Does it really mean we can’t be around anyone at all? Will, 9; George, 9; Joe, 8; Mimmi, 11; and Lexi, 10

Lockdown is a way of describing much stricter versions of social distancing and self-isolation because it applies to everyone in an area, town or even a country.

Lockdowns involve lots of different ways to keep people apart from each other to stop the virus from spreading. During April, people have been talking about the strict social distancing measures in place around Australia as ”lock down” as these rules have been quite strict and have involved staying at home and not going out except for very important reasons like seeing a doctor, and for many students, not being able to go to school (though you probably would study at home).

When there is a lockdown, staying active and keeping in contact with people who matter to you is important, but this will need to be done in different ways, like playing in the garden or inside, doing arts and crafts, chatting with your friends and family online or by phone, or doing online games or classes.

 

Why do we have to separate our desks at school? Jasper, 6

Right now, all Australians, including children and young people, are being asked to keep plenty of space from other people to help stop the spread of coronavirus. Having separate desks is one example of how you can do this. The more space there is between you and other people, the harder it is for germs to spread.

 

Am I allowed to hug my parents still? Rosa, 11

Hugging your parents is absolutely fine unless they say you shouldn’t – because, for example, they are sick. You are usually close to them a lot of the time already so already share lots of other germs with them (yukky as that might sound)!

 

My parents are separated, and I stay at both their houses. What will I do if I have to self-isolate? Rosa, 11

It’s true that if you are diagnosed with coronavirus you will have to stay at home for two weeks. Your parents/carers will work out which house you will stay at for the two weeks. However, while you will be staying at only one of your parent/carer’s homes, you can still talk with your other parent/carer by phone, social media or video.

 

Will the coronavirus affect kids in foster care, and is, how?

Children and young people in foster care, like all young Tasmanians, are experiencing changes to their lives. These changes have been put in place to ensure the safety of you, your family, carers, friends, and community.

Currently, most people in Tasmania are not able to travel interstate or overseas.

Other things that apply to everyone include social distancing – you’re not allowed out in public in groups larger than two. So, for example, you can go to the park with one friend to kick a soccer ball. There is one exception to the rule though – you can go out in a group of three or more if you all live in the same house. So, for example, you and your foster carers (say, you, your carer(s) and other children living in your house) could go for a walk even though there’s more than two of you because you all live in the same house.

To help stop coronavirus spreading around the community, however, visits with your family may happen less often than usual or they might happen in a different way, like over the phone or the internet. Check with your carer or child safety officer who will be able to let you know whether your family visits will happen less often or be changed. Obviously, if you or any of your family get sick, you won’t be able to visit for two weeks to protect each other from getting the virus.

As a child or young person living in out-of-home care, you probably have questions about what’s happening with coronavirus at the moment and how it affects you. Make sure you have your caseworker and any other important adult contact information in case you need to ask them questions. If you need to talk with your caseworker but don’t have their contact details, ask your carer or contact Tasmania’s Strong Families Safe Kids Advice and Referral Line on 1800 000 123. If you are worried or concerned that the adults in your life are not listening to your concerns you can call the Child Advocate on 1800 549 725, mobile 0419 970 181 or email at child.advocate@communities.tas.gov.au.

 

What will happen if parents can’t be home to look after their kids? Henry, 15

When parents can’t be home to look after their children because they are at work, they usually make plans with a family member, a friend or a babysitter/childcarer to look after their children.

For some older kids, like some teenagers, they are used to being home and unsupervised. This is OK.

If you are worried that a younger person isn’t being looked after properly, talk with an adult you trust. There are also places that can help, like Strong Families Advice and Referral Line on 1800 000 123.

 

Can I play outside or do I have to stay indoors? Georgie 4, Albie 7

Playing outdoors is great – as long as you are well. Just remember to keep two steps from other people near you unless you live with them, cover your coughs and sneezes, and wash your hands with soap or use hand sanitiser. Recently, the Government asked people to stay indoors as much as possible to stop the virus from spreading through the community. You are not allowed to play on play equipment at the moment but you can, for example, go for walks and runs or ride a bike outdoors.

My sport has been canceled. What can I do now? Jake, 8

Just because we can’t play our usual sport does not mean we can’t be active. Being active with others is not only great for our bodies, it’s really important for our mental health too. You could go for a walk, ride a bike, climb a tree, build a cubby house, teach your pet some new tricks or go for a swim at the beach (remembering to keep a few paces from people other than your family)!

One of the best things about being a kid is that you usually have a better imagination than adults. So, use your imagination to come up with fun ideas and games that still let you have fun while keeping a distance from your friends, whether you’re indoors or outdoors.

If you’re playing alone at home, you could read, draw, cook, play cards or watch a movie. If you have a computer, you could meet up online with your friends using a video app, play online games and even make group movies together.

 

I’m turning 18 in a month. Everything is closed – festivals, bars, everything but school. And now they’re saying I can’t have more than one friend over. But I’m not even going to get sick. What’s with that? Maddie, 17

This is definitely not an easy time for anyone and having to change the way you do things – particularly celebrating your 18th birthday – understandably can make you upset and even angry. That’s normal.

However, everyone is at risk of getting COVID-19 and every age group, including teenagers, is still at risk of becoming seriously ill, even if the risk is smaller for younger people than for the elderly. An even bigger risk is not knowing you have the virus and giving it to people around you – your friends, family and people you come into contact with. Young people who practice social distancing are saving lives.

For your birthday and other celebrations, you can come up with innovative ways to celebrate that won’t risk yourself or people you care about (let’s face it, you’re probably more tech-savvy and imaginative than the adults around you)! Check out group apps that will let you and your friends get together online for a “virtual party”. Another idea is to hold off celebrating till later and using the time now to really plan something special!

 

It’s my birthday soon. Can I still have a party? Madeleine, 6

Depending on what your family or carers decide, this year it might be a bit different to parties you’ve had before – which could make it all the more exciting. Your parents or carers may decide only your family should come to your party this year or just one or two of your friends. They may decide to have it at home or possibly outdoors, if possible. They might also decide to delay until a little later. You may decide to surprise your grandparents by having them join in for your party by skype or telephone. Whatever you decide with your family or carers, it’s still your birthday and people will help make it a special day.

 

Will Easter Bunny still be coming this year?

Fortunately for the Easter Bunny and us, the Easter Bunny is a rabbit and scientists tell us rabbits can’t get coronavirus and they can’t spread it to us. Even better, because the Easter Bunny is a little bit magic, just like the Easter Bilby and the Tooth Fairy, the magic means they will arrive at Easter, just like they normally do.

 

Why is it OK to travel on public transport if we have to be 1.5 metres apart? Henry, 15

At the moment, the government advises it is safe to travel on public transport. Buses and other public transport are being cleaned especially to make them safer. People have few face-to-face interactions on the bus when someone could sneeze on them. Washing your hands or using hand sanitiser after leaving the bus is the most effective way to steer clear of the virus.

You can do a lot to help protect other travellers on public transport though:

  • stay home and not catch public transport if you are feeling unwell
  • don’t catch public transport if you have travelled overseas in the past 14 days
  • practice good personal hygiene including:
    • cleaning your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or
    • use an alcohol-based hand rub
      covering your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with a tissue or a flexed elbow.

For shorter trips, you could also walk, skateboard, scooter or ride a bike as long as you remember to keep the appropriate distance from others.

 

I am homeschooled. Am I allowed to have my friends travel from Launceston to visit me? Edwin, 11

At the moment, the government has asked us to stay at home as much as we can. We should only travel for very special things like going to the doctor, buying food or going to work or getting exercise close to home. It’s really important to keep in contact with your friends, though, and there are some really creative and fun ways of catching up with your friends even if they can’t visit you. If your parents are happy for you to, you can use group apps like Zoom, Skype or Houseparty to talk with your friends online. And don’t forget the phone!

 

What would they do if someone had the coronavirus on a plane? Bronte 10

It is very unlikely that you will catch coronavirus while on a plane. This is because the air on planes is purified with surgical-grade filters (they are a bit like the masks doctors wear in hospitals, only much larger). The planes are also very carefully cleaned, and the airline crew has been trained in how to help avoid the disease spreading.

If a passenger on the plane becomes ill with symptoms of the coronavirus, the crew will move them into an area where the ill person can sit by themselves. Anyone sitting near them or in close contact with them will have to stay at home for 14 days and may have to be tested.

If a person doesn’t realise until after they get off the plane that they are ill, the passengers who were sitting near the ill person will be contacted and told they have to stay at home for 14 days and may have to be tested.

 

When will grandparents be able to visit from overseas again? Fin, 9

At the moment we don’t know. The government and health experts decided to stop flights into Australia to keep us and your grandparents well. However, once the number of people with the virus starts dropping, the government will decide when it is okay to allow people to travel again to Australia and your grandparents will be able to visit you. Meanwhile, you can chat online or on the telephone with your grandparents or even write letters and postcards to them.

 

 

SCHOOL

 

If we should already be practising social distancing why are the schools not yet closed? Aja, 14

The Government has spoken with lots of health experts and has decided that it is safe to keep schools open for now. It is also making plans in case schools do need to close in the future.

To help stop the spread of coronavirus while you are at school, it is important not to get too close to your friends. This is called ‘social distancing’. Washing your hands is also important, and if you need to cough or sneeze do it into a tissue or your elbow.
Children don’t seem to get very sick with coronavirus but, just like you don’t want to get other people’s germs in your body, other people don’t want to get your germs either!

If you feel sick, you should stay home from school.

If your parents or carers decide to take you out of school, you will still need to practice social distancing at home. Talk with your parents and carers about how best to do this.

 

How long will it be until I can go back to school? Billy, 13

Some parents have decided to keep their children home from school because of the coronavirus and some private schools have already closed.

It’s hard to put a time on how long the situation will last. It is important to speak with your parents and carers about how you can stay in contact with your friends while you are at home.

 

Will our school shut down? If so, when and for how long? Eve, 9; Will, 9; Indy 7; Lockie; Lillian, 10

There is definitely a chance that your school will need to close because of coronavirus but it is hard to say when or for how long.
Your school might close for a while if someone at your school gets sick with coronavirus. This might just be for a few days or weeks.
Also, the government might decide that schools need to close to keep everyone in our community safer. If that happens, schools might be closed for a few weeks or even a few months. This will depend on what the experts say and what is the most practical thing to do.
Your teachers and parents or carers will let you know if your school needs to close and will help you to keep learning from home.

Update: School holidays at public schools are starting a little earlier this year. Your last day of classes before the holidays will be Friday, 3 April. This will give teachers more time to prepare new ways you do your lessons in case you have to stay at home to do classes after the holidays finish.

 

Will we be going back to school next term? Alice (no age given)

Yes. You may or may not be going to school itself but you will definitely still be doing your classes either at home or, if the situation allows, back at your school.

Teachers are working really hard to prepare classes for your next term so that you can do your lessons in new ways (for example, online or with special packs of workbooks) if you have to stay at home to do your classes after the holidays finish.

 

If we can’t go to school, how will we do school from home and can we do exams? Mimmi, 11; Lexi, 10; Indy 7

Lots of children and young people in Australia already do school from home. They do this through online learning, apps, TV, and even paper-based resources. Many tests and exams can even be done from home!

Schools are working hard to make sure that even more students can do school from home if they need to because of coronavirus. You can talk with your teachers and parents or carers about your ideas for how you could learn from home.

 

Will we be going back to school next term? Alice (no age given)

Yes. You may or may not be going to school itself but you will definitely still be doing your classes either at home or, if the situation allows, back at your school.

Teachers are working really hard to prepare classes for your next term so that you can do your lessons in new ways (for example, online or with special packs of workbooks) if you have to stay at home to do your classes after the holidays finish.

 

If schools close, will we have to repeat the school year? Ruby, 12

No. Learning is really important for young people and for the community. That’s why the government and the community want to make sure learning continues for you even if schools have to close in the future. Teachers and principals across Tasmania are working incredibly hard to make online classes and workbooks to make sure your learning will continue this year.

 

 

OTHER QUESTIONS

 

Why is everyone buying toilet paper? Lockie, 14

Sometimes, when people worry about something, it helps them to feel they are fully prepared. That’s why some people have been buying heaps of toilet paper – much more than they need. Other people see there isn’t much toilet paper on the shelf and buy more toilet paper than they normally would because they worry they might miss out. So now shops are having to work hard to get more toilet paper for everyone. In the meantime, if we don’t have any, we can get it from friends and family.

 

Why does my mum have to go to work when other parents don’t have to? Williams, 6 (William’s mum is a police radio dispatch officer)

Many people in Tasmania, like your mum, are doing a really important job at the moment that helps to keep our community safe. And her job is one that she can’t do from home. That is why she still has to go to work. Everyone in Tasmania is incredibly grateful to her and all the people doing jobs like hers that keep us safe. You can also help her stay well by washing your hands properly and covering your coughs and sneezes and telling her that you love her.