Some of Victoria’s biggest universities are moving classes online after a state of emergency was declared in Victoria to deal with the spread of coronavirus

La Trobe, Monash and Swinburne universities announced on Monday night that from Tuesday, all classes will be suspended until the end of the week so staff can prepare for online learning.
Swinburne University will pause lectures until next week, while those at La Trobe and Monash will be recorded and made available online.
In a statement posted online, La Trobe said the outbreak of COVID-19 is posing “unprecedented challenges” for the university.
“Events over the weekend and this morning have necessitated a rapid review of the university’s response,” it said.
“While there have been no new confirmed cases to date of COVID-19 on our campuses following the first confirmed case last week, it is critical that members of our community remain as safe as possible while ensuring minimal disruption to teaching and research activities.”
If forced to close its campuses, La Trobe said all fixed-term and continuing staff would be paid, while casual staff would be paid for up to four weeks, based on the work they would have performed if not for the shutdown.
It comes after Premier Daniel Andrews declared the state of emergency on Monday to enforce the national 14-day isolation sanctions on all travellers coming into Australia, earlier announced by the prime minister.
Anyone returning from overseas will have to self-isolate or risk fines of up to $20,000, while police officers will have the power to can detain people, restrict movement and prevent entry to premises.
Mr Andrews said it would be unwise to disregard the instructions.
“Not only are you putting the health of your loved ones and every family across Victoria at risk, but you’re also breaking the law,” he told reporters on Monday.
Schools have not been told to close but many private schools across the state – including Ballarat Grammar, Carey Baptist Grammar School, Loreto Mandeville Hall, St Kevins and Yeshiva-Beth Rivkah College – have decided to.
Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton argued the decision not to close schools was based on how the disease presented in children, and to avoid busy health and emergency workers being forced to look after their children.
“For children under nine years of age, it is an extremely mild disease,” Mr Sutton said.
“My kids are in primary school and in childcare and I’m very happy for them to be there.”
Victoria’s coronavirus tally is now 71 after 14 new cases were confirmed. Five people are recovering in hospital.
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