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Detention for wearing a coat in freezing classroom



Concerned parents have told the Herald Sun that students at public and private schools are required to remove outerwear at the school gates as coats are not deemed part of the uniform. But there has been no change to the rule, despite children shivering through classes, with windows and doors left open to minimise the spread of Covid and the flu.A Year 12 student at Box Hill’s Our Lady of Sion College said girls continued to be reprimanded for wearing additional layers of clothing on top of a “thin” blouse and skirt that were ineffective against falling temperatures.“I’ve been told off for wearing my scarf indoors. Teachers have been going around telling people to take them off,” she said. A father of a student at Blackburn Secondary College said his son had to remove a jacket before stepping past the school’s gate because it was not part of the official uniform. But the school in Melbourne’s east does not have its own coat available for parents to purchase.“If it’s raining when they walk to school, their blazer gets soaked and then they are forced to sit inside a freezing classroom,” he said.At Mentone Girls Secondary School, parents have reported that their kids have been instructed to remove coats and scarfs inside.Detentions are being issued at other schools to students who do not remove scarfs and coats once inside the classroom even though windows and doors are wide open.A childcare centre in Melbourne’s southeast has also left windows open as temperatures drop.Our Lady of Sion College claimed it would be amending its policy and allow students to wear scarfs indoors after being contacted by the Herald Sun.But the senior student said: “There are certain teachers who won’t say anything if we’re wearing them (scarfs), but we are still continuing to be told off for them.”Mentone Girls Secondary School principal Linda Brown said staff had received queries about how the school would balance health advice and keeping students warm. “Doors and windows aren’t open on extremely cold days and heating is running, and it is regular practice that students would remove jackets when they’re inside,” she said.Our Lady of Sion principal Tina Apostolopoulos said the school would continue to follow the government advice throughout winter.Department of Education Covid ventilation policy recommends schools use outdoor teaching spaces where possible, or to “maximise ventilation of indoor spaces with outside air” by teaching classes with windows and doors open.But the advice is not mandated, and air purifiers have been deemed effective enough to ventilate classrooms in winter without windows and doors having to be left open.Education Minister James Merlino said schools enforced their own uniform policies, but they should take a “common sense” approach to using windows as a “double insurance” safety measure because air purifiers were sufficient.“Windows can be closed, heaters can be on. Students and staff can be comfortable and will have air purifiers in every single classroom, so there’s no need for students to be cold in their classroom,” he said.

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