Sydney, Australia, Mar 19, 2020 / 14:00 pm America/Denver (CNA).
Catholic schools in Australia will remain open after pressure from the federal government and the intervention of the Archbishop of Sydney. The announcement on Wednesday came one day before the Archdiocese of Adelaide suspended public Masses.
Previously, Sydney Catholic Schools and the Archdiocese of Sydney had advocated shuttering the schools in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Australian government did not support the plan out of concern for the economic effects of closing schools, and has said there is not yet a medical justification for the move.
The Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday threatened to cut funding for Catholic and independent schools if they were to shutter in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, and reached out to Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney.
On Wednesday, Fisher penned a letter stating that he was supporting the government’s plan on keeping schools open at this time.
"It is the view of bishops, presently here in Sydney for a meeting of the permanent committee [of the bishops’ conference], that we should not break ranks with our Commonwealth and state governments and their chief medical officer” when it comes to closing schools, said Fisher.