Students and teachers at Mary MacKillop are wearing face coverings and masks in the classroom and also outside.

THERE was a smile of sorts on the face of the Premier Daniel Andrews today, Friday, July 24 when he announced the number of new coronavirus cases at 300, a big drop from the 400-plus numbers of recent days.

But is was certainly tempered by the news that there had been a further six deaths in the State, all of them coming from aged care settings; three people in their 90s and three people in their 80s.

The Premier could not provide a metro/regional breakdown on that 300, saying 51 related to known outbreaks, with 249 under investigation, or the 3734 active cases state-wide.

He did say however that he didn’t want to see any commentary that the state had somehow “turned the corner” with these lower numbers today, although he did say he expected the wearing of masks and face coverings in metro areas to be “a game changer” which would hopefully reveal itself in the next two weeks.

There were 24,118 tests conducted yesterday, down from highs around the 30,000 mark.

As well as praising Melbournians for the almost universal take up of face coverings, there was also considerable comment at this morning’s press conference about the ‘conspiracy theorist’ video that has gone viral on social media, of a young woman breaking through a Melbourne roadblock recently.

Police Minister Lisa Neville and senior police say the offender, who has been identified online, will be dealt with appropriately.

Face masks locally

Although face masks and face coverings aren’t compulsory in regional areas, there has been a significant take-up on a voluntary basis led by Mary MacKillop Catholic Regional College in Leongatha, making face coverings compulsory for staff and students in recognition of the fact that a small number of staff and students travel from the metro fringe to attend school in Leongatha.

In a letter to the school community earlier this week, the College announced that it was moving to make the wearing of masks or face-coverings compulsory from Thursday, July 23, 2020.

The college issued the following statement:

As our College has staff and students attending from metropolitan Melbourne areas, all staff at Mary MacKillop College will be required to wear face coverings when at school from Thursday, July 23, 2020 to protect the health and safety of all students, staff and the wider school community.

The following arrangements will apply:

* All school staff must wear a face covering

* All secondary students must wear a face covering

The exceptions are as follows:

* Teaching staff will not be required to wear a face covering when providing direct support to students in the classroom but will wear a face covering at all other times, including whilst undertaking yard duty.

* Learning Support staff providing direct instructions and support to students in the classroom may remove their face covering if it is not practical to wear one.

All staff and students are required to supply their own appropriate face covering that covers the nose and mouth.

The letter informing parents was posted on the school’s Facebook page.