COVID-19: Spotlight on Schools and Kids in Melbourne


It is well established that kids get less sick from COVID-19 than adults. However, what do we know about the extent infected children contribute to spreading the virus?

With some areas of Melbourne approaching their third week of lockdown and widespread community transmission, how do we make decisions about when it’s safe to reopen schools and what can we do to prevent kids from transmitting the virus? At Melbourne’s largest children’s hospital, we will hear what the commonest conditions are that are causing kids to get sick during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today we have three speakers to discuss these topics.



Professor Allen Cheng is Professor of Infectious Diseases Epidemiology and is Director of the Infection Prevention and Healthcare Epidemiology unit at Alfred Health. He is current President of the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases (ASID); he was the primary author for national guidelines for H1N1/09 influenza. He is current Chair of the Advisory Committee for Vaccines and a previous member of the Advisory Committee on Prescription Medicines, and Co-Chair of the Australian Technical Group on Immunisation (ATAGI). He is also a member of the National Influenza Surveillance Committee.

Professor Jodie McVernon is a public health physician and epidemiologist. She has extensive expertise in clinical vaccine trials, epidemiologic studies and mathematical modelling of infectious diseases, gained in Oxford, London and Melbourne. For the past 15 years she has been building capacity in infectious diseases modelling in Australia to inform immunization and pandemic preparedness policy. She has led nationally distributed networks of modellers informing responses to the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic and the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr Sarah McNab is a general paediatrician and the Director of General Medicine at The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. She holds honorary appointments with Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and The University of Melbourne.

Sarah’s PhD research compared intravenous fluids in children and helped lead international practice change. She is the founder and co-chair of CIRCAN (Children’s Inpatient Research Collaboration of Australia and New Zealand) which currently has representatives from 42 hospitals.


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