Children in school
Children in school

Mum takes no risks, pulls children out of school

Social  distancing could mean the difference between life and death for vulnerable people in Townsville.

People with chronic health conditions, compromised immune systems and the elderly are the most at-risk group of contracting coronavirus.

For a Deeragun mother, social distancing and self-isolation are the only chance she has to keep her vulnerable family protected from COVID-19.

Gelria Faram has made the difficult decision to pull her three eldest children from school to protect her youngest son, Lucas, who could die if he contracted coronavirus.

Lucas, 2, was born at just 24 weeks. He had a severe bleed to the brain, and had to have a ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt put in to relieve the pressure. But that was just the beginning.


Gelria Faram with her son Lucas, 2, who was born premature and is vulnerable to the coronavirus. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Gelria Faram with her son Lucas, 2, who was born premature and is vulnerable to the coronavirus. Picture: Alix Sweeney


Lucas has heart disease, chronic lung disease, cerebral palsy and is only just getting over a case of meningitis that developed after he caught a virus his sister brought home from school.

Despite the Federal Government putting in strict new social distancing rules, including closing pubs and clubs, schools remain open.



Many Townsville families disagree with the decision and have made the choice to pull their children out of school for now. For Mrs Faram, who pulled her children from school on Monday last week, the coronavirus is a very real and very dangerous threat to her family.

The two-year-old was one of the first people in Townsville to be tested for coronavirus, Mrs Faram said.

"(Lucas's sisters) Evie and Edith had contact with someone who had contact with the senator (Susan McDonald)," Mrs Faram said. "They were sick, they had high temperatures, (so I decided to) keep them home.

"Some people don't seem to think it's a serious situation for the fragile ones and the people that get sick easily.

"I am taking this very seriously. Lucas has quite a complex medical history and I really don't want him to catch it (coronavirus).

"I don't want my other kids to get it either, they're a little stronger than him."



Mrs Faram took advice from Lucas's regular paediatrician and has isolated the family to protect Lucas.

Her husband, Paul, works night shifts in an isolated job so he has been able to keep working. But for Lucas's siblings Evie, 7, Edith, 5, and Paul Jr, 4, it has meant homeschooling for the foreseeable future.

The family's school, Saint Anthony's Catholic College, has been extremely helpful, with teachers providing school work so the children can keep learning until they can be signed up for Distance Education.

Another Deeragun mum, Anthea Christiansen, pulled her daughter out of school yesterday to protect her elderly mother who lives with them.

Ms Christiansen said schools were not in a position to maintain social distancing policies.

"For the sake of the health of all involved, students, teachers and families, all educational facilities need to be closed or moved to online classes," she said.


Originally published as Mum takes no risks, pulls children out of school