SuniTAFE preparing

SUNITAFE chief executive officer Geoff Dea says the institute was taking "every step" to prevent the spread of coronavirus, including cancelling its Swan Hill graduation ceremony tonight.

"At this stage we're working very closely with the Department of Education and Training," Mr Dea said.

"We're following the guidelines provided by DHHS quite closely and in fact we're doing a couple of additional things."

Some of the actions taken include "beefing up" cleaning regimes, adding hand sanitiser stations around the campuses and implementing social distancing measures.

At this stage TAFE campuses would remain open, but Mr Dea said in the event of a shutdown, some courses would adapt better than others.

"We have a number of our courses that are online already and people can study those online now," he said.

"But as you can well imagine, in some of the practical courses, where the training and the assessment need to be done in a very practical sense, it's really not appropriate that those courses go online.

"I'm talking about things like automotive, engineering, plumbing, electrical, where it's not possible to put those courses online."

The cancellation of the Swan Hill graduation and awards ceremony follows a ban on handshakes at the Mildura ceremony, which was held two weeks ago.

Mr Dea said the then-controversial move had proved to be "prudent" and he believed cancelling Swan Hill's event was also a sensible decision.

"While we expected less than 500 to attend, we have taken the step of cancelling the Swan Hill event," he said.

Meanwhile, the opening of the Swan Hill Skills and Job Centre event scheduled for March 26 at the Swan Hill Town Hall has been postponed.

"This is a precautionary measure and due to the uncertainty surrounding the increasing impact coronavirus may have on the community," the TAFE said in a statement.

"As always, the safety of our students, staff and community is our highest priority. We will be in contact with the new information once we are able to go ahead with this event."