NSW Health has ordered the closure of Sydney’s Epping Boys High School after a year 11 student was identified as the latest victim of the coronavirus outbreak in New South Wales on Thursday night.
Health officials ordered the entire campus of about 1100 students to be shut down for a day to prevent a further spread of the virus and to allow the school community and health officials to devise a “contact and containment strategy”.
In its statement released about 10pm, NSW Health advised students and staff to stay at home and self-isolate over the weekend.
“The school will provide a further update over the weekend about next steps,” the statement read.
We wish to advise you that Epping Boys High School will not be operational tomorrow. A student at the schools has…
The school’s Facebook page told the school community that staff and students will be advised if they can return on Monday, or if a further quarantine period was necessary.
The child, who is believed to be 16, is reportedly suffering from moderate to mild symptoms of COVID-19.
Authorities believe he became infected after contact with someone already identified by health authorities.
NSW Education Secretary Mark Scott said continuity plans were being enacted at the school and contact was being made with parents, students and the broader education community to provide advice and support.
The school’s website includes a news item posted in January about how to deal with the coronavirus, including a link to the education department’s advice.
The student is the first child in NSW to be diagnosed with the novel coronavirus.
His case brings the number of confirmed cases in the state to 25 after another two were confirmed on Thursday.
They include a 94-year-old patient at the Dorothy Henderson Lodge and a Goulburn resident who returned from Singapore aboard QF02 on February 28, before travelling to Darwin on QF840.
NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said all new cases were being advised to self-isolate for 14 days, monitor their health and be tested should they become unwell.
The NSW Health statement said the state has planned for a community spread of COVID-19 in Australia through the development and deployment of whole-of-government and NSW Health Influenza Pandemic Plans.
Details of the plans are available on the NSW Health website.
If you are unwell, NSW Health advises you to call before visiting your GP or emergency department, or phone healthdirect for advice on 1800 022 222.