News Coronavirus Adelaide student tests positive for COVID-19 after close contact with infected teacher

Adelaide student tests positive for COVID-19 after close contact with infected teacher

A student at Unley High School has tested positive for coronavirus. Photo: ABC News/Lincoln Rothall
Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

A year eight student at Adelaide’s Unley High School has tested positive for COVID-19.

In a letter to parents, the school said the student had been identified as a close contact of a staff member who tested positive for the virus last week.

The school reopened its doors this morning, after closing for cleaning once the staff member’s infection was confirmed.

But the letter states the school will not be closing again in light of the student’s positive test, because the child was not at school during the infectious period.

“It is important that you know that SA Health have confirmed there is no further risk at Unley High School due to this child,” principal Greg Rolton wrote.

“All other close contacts of the staff member are currently in quarantine and are being monitored for symptoms.”

The ABC understands the student attended school-based events and visited a number of businesses while suffering from symptoms last weekend.

After confirmation of the staff member’s positive test, the school was initially due to reopen on Thursday, however, the closure was extended for a further 24 hours.

Mr Rolton said while the second positive case was not ideal, the school was confident the isolation process had been effective.

“We will continue to monitor the situation via SA Health. I will keep our school community informed,” he wrote.

A letter distributed to parents by SA Education Minister John Gardner on Wednesday stated that the protocol was to close a site straight away if a case was confirmed.

“The government’s current COVID-19 protocol is to close a site immediately for a minimum of 24 hours if a confirmed case is identified for someone at that site,” he said.

“If that happens parents and carers will be contacted to come and collect their child and/or agree how they can leave safely.”

Unley High is among several Adelaide schools to close because of coronavirus cases.

A student from Sacred Heart College and a Scotch College student have also tested positive.

Both schools were temporarily closed to allow for cleaning to occur.

Earlier this week, acting chief medical officer Michael Cusack said SA Health supported schools staying open and “advocating for parents to send their children to school”.

“The information we have from the largest review of COVID-19, which has taken place in China, was that although children undoubtedly will get the infection, they did not find evidence of that infection occurring inside the schools,” Dr Cusack said on Tuesday.

“It wasn’t the case that children were infecting each other at school. It was much more the case they were getting the infection in their own families.”

SA Health said there were concerns that, if schools closed, students would be left in the care of grandparents and older relatives.

“If children have the disease, we’re exposing perhaps the more vulnerable members of our population to COVID-19,” he said.

Yesterday, SA Health announced the number of cases of coronavirus in the state had climbed above 40.

The government also revealed two hospitals were set to be reopened in Adelaide, to boost bed capacity by almost 200 to deal with an anticipated spike in cases.