News State Victoria News Melbourne principal suspended over virus cluster

Melbourne principal suspended over virus cluster

fitzroy community school
The principal of the Fitzroy Community School has been suspended over a virus outbreak.
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A Melbourne principal has temporarily lost his registration after his school was caught up in a COVID-19 outbreak while operating at full capacity during a lockdown.

More than 30 COVID-19 cases were linked to the outbreak last month at Fitzroy Community School, which spread to students, teachers and household contacts.

The school of 60 students had been inviting all parents to send their kids to class in breach of lockdown restrictions, a move it publicly defended.

Principal Timothy Berryman has been handed an interim suspension by the Victorian Institute of Teaching, pending an investigation.

According to the institute’s register of disciplinary action, Mr Berryman’s suspension came into effect on Wednesday.

VIT has the power to suspend a teacher’s registration if it forms the view “the teacher poses an unacceptable risk of harm to children” or it is “necessary to protect children”.

It came as authorities raced to identify vulnerable young patients who were exposed to a COVID-19 outbreak at a Melbourne children’s hospital cancer ward.

A patient’s parent spent at least four days at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Parkville while infectious between October 1-4.

Contact tracing was still underway on Wednesday night.

The hospital’s Kookaburra cancer care ward has been identified as a tier one exposure site, and its main street walkway has been listed as a tier two site for September 26.

RCH CEO Bernadette McDonald said all affected patients, parents or carers have been put into single rooms at the hospital to quarantine for 14 days.

No child in the cancer ward had tested positive as of Wednesday night. The hospital has 12 COVID-19 positive patients under its care, with four in other wards and eight being treated at home.

Ms McDonald said some children were turning up to the hospital with other illnesses or injuries and then testing positive for coronavirus.

Victoria recorded the deadliest day of its third wave of the pandemic on Wednesday, with 11 deaths and a further 1420 local cases.

Meanwhile, more Victorians stranded in the ACT and NSW can now come home after border restrictions eased overnight.