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COVID hits Perth primary school on first day of school year

An elementary school in Perth’s southern suburbs will be closed on Wednesday after an infected teacher taught a class to third and fourth graders on the first day of school.

Nearly 340 students and more than a dozen teachers at Winterfold Elementary School in Beaconsfield will have to stay home.

The teacher and the students he taught must go through seclusion for two weeks.

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Principal Steve Perry wrote to parents on Tuesday to inform them of the infection – the first outbreak of Omicron in a school in Western Australia. “(The infected person) attended Room 11, our year 3/4 class during the infectious period on Monday, January 31, 2022,” Mr. Perry wrote.

“We are working closely with WA Health to identify and contact staff and families of children who have been in close contact with the case.

“If your child is in Room 11, our Year 3/4 class on Monday, January 31, 2022, please get your child tested at the COVID-19 clinic immediately, self-quarantine at home and follow the advice provided by WA Health.

Winterfold Primary School will be closed tomorrow (Wednesday, February 2, 2022) and will remain closed until more information is provided by the Department of Education.

“This will allow the testing of affected staff and students.”

camera iconWinterfold Primary School in Beaconsfield credit: Anonymous/supplied

Mr Perry said students who were not in Room 11 were not required to quarantine “unless specifically advised to do so by WA Health”.

“Please note that the Omicron strain can present with less common symptoms such as diarrhea, especially in children,” Berry said.

A spokeswoman for the Education Department confirmed this case, the first in a school in the current Omicron outbreak.

“The Department of Education contacted Winterfold Elementary School families and staff this afternoon to notify them of the school’s confirmed case of COVID-9,” she said.

The infection comes after 13 more cases were identified on Tuesday, five of which are mysterious cases with no confirmed links to existing clusters.

Three schools in the northern suburbs were declared exposure sites and temporarily closed last June after an infected person visited them, although the person carrying the virus in this case was not a teacher.

Under WA’s current protocols, the teacher will be required to spend 14 days in isolation, along with any children they have shared a classroom with.

Education Secretary Sue Ellery said last week that Chief Health Officer Andy Robertson will decide on a case-by-case basis whether schools affected by COVID will be required to close.

Earlier Tuesday, St John of God Midland Hospital confirmed that an “employee” had also contracted COVID-19.

“All close contacts are provided with advice relevant to testing,” a spokeswoman for SJOG Midland said.

“The hospital is well prepared for this situation and has processes in place to manage and protect patients, visitors and staff.”

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