School forced to close after COVID-19 case


By Colin MacGillivray

CONTRACT tracing is underway at Our Lady of the Way Catholic Primary School in Wallan East after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

Parents at the school were notified about the positive test with letters from the school on Thursday and Friday.

In a letter, school principal Terry Cooney said the school would be closed to all students learning onsite until at least Monday, August 3.

The Department of Health and Human Services is tracing possible contacts of the staff member, and the school was cleaned and decontaminated on Friday.

A school spokeswoman said most students were learning remotely in accordance with Mitchell Shire’s lockdown guidelines and only a few students had been at the school at the same time as the infected staff member.

“We were pretty lucky in the sense that the government gave an extra week of school holidays, so we only had seven kids on site on the key date,” she said.

“The parents and school community have reacted really well.

“We didn’t have many parents with kids onsite, so for a lot of families it wasn’t applicable because they didn’t have their kids at school.

“We’ve had a few families ask if they need to be tested, but mostly it has been positive feedback and concern for the staff member, hoping that they recover well.”

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Mitchell Shire was 13 as of yesterday afternoon, the same as a week prior according to the department’s figures.

Macedon Ranges Shire had 10 active cases as of yesterday, up from five the previous week.

Two cases were linked to Gisborne Secondary College, with the school now closed for cleaning and contact tracing.

Case numbers in the City of Whittlesea continue to soar, with the department reporting 327 active cases in the area yesterday – up from 155 a week prior.

A planned temporary testing site in Whittlesea last week was scrapped at the last minute, with site operator DPV Health citing logistical reasons.

The testing site had been planned for AF Walker Recreation Reserve on Wednesday and Thursday last week, but DPV Health rescheduled testing for Whittlesea Showgrounds yesterday and today from 9.30am to 4pm.

Access to the temporary testing site is via McPhees Road and people can drive through or walk up with no appointment needed.