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Covid-19: Dellwood Middle School shut after health scare

Dellwood Middle School (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

A Pembroke middle school will shift back to remote learning this week after a teacher tested positive for the coronavirus.

A spokeswoman for the education ministry said at the weekend the new regime at Dellwood Middle School would start on Wednesday.

Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, said: “The priority for the Department, principal and teachers is to quickly put in place the teaching, learning and support services for the students.

“A counsellor and therapist will be available to help students with anxiety, stress and other feelings they may be experiencing through the transition.”

He added that Employee Assistance Programme help would be available for teachers and staff.

Mr Rabain said: “The principal and staff will keep parents and students updated through regular Zoom meetings and other communication tools.”

But pupils at St George’s Preparatory School were given the green light to return to class.

The Primary 2 class at the school was told to quarantine after a student was found to have had contact with someone with Covid-19.

But a letter from the Ministry of Health’s epidemiology and surveillance unit to parents and staff said a risk assessment had been conducted and they were in the clear.

The letter added: “As such, the Chief Medical Officer has advised that students, parents, families teachers and staff previously advised to quarantine in relation to this potential exposure may be released from quarantine and resume normal activities – that is, return to school, work and other activities.”

The letter warned that the use of masks, good hand hygiene and social distancing must be followed at the school to limit the risk of Covid-19 and anyone who showed symptoms should contact their GP.

David Burt, the Premier, said last Tuesday that no pupils at public or private schools had tested positive that week.

Groups from Saltus Grammar, Paget Primary, St George’s Prep and, it later emerged, West End Primary were in quarantine at the time

All those groups have now been told that the restrictions are lifted.

A Ministry of Health spokesman said that when there was contact, an assessment was carried out to assess the nature and setting of the contact.

The spokesman added that, in addition to confirmed cases, the World Health Organisation also had categories for “suspect” and “probable” cases.

He said: “If persons fall into these categories based on clinical and epidemiological criteria, an additional assessment is conducted which includes laboratory testing.

“During this assessment, additional public health measures including quarantining of contacts may be put into place.

“The extent of the quarantine, in terms of timing and extent of contacts, is dependent on the risk assessment and as such may vary among different situations and settings.”

The spokesman added that it was incorrect to say that “symptomatic close contacts” were “actually positive cases, even if they have tested negative”.

He said that usually those who were exposed in schools to symptomatic close contacts of a case – such as the school-aged child of a case – would be quarantined.

The spokesman added: “If additional household members of persons with potential school exposures are unable to effectively separate themselves from the quarantined person, then they would have to quarantine as well.

“If the school-aged child isn’t or has not been symptomatic, then their school contacts and family members unable to remain separate may not be required to quarantine.”

He said a similar procedure was in place for other workplaces.

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Published November 30, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated November 29, 2020 at 6:11 pm)

Covid-19: Dellwood Middle School shut after health scare

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