Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) is asking all students and staff at Mt Albert Grammar School to get tested to check there are no undiagnosed cases, following a second case infectious before lockdown.
The second case was confirmed yesterday, but was contagious while at the school from August 5 to 11. As a result, there is a small possibility that other students or staff may have caught the virus, but have not been diagnosed.
An ARPHS spokesperson says the school has sent out letters to all the students and staff, asking everyone to get tested, if they have not been tested since August 17.
A first case was confirmed as having attended the school on 10 August, but was not symptomatic then. Close contacts of this student were alerted on August 11. The first case is thought to have caught COVID-19 from a case in the wider community.
Except for these two known cases, no further cases have been found at the school. ARPHS would have expected to have seen other cases by now, if there was widespread transmission.
However, as a precaution, ARPHS is asking staff and students to be tested at any community testing centre, to identify any undiagnosed cases.
Students and staff are not being tested as close contacts, so do not need to stay in self isolation. They have been asked to adhere to Alert Level 3 restrictions, however, and not mix with people outside their bubble.
ARPHS has advised that the school can open on Monday 31 August for all staff and students. Mt Albert Grammar has taken all reasonable steps to follow health advice and minimise risk. The last two weeks in Alert Level 3 will have reduced the possibility of further transmission amongst students.
Public Health considers that the risk to the school community is low, but is asking that any sick student stays at home after the school opens fully on Monday, even if they do not have COVID-19 symptoms.
Headmaster Patrick Drumm is encouraging students and staff not already tested, to get tested. “I’ve had my test today, as we need to take all steps to check our school is safe.”
“Public Health is working with the school and I support the message to get tested. It is a necessary precaution, just to make sure that anyone who may have had COVID-19 is identified, so they can stay in self-isolation,” he says.
ARPHS says the student took the right actions to check for COVID-19, getting tested and staying in self-isolation. This will have limited the spread of the virus further in the community.
The principal is appealing to parents, students and staff not to speculate on the identity of the student or family involved, and not to name them on social media, as this can lead to on-line bullying and abuse.