Australian Teacher Tests Positive For COVID-19

By AAP
May 3, 2020 Updated: May 3, 2020

A primary school in an Australian suburb in Melbourne north will be shut for three days after one of its music teachers tested positive to COVID-19.

But the principal of the school says the teacher had not been in contact with any children this year.

Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos revealed Meadowglen Primary School in Epping will be closed from Monday until Wednesday in response to the infected staff member, allowing time for deep cleaning.

“This staff member has been on site recently … this is why it is necessary for the school needs to be cleaned,” she told reporters on Sunday.

Parents and carers of children at the school were notified of the development on Sunday morning.

Students who have been attending the school in person will be able to go to a neighbouring school until the school reopens on Thursday.

Victoria recorded 13 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, an uptick on recent days which has brought the state’s total number of cases so far to 1,384.

Six of the new cases are linked to an outbreak at a meat processing plant.

Victorian meat safety regulator PrimeSafe has stressed meat processed at the facility does not pose any risk, as there is no evidence COVID-19 can be transmitted to people through food or packaging.

“Based on this information, consumers can have confidence that meat processed at the facility is safe to eat,” they said in a statement on Sunday.

The Department of Health and Human Services has elected not to name the plant, with Mikakos stressing the authority only does so for outbreaks where there is a “significant public health risk.”

She insisted there was no double standard in the government releasing the name of Meadowglen Primary School.

“We have made these assessments on a case by case basis each and every time,” she said.

The prime school’s principal Loretta Piazza said the infected staff member was a music teacher, who is experiencing mild symptoms and hasn’t been in contact with students in person this year.

Contact tracing at the school has been completed and only two other teachers will need to enter quarantine for two weeks, she said.

The music teacher undertook the test which came back positive because a family member was tested.

“It’s my understanding that he was involved in a cluster very early on and he did go to get tested and he tried a number of times to be tested but was knocked back,” she told 3AW on Sunday.

More than 9,000 people were tested for coronavirus in Victoria on Saturday, as a testing blitz aiming to amass 100,000 tests in the fortnight to May 11 continues.

Three of the latest identified cases have been confirmed through the blitz.

Victoria is not expected to relax its measures to suppress the spread of coronavirus before its state of emergency is due to expire on May 11.

Victoria Police issued 46 fines to people breaching coronavirus restrictions in the 24 hours to Saturday at 11pm, after completing 853 spot checks.

Meanwhile, the state government is also giving several major zoos—Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Open Range Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary and Phillip Island Nature Parks—$14 million (US$9 million) to ensure they can continue operating and retain permanent staff.

By Marnie Banger