Virus concerns close more schools

Clonard College. (Louisa Jones) 211666_05

By Luke Voogt

Western Heights College has become the latest of several Geelong schools to close amid COVID-19 exposure fears.

Principal Fiona Taylor notified parents of the school’s closure in an email last night about 10pm, after the Independent went to deadline.

“Our school has been advised of a report case of coronavirus,” she wrote.

Belmont High School also closed yesterday.

Principal Sandra Eglezos advised parents that the school would close for at least 24 hours beginning yesterday following a report of a COVID-19 case in its community.

“All students are asked to stay home until further advice is provided,” she said on Wednesday.

A Geelong Baptist College student tested positive to COVID-19 earlier this week, resulting in the school immediately closing its doors on Wednesday.

Principals Judy Sobey and Neil Wetmore said in a letter to parents that the school would remain closed until further notice for contact tracing.

The college remained closed yesterday with no announcement yet as to when it would reopen.

Grovedale West Primary School also remained closed yesterday until further notice.

But Clonard College is set to reopen today after closing last Monday, principal Luci Quinn has advised parents.

“This decision has been made following the completion of the deep clean, close contact tracing and testing processes,” she said in an email yesterday.

“Our reopening to students has been confirmed by Kildare Education Ministries, Catholic Education Melbourne and the Department of Health and Human Services.”

A mother of Clonard student, who wished to remain anonymous, said her daughter had been “freaking out” due to limited information from the department.

“She was really stressed,” she said.

“It’s not good for their mental health not knowing whether to get tested or not, or if they came into contact with the infected student.

“We had to wait two weeks for all those contacts to find out if they were positive or not. But we’re relieved now.”

She extended her best wishes to the infected student and their family.

“It’s not their fault and it’s not the kid’s fault that they’re in this situation. It’s horrible bad luck,” she said.

“I’d hate for them to think that they’d be blamed in any way.”

Kardinia College is also set to reopen today, it confirmed to the Independent, after closing on Tuesday due to a possible COVID-19 case.

Covenant College also closed on Tuesday, after a student came into “direct contact” with a COVID-19 case, principal Sue Cox said in an email to parents the night before.

The college, located in Bell Post Hill, reopened on Wednesday, a staff member confirmed.