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12.8.2020

Mt Albert Primary School will remain closed for the remainder of this week while Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) investigates COVID-19 cases in a school family.

An ARPHS spokesperson says a child in this family did attend school this week, but has tested negative and has no symptoms.

The child is not considered to have COVID-19 currently, although our nurses will be checking their health every day and retesting if required. At this point they are considered a close contact, not a case.

Public Health wants to assure staff and families in the school community that there is a low risk that the child was infectious while at school, but the service will be providing more information if they develop COVID-19.

While there will be a great deal of concern amongst families and staff, the service encourages only people who have COVID-19 symptoms to be tested at this stage. They should ring Healthline: 0800 358 5453 to discuss testing.

ARPHS will be working with Mt Albert Primary School if the student becomes a case, but in the meantime, the service will continue its investigations.

Principal Marian Caulfield says that the school will take public health advice before deciding whether to reopen on Monday 17 August, and this will also depend on the alert level.

“We would like to thank the family for doing the right thing by getting tested for COVID-19, and we wish the members of the family well,” she said.

Because of privacy concerns, the school will not be telling parents or staff the name of the student who is a close contact, their class or year level.

The principal is appealing to parents, students and staff not to speculate on the identity of the family involved, and not to name them on social media, as this can lead to on-line bullying and abuse.

Public Health is asking parents to remind their children to practise safe hand, cough and sneeze hygiene to reduce the risk of infection. The advice is:

  • Maintain physical distancing of 2 metres outside your home, including on public transport.
  • It is highly recommended that you wear a mask if you are out and about.
  • Frequently and thoroughly wash (with soap and water for at least 20-30 seconds) and dry hands.
  • Practice good cough and sneeze hygiene. That means coughing or sneezing into your elbow or a disposable tissue, then putting used tissues in the bin and washing their hands afterwards.
  • Carry disposable tissues in bags or pockets. Hand sanitiser is also a useful alternative option if soap and water is not readily available.  

More information is available on the COVID-19 and Auckland Regional Public Health Service websites

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