Gold Coast childcare centre employee school tests positive
A STAFF member at a before and after child care service operating from a building on the grounds of Helensvale State School has tested positive for coronavirus.
The YMCA Helensvale OSHC Service employee was last at work on Wednesday this week.
The facility, which is located by the school oval, is rated to cater for a maximum of 165 children.
Health authorities are now working to contact the parents of students who use the service to advise them their children need to be kept quarantined at home for two weeks.
However in a letter to parents late on Friday, Helensvale State School Principal Heidi Booth advised that while the YMCA would close, the school itself would stay open.
"I am writing to advise you that this afternoon, I have been informed by our YMCA Helensvale Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) service, that an employee of this service has today (20 March 2020) tested positive for COVID-19, Ms Booth wrote.
"The YMCA OSHC employee was last on our school site on Wednesday 18 March 2020 and it is understood that they had some signs of illness in the days prior.
"I want to assure you that YMCA and our school are co-operating fully with Queensland Health in response to this news. Students who use the OSHC service will now need to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days, consistent with Queensland Health COVID-19 protocols.
"Queensland Health is currently contract tracing children who attended the service and their families to advise them of this situation and providing them with necessary information.
"These are important decisions taken in the interests of broader community health and at this stage I expect the OSHC service provider will be closed through till the end of term as OSHC staff will also need to self-quarantine as a matter of caution and as required under the Queensland Health protocols.
"Let me assure you that we are taking swift action in response to this matter and I have arranged for specialist cleaners to come into the school immediately to undertake an infection prevention clean in accordance with Queensland Health guidance.
"Queensland's Chief Health Officer has provided clear advice that our school will be able to open next week so that the majority of our students can continue with their learning. If this situation should change I will advise you over the weekend."
On Wednesday the director general of education Tony Cook advised principals that school closures would only close is if a coronavirus case impacts school students or staff.
"As announced by the Prime Minister this morning, the most recent health advice is that schools remain open," he said.
"At this time, the only exceptions to this is where a school may be asked to close when a confirmed COVID-19 case is identified that closely and directly impacts school students or staff and where contact tracing may be required.
"Under the guidelines made public earlier this week, where contact tracing is required, it is likely the school would be closed and only reopen on the advice of health experts and when it is safe to do so."
It is understood in this occasion the department's Emergency & School security team will deploy hygienists and specialist cleaning teams to the site.
The YMCA Helensvale employee is one of 47 people on the Gold Coast now known to have contracted coronavirus, many of whom have since recovered.
According to the latest advice from the Qld Health department children who develop novel coronavirus (COVID-19) have very mild symptoms and are less contagious than adults, with elderly people and those with an underlying medical condition deemed most at risk.
Originally published as Employee of childcare centre located on grounds of Coast school tests positive