Private school dispels rumours on closure

IT is "business as usual" for St Edmund's College after a student and his family went into quarantine after a positive coronavirus diagnosis.

The school confirmed the sibling of a St Eddie's student tested positive, with the entire family going into quarantine.

Principal Ray Celegato dismissed "wonderful rumours" that the school had closed today.

"No, it's business as usual," he said.

In a letter sent out to the school community on the weekend, Mr Celegato said there was no evidence to suggest the virus had been transmitted in the college.

"As much as possible, normal college routine will continue until further notice," it noted.

It is a similar story for a number of other Ipswich private schools.

Ipswich Girls' and Junior Grammar School principal Dr Peter Britton said the school is updating its families about existing operations and its plans in the event of a coronavirus related school closure.

"The school's critical incident management team developed a four stage COVID-19 response plan to manage and plan responses to the evolving situation," he said.

"The plan has four stages and it includes a communication strategy to ensure our school community receives relevant information in a timely manner.

"The school is well-placed for the online delivery of lessons due to work done over recent years to achieve a strategic objective related to digital learning environments.

"Following on from the successful delivery of online lessons, which included streaming, to isolated secondary students at the beginning of term one, staff are scaling-up the online delivery of lessons to secondary students.

"All junior school teachers have developed daily learning programs for their Prep to Year 6 classes. The daily learning programs will contain a range of learning episodes organised into sessions and use age-appropriate technologies when it is possible to do so."

The school is liaising with boarders regarding travel and accommodation arrangements should the school have to close.

In a statement, Ipswich Grammar School said it has developed an emergency response plan so learning doesn't grind to a halt if the school closes.

"This will look different for each year level however, we are now prepared and ready to have our teachers provide resources electronically and deliver lessons online as per the boys' timetable," it noted.

"While the situation escalates around the country, we are taking precautions by minimising activities involving large groups.

"The precautions we are putting in place may impact other school events in the coming weeks however, we will make decisions as we draw closer to those events so we can take official advice into consideration.

"This advice is changing every day and we are monitoring it around the clock so we can remain nimble and respond as we need to."

In a statement addressed to West Moreton Anglican College families, principal Geoff McLay said the college is reviewing its calendar to minimise the need for large gatherings and will postpone any that involve more than 500 people until further notice.

"In addition, we are reviewing all internal school gatherings," he said.

"Alternative arrangements will be in place from (today) for sub-school assemblies, chapels, lunch breaks and other in-school student gatherings and events to optimise appropriate social distancing.

"We have been developing business continuity plans for teaching and learning.

"This planning continues and will be refined this week. In the event that the college receives direction to move to an online delivery mode, we have plans ready to enact in the long and short term."

So far, two positive cases have been confirmed in the West Moreton Health region; a 51-year-old man and a 22-year-old woman.

The two are in self-isolation out of hospital.