3 December 2021

UPDATED: Palmerston school shut down completely after staff deemed casual COVID-19 contacts

| Lottie Twyford
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Palmerston District Primary School

The majority of staff members at Palmerston District Primary School have been classed as close contacts of a positive COVID-19 case. Photo: Screenshot.

UPDATED 12:15 pm: Palmerston District Primary School in Canberra’s north has been completely shut down today (Friday, 3 December) due to COVID-19.

A spokesperson for the Education Directorate confirmed a large number of staff members at the school were exposed to the virus at a private venue.

It’s understood the exposure occurred at the school’s Christmas party.

“In line with the ACT Health advice about casual contacts, all casual contacts from the school will be getting one COVID test,” the spokesperson said.

There’s no requirement for any of their household contacts or school students to get a test at this stage.

“A small number of staff members not impacted by the casual exposure were on site at the school today in case supervision of students was required.

“We anticipate the school will reopen on Monday,” the spokesperson said, adding that all school staff are compliant with the COVID-19 vaccination mandate.

Parents and families will be contacted by the school over the weekend to have arrangements confirmed for Monday, 6 December.

Region Media has also been made aware that a person in the year one/two cohort attended Isabella Plains Early Childhood School while potentially infectious with the virus on Monday, 29 November.

Parents were notified via a letter sent out to parents on Tuesday, 1 December, and anyone affected was also directly contacted by ACT Health.

All year one and two students were required to get tested.

The school has remained open for all students not required to quarantine.

covid road sign

The ACT has recorded four new cases overnight. Photo: Region Media.

11 am: The ACT has recorded four new cases of COVID-19 in the last reporting period to 8 pm last night, and the Territory remains Omicron-free.

With the additional cases, there are now 120 active cases in the Territory.

Of the Territory’s 12-plus population, 97.9 per cent are now fully vaccinated.

The ACT recorded 1227 negative test results to 8 pm last night.

There are a total of four active and cleared cases in ACT hospitals as of 8 pm yesterday, including three in intensive care. None are on a ventilator.

Yesterday, the ACT recorded eight new cases. It’s understood Palmerston Primary School has become the latest school to be impacted by the virus, with staff classified as casual contacts of a positive COVID-19 case.

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New exposure sites added to the ACT Government’s COVID-19 website overnight included several popular restaurants and bars.

On Friday, 26 November, Molly’s in the City was named a casual contact site from 9 pm to 11 pm.

Two Kingston venues are listed as casual sites for Saturday evening (27 November). Chong Co is a venue of concern between 7:30 pm and 9 pm, while Walt & Burley is listed from 9 pm to 10:30 pm.

CocoNine in Kingston is listed as a casual contact site for Tuesday, 30 November, between 8:15 pm and 9:30 pm.

The ACT Government yesterday introduced its proposed COVID-19 pandemic management legislation, which would allow it to continue enforcing public health and social measures when the current state of emergency ends.

Unlike in Victoria, it was met with little controversy.

Elizabeth Lee

Opposition Leader Elizabeth Lee said while she had some initial concerns about the bill, she would reserve judgement until after the committee process. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

Opposition Leader Elizabeth Lee said the Canberra Liberals will look thoroughly at the “complex legislation” proposed by the government as it goes through the inquiry process.

However, she welcomed the government’s commitment to scrutiny, given it had self-referred the bill to a standing committee for analysis and consultation.

“We all acknowledge that governments must make some extraordinary decisions to respond to extraordinary circumstances during extraordinary times,” Ms Lee said.

“But we also know governments should not abuse the power that they are entrusted with by the community.”

Ms Lee said she did hold some initial concerns around a lack of consultation with legal experts and the community but said she would reserve ultimate judgement until after the committee process had been completed.

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Today in NSW, there are 337 new cases and no deaths.

There are now eight confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in the state, and it has been identified in 30 countries so far.

There are 140 people in hospitals across the state with the virus and 25 in ICU.

NSW Health said 94.6 per cent of the 16-plus population has received their first dose, and 92.6 per cent has had two doses.

In Victoria, there are 1188 new cases and 11 deaths.

There are 289 Victorians hospitalised with COVID-19, and more than 91 per cent of the state’s eligible population (12 and over) is fully vaccinated.

Across the entire state, there are 12,913 active cases of the virus. There are still no confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in Victoria.

The Victorian Government’s contentious pandemic legislation passed the state’s parliament yesterday. The legislation will give the state’s premier and health minister the power to declare pandemics and enforce restrictions, including lockdowns.

More to come.

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