Sunday 25 October, 2020

Contact tracing completed after COVID-19 scare, Ellerslie to reopen

The Ellerslie School (FILE)

The Ellerslie School (FILE)

Students and staff of The Ellerslie School head back to the classroom on Monday (October 19).

The news was relayed today (October 18) after a walkthrough of the school’s compound by officials from the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training. 

Accompanying them was the Crisis Communication Committee which comprised of the Board of Management, the school’s administration, its Health and Safety Committee, and the Parent Teachers Association (PTA). Members of the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) and the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) were also present.

Before the tour, Acting Chief Education Officer, Joy Adamson told those present that correspondence from the Chief Medical Officer Dr Kenneth George indicated that contact tracing was completed and there were no further COVID-19 cases.  

Primary and secondary contact tracing was conducted, and the Ministry of Health and Wellness was satisfied to report that the primary contact tracing was 100 per cent complete.

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“To this end, the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Kenneth George, recommended that the school was now safe to be reopened for both students and teachers on Monday, October 19,” Adamson remarked.

A “thorough and deep cleaning” in all areas of the school was done, including the administrative block, classrooms, specialist areas, and the pavilion.

“The cleaning was completed on Saturday, October 17, and the school will be totally ventilated on Sunday, October 18, so that when students return on October 19, everything will be in order," Adamson disclosed. 

She appealed to the public to be kind and embrace the students of The Ellerslie School as they returned to classes. 

"The students, teachers and their relatives would have had a traumatic time over the last two weeks. Their return to school should not be made difficult,” she stressed.

The Acting Chief Education Office said that the incident at The Ellerslie School was a "wake up call" for the Ministry of Education. 

In appealing for some semblance of normalcy to return as the school reopens, the Adamson stated: “We must continue to wear our masks; we must continue to practice physical distancing, and we must continue to sanitise". 

She went on to say:

“The Ministry of Education is very pleased with the outcome here because it proves that our protocols have worked at this school, and if all schools also adhere to the protocols, hopefully, we will be able to keep this scourge of COVID-19 at bay within our schools and throughout Barbados.”

The most recent COVID-19 cluster included two students of The Ellerslie School, who were both members of the same family. The school plant was temporarily closed from October 5 for 14 days but classes continued online.

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