News / COVID-19

Students return to remote learning as COVID cases spread

A Year 12 formal has been traced as the source of an outbreak at Brunswick Secondary College

Thursday, March 31, 2022

A YEAR 12 formal held last weekend has inadvertently become a COVID-19 super spreader event for a Brunswick school, forcing some students back into temporary remote learning.

Several dozen students and teachers who attended the Brunswick Secondary College formal on March 26 have since tested positive for COVID, leaving the school with little choice but to cancel in-class learning for its Year 12 students for the latter part of this week.

The rapid spread of cases from the formal, which was attended by more than 100 students and staff at a venue in Thornbury, also impacted on parent-teacher interviews on Wednesday, with some teachers too sick to make the appointments.

In an update emailed to students and their families on Thursday, school principal Karen Harris said 35 students and nine teachers who attended the formal had since tested positive for COVID.

The first case was reported on March 27 and all students who were present at the formal were encouraged to take a Rapid Antigen Test that day.

As the number of cases grew early in the week and more than a third of the Year 12 population were absent because they had tested positive or were in isolation, Ms Harris sought advice from both the regional office of the Department of Education and Training and the Western Public Health Unit before deciding to switch to remote learning for Year 12s on Thursday and Friday.

At this stage, Year 12 students will return to classes on Monday.

In communication with school families, Ms Harris said it was hoped the parent-teacher interviews, which were held online and did not require attendance at school, would act as “a timely circuit-breaker” in the spread of infections.

There are no indications that the Year 12 formal has significantly affected students in other years, with just a handful of other positive cases reported this week out of a student population of almost 1000.

But 13 teachers are currently on COVID leave with most of them linked to the Year 12 formal.

“I hope everyone is doing well with this situation and hopeful that we can be back next week to finish the term together again,” Ms Harris said in an email to the school community on Thursday.

There have been 431 new COVID cases reported in Brunswick, Brunswick West and Brunswick East since Monday, resulting in 631 active cases on Thursday. In the whole of the City of Moreland, there were 1715 active cases on Thursday after 359 new cases were reported in the previous 24 hours.

Seven-four per cent of eligible Brunswick-Coburg residents have received three COVID vaccination doses and 78.8% are double-dosed.