A phone call last Friday morning contained the news that every Queensland school dreads – a student had tested positive to the Covid-19 virus.
St Thomas More College – a Brisbane Catholic Education secondary school at Sunnybank – received that news as many of its students were busy with end-of-term exams.
All learning activity was placed on hold as the school immediately began to work towards the safety of students and staff.
More than 1100 students from more than 800 families had to safely make their way into self-quarantine.
But, with the help of Queensland Health and the co-operation of parents and caregivers, the St Thomas More College community made safely for their homes.
“We very much feel for the students who have tested positive to the virus and their families. We hope that they recover quickly,” Brisbane Catholic Education Executive Director Pam Betts said.
“The greatest responsibility that schools have is to ensure the safety of those students who arrive each day.
“Coordinating the collection of more than 1100 students at short notice is a challenging situation but it was made possible because of the way that everyone worked together.
“There were long lines of cars outside the school but there was so much patience and understanding shown.
“We join with our Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeanette Young, to commend the mother of the first student who was diagnosed for her swift action in having her child tested.
“And we’d like to thank Queensland Health for their clear advice and assistance at this time. We very much hope that we’ve had the last of any positive tests and we hope this outbreak is contained but we know that our students are in great hands.”
The St Thomas More College community hopes to resume school in Term 4 as their quarantine period carries into the first week of the school holidays.
Miss Betts said the efforts of St Thomas More College followed more than a year of preparation for Brisbane Catholic Education.
“Like all education providers, we have planned extensively for any positive tests to be detected among our school communities,” Miss Betts said.
“Our priority throughout that planning was the safety of everyone in our school community. That meant that we had to ensure the safest, quickest response.
“We are very fortunate that everyone involved with St Thomas More College acted so quickly and with the greater good of the region in mind. We are very grateful for their help and the efforts of principal Karen Mulcahy and members of the college leadership team.
“We hope that the students are back in Term 4, enabling our Year 12 classes to complete their schooling and for all students to have ample preparation for the end-of-year exams.
“I’m sure it’s a time that everyone in the St Thomas More College community will remember but they are supporting each other well.”