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Outbreak of illness forces closure of school

Outbreak of illness forces closure of school


Today is expected to be the final day of the temporary closure of the Troumaca Secondary School (TSS), following the outbreak of an acute illness in the Chateaubelair health district.{{more}}

The school was closed Monday, after the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment, through routine surveillance, became aware of a number of persons seeking medical care for an acute illness in the Chateaubelair health district. The largest number of patients was noted to be from the Troumaca Secondary School.

A release from the Ministry on Tuesday said that 32 persons between the ages of 11 and 30 years had been affected. However, on Wednesday evening, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Simone Keizer-Beache told SEARCHLIGHT that the number of persons affected had risen to over 40.

Keizer-Beache explained that an acute illness is one which occurs suddenly and can take many forms. In this case, she said, the complaints were high fever, body aches, coughs, and feeling unwell.

She, however, said the exact cause of the illness is yet to be determined.

“We are awaiting the results of investigations, which should shed more light as to the agent causing the illness,” the CMO said.

“The National Surveillance Committee has, therefore, implemented public health measures to ensure the effective and efficient management and control of this situation. These include public health measures, such as heightened surveillance, communication with stakeholders, and the temporary closure of the Troumaca Secondary School to reduce transmission of this illness,” Tuesday’s release said.

The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment is encouraging the public to practise good sanitation and hygiene, such frequent hand washing with soap and running water, covering mouth and nose when sneezing and coughing.

However, suspension of classes does not mean suspension of studies, Esther Burke, principal of the TSS told SEARCHLIGHT.

Burke said she has been in contact with the Ministry of Education and on Monday, a team was sent to clean the school and she hopes she can get the green light to begin operating again.

“My students are losing a lot of instructional time now and this is the longest term where most work is done, so I hope that this can be resolved as soon as possible and I want the students to use the time at home productively. They should read, which would help out with their expression and reasoning”, Burke said.

While many of the students remain at home, students in fourth and fifth form, who take technical and vocational subjects at the Technical and Vocational Centre at the Petit Bordel Secondary School still attended classes this week.

The TSS opened in 1972 and has a student population of 275, with an academic staff of 21.

Burke has been at the helm for one year now.