All students and staff at Marist College asked to get tested

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All students and staff at Auckland’s Marist College are being urged to get tested for Covid-19.

Vouchers that will enable them to get a test will be given out this week.

The decision was made over the weekend, school principal Raechelle Taulu, the board of trustees chairman Stephen Dallow and Dr Julia Peters of the Auckland Regional Public Health Service said in a letter to parents on Monday.

The Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield supports the initiative.

Taulu said ensuring a safe school environment and providing peace of mind was a top priority.

“Testing is voluntary, but we strongly encourage everyone at our school to be tested for Covid-19, regardless of whether they have any symptoms or have been tested before,” she said.

“Testing all staff and students will give them extra confidence that when we do open the school gates, every precaution has been taken to protect their safety.”

The school would not be told the names of anyone who tested positive – privacy would be respected at all times, the letter to parents said.

While only half of the 94 cases in the Marist cluster were directly associated with the College, it was important that the wider school community is given the opportunity to be tested, the Auckland DHB said.

“This round of testing will help give students, parents and school staff reassurance and inform planning for the re-opening of the College,” said Auckland Regional Public Health Service Director Dr William Rainger.

“When that moment arrives, the College can be confident that there is no higher risk of a student or staff member being infectious at Marist College than at any other school in New Zealand.”

The school has been professionally cleaned, and discussions are continuing on a potential date for re-opening.


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