Elite schools taking drastic steps amid coronavirus fears
TEN Chinese boarders from a prestigious Queensland girls' school will undergo daily medical checks while students and staff from another private college have been told to remain at home if they have recently returned from central China amid coronavirus fears.
Stuartholme principal Kristen Sharpe has told parents in an email boarders from mainland China will undergo medical assessments by nurses every morning for a fortnight to check for signs of illness.
Ms Sharpe said they would only be allowed to attend classes if they "have not presented with any signs of being unwell during the morning assessment".
They would otherwise be isolated to their own floor of Stuartholme's boarding house for 14 days, the school's principal said.
As students prepare to return to school today, John Paul College principal Karen Spiller told parents her executive was closely monitoring news about coronavirus, first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, in the Hubei province, last month.
"With this in mind, any member of the JPC Community who has been in Hubei province (or any areas of high risk) since January 10 or has been in contact with anyone from these areas, are expected to remain at home until they have passed the disease's incubation period or can provide a doctor's certificate that they are free of the virus," Mrs Spiller wrote in an email.
"Additionally, the College will be conducting screening of any students or staff who have recently visited China or has had Chinese friends or family visiting through the College Health Centre."
The disease's incubation period - the time between becoming infected and symptoms emerging - is believed to be fewer than 14 days.
Ipswich Grammar School has also written to parents and guardians advising that international students would be monitored "over the first few weeks of school" to ensure they remained in good health.
Queensland's Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young and Education Minister Grace Grace met yesterday to discuss measures in schools to control the spread of the disease, which has infected more than 2700 people, most of them in China.
Health and education chiefs have given Queensland school students the all-clear to return to the classroom today - except for pupils who are unwell after having travelled to China in the past 14 days and those who have had contact with a confirmed case of the new virus.
Australian coronavirus cases have risen to five, with four in NSW and one in Victoria. Four more suspected Queensland cases yesterday tested negative.
Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles said children and teachers who had come into contact with a diagnosed case of the Wuhan coronavirus "will need to stay home and be monitored for 14 days".