Butler College will be part of new study to track Covid-19

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The new Detect program will provide a greater certainty around possible transmission of Covid-19 in schools. File picture

BUTLER College is one of the schools which will be taking part in the McGowan Government’s new voluntary study to track Covid-19 in schools.

Other schools in the City of Wanneroo included in the research study announced today by Premier Mark McGowan are East Wanneroo and Currambine primary schools, Clarkson Community High School and Wanneroo Secondary College.

Altogether 80 public schools, education support centres and residential colleges will participate.

The study called the Detect Program will involve the Telethon Kids Institute and will test people who do not display symptoms of Covid-19.

It will help provide a greater certainty around possible transmission of the disease in schools.

Mr McGowan said WA had no new cases overnight and just two new cases this week with the state having a total of 32 active cases with 11 people in hospital and three in ICU.

He said the state’s low Covid-19 numbers continued to be very encouraging but it was not time to be complacent.

“While we have taken swift action to avoid community spread, we continue to take further steps to protect Western Australians and we will keep learning more about this virus,’’ he said.

“This is why I previously announced we would further expand Covid-19 testing as part of a research project for priority groups.’’

Mr McGowan said the population study would start with schools but then extend to FIFO and health care workers.

Health Minister Roger Cook said all available evidence indicated schools were safe and the government’s commitment to the study should provide the community with further reassurance it was taking reasonable steps to detect any undiagnosed Covid-19 in WA.

“Testing people who do not have Covid symptoms from some of our key community sectors will help us better understand the health and economic impacts of this devastating virus.’’

Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery said while there had been no student-to-student or student-to-teacher transmission of Covid-19 the government wanted that to continue.

Ms Ellery said the study would play an important role in establishing whether asymptomatic transmission could occur and which groups may be at greater risk.

“I am particularly pleased that the study will also consider the psychosocial impacts as the mental wellbeing of our school community is just as important as physical wellbeing,’’ she said.

“We want to understand how Covid-19 is affecting our teachers, school staff and students – both inside and outside the classroom – so we can ensure the appropriate support measures are available.”