CLOSE contacts of the St Pius X High confirmed COVID case have received advice from Hunter New England Health (HNEH) about their requirement to isolate for 14 days, as the school prepares for a second day of cleaning.
A HNEH spokesperson said 140 people had been identified as close contacts of the male teenager - who is a student at the Adamstown school and a team member of the Newcastle Jets under 15's representative squad - and contacted.
This includes his teammates from an August 1 game and passengers on bus number 26 from Hamilton to Adamstown at the same time on August 3.
The school was closed on Thursday and will be on Friday.
Staff and students were originally told to isolate until they were confirmed to not be a close contact.
A Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle spokesperson said HNEH sent text messages on Thursday to inform all close contacts and would follow up with a letter or phone call.
Principal Bob Emery also wrote letters to families, both of the children considered close contacts and those not close contacts.
He told them a close contact was considered to be anyone who had spent more than 15 minutes face to face, or more than two hours in an enclosed space, with the confirmed case.
"The safety, health and wellbeing of our school community remains paramount and we will do everything possible to limit the spread of COVID-19," he told the Herald.
"Our first thoughts are with the student with the confirmed case and we wish them a swift recovery."
He told families the school was "vigilant in implementing infection control procedures including daily cleaning in accordance with normal protocols, the promotion of healthy hygiene habits and the availability of hand sanitiser for staff and students to use while at school".
Catholic Schools Office director of schools Gerard Mowbray also wrote to families.
The spokesperson said cleaning would continue on Friday and students and staff would be allowed back on campus after it was completed and certified, which was expected to be Monday.
Remote learning for isolated students will start next week.
The spokesperson said the only day the student attended St Pius X this week was Monday, when they were collected early by family.
When asked about whether there were any plans regarding St Francis Xavier's College at Hamilton or primary schools, which the siblings of close contacts may attend, the spokesperson said the CSO is following advice from HNEH. "No requests have been made to close any other schools at this time."
Independent Education Union Australia NSW/ACT organiser for St Pius X High, Carlo Rendina, said he hadn't been contacted by any union members with concerns about how the school had handled the matter, but said "once they return to school there needs to be an opportunity for staff to make observations that might assist them to feel more comfortable returning to work".
He said the IEU had concerns about "conflicting information" from different levels of government about what was considered a vulnerable staff member, as well as the fact "community standards don't always apply to schools", such as social distancing in classes or on buses and masks.
"If members feel safer wearing masks then we would be supporting them."
Hunter Sports High principal Rachel Byrne told families on Thursday the player did not train at her school while positive.
"A couple of students who are in this team do attend Hunter Sports High school and will now be in self-isolation for 14 days."
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