Australia

Tangara school cleared of breaching health orders

NSW Police said on Friday that they would not be charging Tangara School for Girls with any breaches of COVID-19 protocols as a coronavirus cluster associated with the school grew to 21 cases on Friday.

"The NSW Police Force has finalised its investigation and determined no breaches of public health orders have taken place," a spokesperson said.

The Tangara School for Girls cluster has increased to 20.

The Tangara School for Girls cluster has increased to 20.Credit:Kate Geraghty

One case linked to the Tangara cluster was reported among the state's new coronavirus cases diagnosed in the 24 hours to 8pm on Thursday.

The school community has been asked not to speak to the media but one Tangara parent anonymously reported alleged breaches of COVID-19 protocols to radio station 2GB.

The parent told host Ben Fordham on Thursday morning that weekly primary school choirs were still being held without social distancing and compulsory Mass had continued, with students and teachers taking communion.

The parent also said school assemblies were not following social distancing guidelines and high school students ran a primary school food stall last Wednesday.

In a letter to the school community, Tangara principal Rita Sakr said the school had observed NSW government guidelines leading up to, during and after lockdown.

"This continues to apply to all school activities including assemblies, Mass, choirs and guidance around food items," she said.

A Tangara spokesperson told Nine News that the independent Catholic Opus Dei school would co-operate with any investigations but had very little concern.

The spokesperson also told Nine that the school was unaware NSW Health had called on NSW Police to assist with investigations.

A NSW Police spokesman on Thursday night confirmed police had investigated whether the school had breached COVID-19 protocols.

"The NSW Police Force is working with NSW Health and the NSW Department of Education to determine whether there have been any breaches of current public health orders," a NSW Police spokesperson said.

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Several Tangara students diagnosed with COVID-19 had attended a study-and-prayer retreat organised by Opus Dei's Eremeran Hills Study Centre at Bargo Convention Centre, about 90 kilometres south-west of Sydney.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant have this week reinforced a message that school excursions and overnight stays should not be held during the pandemic.

Tangara has denied it had any knowledge of the Eremeran study retreat attended by its students, and said no Tangara teachers attended the event.

"Eremeran is a third-party provider ... Bookings are undertaken directly with the organisation and the school plays no role in organising or monitoring attendees," Ms Sakr said.

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Tangara alumni who attended retreats during their school years said Eremeran and the Opus Dei-run boys' study centre Nairana were embedded within Tangara School for Girls and its brother school, Redfield College at Dural.

The school also regularly advertises Eremeran events in its school newsletter.

Ms Sakr said the school had been following NSW Health advice and had not held extracurricular school activities or camps since March.

"We have always followed the advice of NSW Health around COVID-19 and will continue to do so," she said.

At least 12 senior school students and one teacher are among those associated with the school who have now tested positive for COVID-19.

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