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ASC defends closure of Business Department as a precautionary measure while Health Ministry investigates report of illness

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The Antigua State College’s Department of Business was closed and transitioned to an online learning platform after four students displayed symptoms of the COVID-19 virus.

Trumpet News received information on the possible infections earlier this week, but efforts to contact Health officials and confirm the report proved futile.

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However, an online news medium published an anonymous letter in which the author claimed that teachers and students at the College were concerned about COVID-19 exposure.

The letter also accused the principal and heads of departments of lying about the alleged infections.

In response, Vice Principal Jacqueline Peters-Richardson confirms that some students appeared to be displaying symptoms of the virus.

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Peters-Richardson says the four students, who are closely affiliated with the Department of Business, “did not adhere totally to the COVID-19 protocols [and] reported that they were experiencing common symptoms.”

She says the students did not appear to be physically ill.  Nevertheless,the College followed all the required protocols and reported the matter to the Ministry of Health.

“The Antigua State College has clearly stated guidelines to be followed by students, faculty and staff to prevent any outbreak of COVID-19 on the campus,” the response states.

Once the guidelines are adhered to, this should mitigate the transfer of the virus on the campus, it adds.

The Vice Principal explains that the decision to close the Department of Business was done out of an abundance of caution, until a determination is made by the Ministry of Health – which, alone, can confirm or refute COVID-19 cases.

She says the College has provided the authorities with all the requisite information “and will rely” on them to make any announcement on the matter.

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