400 pupils isolate at one Fife school - but total for region is unknown

Over 400 pupils are self isolating at Auchmuty High School in GlenrothesOver 400 pupils are self isolating at Auchmuty High School in Glenrothes
Over 400 pupils are self isolating at Auchmuty High School in Glenrothes
Small numbers of positive COVID tests are impacting on a significant number of school pupils across Fife.

But the numbers having to self isolate are not being logged specifically.

This comes as one headteacher publicly revealed he had over 400 pupils self isolating - and attendance in class was around 50 per cent.

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Alan Pithie, headteacher at Auchmuty High school in Glenrothes, said the situation was “incredibly horrendous” - and warned change was needed in the wider community to help bring the number down.

Several parents from schools across central Fife have expressed concern over the numbers of pupils being asked to isolate, but today NHS Fife and Fife Council said no specific figures were available.

They stressed each school had its own contingency plan to deal with COVID issues - including remote learning - and that support was on hand.

Dona Milne, NHS Fife Director of Public Health, said: “While we have seen cases of COVID-19 associated with a considerable number of schools in Fife, these have been in relatively small numbers and are most often related to community transmission rather than transmission in schools.

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“Where there are positive cases it is necessary to ask those in close contact with the individual to isolate as a precaution, and in the case of schools this can lead on occasion to whole classes being affected.”And she stressed the need for community support to help minimise the impact on time lost from the classroom.

She added: “We want as few children as possible to have to isolate.

“In order to reduce this number, we need the help of parents, staff and pupils.

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“It is really important that staff and pupils do not come to school with symptoms and follow all public health measures when they are in school.

“If we do ask people to isolate, we can provide support to make this as easy as possible and we need people to follow our isolation advice.

“If we are to reverse the current trend of rising cases in our schools, and in our communities, then we need the help of local people.”She said it was vital people followed the existing public health guidance, adding: “If we adhere to these measures we will very likely start to see reducing numbers of cases across our communities, and fewer children and young people will miss school as a result.”

Shelagh McLean, head of education and children's services at Fife Council, commented: "We are working very closely with colleagues in public health to monitor and manage COVID cases in schools and encouraging our school communities to follow public health advice.

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"Each school has its own contingency plans in place, including plans for remote learning, which are continually reviewed. Parents would be notified by their individual schools if their circumstances change."

Jo Bisset, organiser for UsForThem Scotland lobby group, said: “If a child is unwell and displaying symptoms of Covid-19 they should of course be sent home to isolate and recover.

“But healthy pupils should stay in school and carry on with their lives – it doesn’t have to be more complicated than that.

“The Scottish Government’s own experts have repeatedly said that it’s ‘very unusual’ for children to transmit the virus.

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“Schools and councils should heed that advice and ensure schooling continues as normal.”

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