Parents' concerns over cluster of Covid cases at Stirling primary school

By Alastair McNeill

Parents of pupils at a Stirling district primary school this week expressed concern at the amount of children there who have tested positive for coronavirus.

It is understood that around 16 pupils in one P5 class of 30 at the school have been isolating at home as a result of the outbreak.

Currently children aged between five and 18 have to self isolate if they have symptoms or are identified by NHS Test and Protect as a close contact of a positive case.

At the start of term it was announced school classes as a whole no longer needed to isolate following a positive case.

An NHS Forth Valley Health Board letter was sent out to parents of children at the school on Friday, October 1, to inform them their child had ‘been identified as having been in “low risk” contact’ with ‘a member of the school community’ and there was ‘no need for your child to isolate unless contacted separately by Test and Protect and asked to do so’.

It went on: ‘School remains open and your child should continue to attend if they are well.’

A parent who contacted the Observer, whose child tested positive for the virus at the weekend, said this week: “In my circle of parents we estimate that around 16 kids across one P5 class have tested positive within the last two weeks. According to other parents the same has been happening in other classes.

“We received what I’d describe as a vague letter from NHS Forth Valley Health Board recently saying one or two children had tested positive, but it was low risk.

“However, if around half of a class of 30 have the virus that’s a level of infection which is very high. This has a ripple effect across the wider community.

“It strikes me that the current situation is keeping parents poorly informed, and not allowing us to make informed decisions on how best to protect our children and families.

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“I understand that the authorities do not wish to disrupt education.

“However, the opposite is now the case. My child is now too ill to do school work. Had things been stricter my child could have been self isolating at home and working online.

“There are also parents who are self employed and if they, or their child, get the virus, they have to take time off work. In many cases no work means no money.

“We have been very cautious throughout this pandemic and now we feel all of our sacrifices have been undermined.

“The authorities may not wish to shut the school down, but I think there should be better communication and mitigation procedures in place.”

A Stirling Council spokesperson said this week: “Stirling Council continues to operate Covid-19 mitigations in our schools and nurseries in accordance with the latest Scottish Government guidance.

“[Scottish Government National Clinical Director] Professor Jason Leitch wrote to all parents/carers at the beginning of term explaining the evolving position around contact tracing within schools and included information on the definition of low-risk contacts.

“Since the beginning of term in August, if there are one or more positive cases within the school, information letters from NHS Forth Valley and the headteacher are sent to parents/carers and staff of any low risk contacts informing them of the situation and setting out actions they are advised to take.

“We understand this continues to be a challenging and uncertain time for families and we would like to thank them all for their support, understanding and resilience.”


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