Around half the pupils at a Fife secondary school are off as it strives to contain a coronavirus outbreak.
Some 16 people at Auchmuty High School have tested positive for Covid-19 – 10 pupils and six staff members – as the number of cases linked with schools around Tayside and Fife continues to grow.
Around a third of the Glenrothes school’s 1,300 pupils and 13 staff have been advised to self-isolate but rector Alan Pithie said around half of its youngsters were absent.
A significant number of pupils are also understood to be absent from Viewforth High School, in Kirkcaldy, where five cases have been confirmed this week.
They were among 25 Fife schools and nurseries listed as having new cases of the virus in NHS Fife updates since Sunday.
Cases have also been confirmed at Perth High School and Harris Academy and Grove Academy, in Dundee, in recent days.
SCHOOL AND NURSERY COVID-19 UPDATE – 18 NOV 20
We've published an update on the number of additional COVID-19 cases linked to schools and nurseries in Fife since our last update on 16 November 2020.
— NHS Fife (@nhsfife) November 18, 2020
In a message to worried parents, Mr Pithie said: “School attendance is round about 50% at the present time.
“This sounds an incredibly horrendous picture and it is; this is an incredibly difficult situation to be going through.”
However, he said there were signs the “firebreak” had contained the outbreak.
In his recorded message he said there had been no more positive cases this week – although NHS Fife has since revealed one more – and that pupils who tested positive were already self-isolating.
The hope is that that means we are containing this outbreak and we are going to now see an improvement and no more positive cases.”
Rector Alan Pithie
He said: “The hope is that that means we are containing this outbreak and we are going to now see an improvement and no more positive cases.”
Pupils were praised for wearing face coverings in school and urged to continue following the protocols both in school and in the community.
Meanwhile pupils at the three Dundee and Perth secondary schools identified as close contacts of those who tested positive have been asked to self-isolate.
At Harris Academy an S1 pupil was the latest to contract the virus, while an S6 pupil was affected in Perth High School. At Grove Academy the case was in a member of staff.
A Perth and Kinross Council spokesman said: “Pupil and staff safety is our prime concern and we have carried out robust risk assessments to minimise the risk of transmission of coronavirus in our schools.
“Whenever a pupil or member of staff tests positive for coronavirus we, in conjunction with public health, identify as many close contacts in conjunction as possible by speaking to the individual involved so these contacts can self-isolate and prevent any potential spread of COVID-19.”
The latest coronavirus cases associated with schools confirmed by NHS Fife on Monday and Wednesday are:
- Auchmuty High School – five cases;
- Glenrothes High School – two cases;
- Kinglassie Primary School – two cases;
- Levenmouth Academy – one case;
- Methilhill Primary School – two cases;
- Pathhead Primary School, Kirkcaldy – four cases;
- Queen Anne High School, Dunfermline – one case;
- St Kenneth’s RC Primary School, Ballingry – one case;
- Viewforth High School, Kirkcaldy – one case;
- Warout Primary School, Glenrothes – two cases;
- Woodmill High School, Dunfermline – one case;
- Gallatown Nursery, Kirkcaldy – one case;
- Lochgelly South Primary School nursery – one case;
- Carleton Primary School, Glenrothes – one case;
- Culross Primary School – one case;
- Fair Isle Primary School, Kirkcaldy – two cases;
- Foulford Primary School, Cowdenbeath – two cases;
- Kirkcaldy West Primary School – two cases;
- Torryburn Primary School, Dunfermline – one case;
- Balwearie High School, Kirkcaldy – one case;
- Beath High School, Cowdenbeath – one case;
- Bell Baxter High School, Cupar – one case;
- Dunfermline High School – two cases;
- Kirkcaldy High School – two cases;
- Viewforth High School, Kirkcaldy – five cases.
NHS Fife said: “Where there is more than one confirmed case, this does not necessarily suggest transmission within the school and may relate to a sibling or household group, or it may be separate incidences of community-acquired infection.”
No school updates are provided by NHS Tayside.