The number of school pupils isolating in Dundee and Fife has quadrupled since schools returned just over two weeks ago.
Fife pupils returned to school on August 18 while Dundee pupils started the new term on August 17.
Since then, thousands of pupils have missed school in Tayside and Fife because of Covid-19-related reasons, according to official Scottish Government data.
There has been a dramatic rise in the number of pupils asked to stay home in Dundee and Fife in particular with 483 and 1,681 off school, respectively, on Tuesday August 31.
That is compared to just 117 pupils off in Dundee and 352 in Fife on August 19.
Meanwhile, the number of Perth and Kinross pupils isolating has more than doubled since the start of the school year as figures increased from 100 to 296.
Angus pupils returned to school earlier – on August 11 – and had 170 pupils off in isolation the following week.
Figures dropped slightly by August 26 but have started to increase again with 223 pupils off school on Tuesday because they were in quarantine.
The absence figures are equivalent to 1.9% of the school roll in Angus, 3.3% in Dundee, 3.8% in Fife and 1.8% in Perth and Kinross.
We continue to have daily reports of young people testing positive.”
Kirkcaldy High School rector Derek Allan
Self-isolation figures have soared among pupils in all of Scotland with 25,622 pupils off school on Tuesday compared to 5,952 on August 19.
The rise comes as Kirkcaldy High School rector Derek Allan said efforts such as outdoor lessons and increased ventilation were helping to supress the spread of the virus in the Fife secondary school.
However, in his weekly update to parents, he wrote: “Despite this, we continue to have daily reports of young people testing positive.
“There is no evidence at all that the virus is being transmitted in school, but the pattern is still with us and the utmost care is essential.”
He urged pupils and staff to continue testing for the virus twice per week as well as obeying rules on face coverings and physical distancing.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney attributed the rise in positive coronavirus cases nationally partly to schools returning following the summer holidays.
Isolation rules relaxed for school pupils
However, self-isolation rules have been relaxed for pupils, which often means sitting next to someone in classrooms will not require quarantine.
Under-18s who are identified as a ‘close contact’ of a positive case are now typically considered so if they live in the same household or have spent a prolonged period of time with the individual.
Official guidance says this is likely to be those who have stayed overnight, such as a parent or sibling.
In this case, those pinged by NHS Test and Protect must isolate until they book a PCR test.
If the test is negative and the contact does not have symptoms of Covid-19, they are allowed to return to school.
Schools can also no longer ask whole classes to stay off school because of the virus, unless instructed by contact tracers.