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Lessons learned from Kingspark School coronavirus outbreak as more schools expected to be hit

Kingspark School in Dundee.
Kingspark School in Dundee.

Dundee’s education boss predicted a pattern of Covid-19 cases in schools as he said lessons were learned from the Kingspark School outbreak.

Paul Clancy said the spread of coronavirus among 40 people – including three pupils – linked with the special school had underlined the need for social distancing and correct use of PPE where it was impossible.

The executive director of children’s and families’ services for the city council also said he expected positive cases to continue to emerge among staff and pupils.

Kingspark is one of six schools in Dundee to be hit by the virus, with all others reporting only single cases. An out-of-school club also had two cases which were linked with Kingspark.

The latest pupils to be diagnosed are siblings who attend St John’s High School and Dens Road Primary School.

Kingspark School, where all pupils have additional support needs, was closed for two and a half weeks after the number of cases escalated.

Mr Clancy said the outbreak had been a learning experience for the council as it worked with NHS Tayside’s public health team, and that small changes had been implemented as a result of its review.

He said: “We anticipate that this may be a pattern that might remain for some time, to actually deal with this as positive cases arise involving staff or pupils.”

At a meeting of Dundee City Council’s children’s and families’ services committee, he said: “Kingspark poses particular challenges because of the unique needs of the young people there.

“It’s a large, special school with large numbers of staff.”

“Maintenance of social distancing is absolutely key and where it can’t be maintained… it’s making sure that the PPE is used absolutely properly and time is taken for that to happen.”

Paul Clancy, Dundee City Council

Planning was “very high quality”, he said, but lessons had been learned during a review about staff movement.

He said: “Maintenance of social distancing is absolutely key and where it can’t be maintained – and Kingspark is very specific in some of the needs that are there – it’s making sure that the PPE is used absolutely properly and time is taken for that to happen.”

Also among a number of lessons learned, he said, was the need for readily available information to allow pupils and staff to be contacted quickly, which was there for Kingspark but “could be sharper”.

Anticipating more cases ahead, he said: “It is a challenge, there’s no question about it, but I’m confident that some of the learning that has come from Kingspark will help us on this journey we are on with our schools.”

Staff returned to Kingspark School on Monday and induction days will be held this week for pupils, who will return part-time next Monday and full-time from September 21.

Pupils return to Dundee school hit by coronavirus outbreak

 

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