Parents have criticised restrictions leading to Halloween discos being scrapped for the second year in a row at many schools across Tayside and Fife.
To reduce the risk of Covid spreading in schools, Scottish Government guidance advises that staff should continue to avoid assemblies or large groupings of children.
This has led to some schools opting to forgo in-school Halloween celebrations such as discos – leading to criticism from some local parents.
The in-school restrictions had been expected to change for pupils returning after the October break.
However education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville has confirmed no changes will be made to restrictions and they will remain in place for the foreseeable future.
‘I am sick of this’
Posting online, one Fife parent said they had been told a one-hour Halloween disco “can no longer go ahead because of council guidance.”
They said: “If nightclubs are open and football stadiums are full and the kids are now mixing much more at school, why on Earth can a one hour school disco not go ahead in a large gym hall.
“I am sick of this.”
Another Fife parent stated that staff at their son’s school had advised parents there would be “no Halloween discos” due to the government guidance currently in place.
And another adding their heart is breaking because “the first school social experience is being sacked off like this.”
Council ‘continuing to follow guidance’
Shelagh McLean, head of education and children’s services at Fife Council, stressed that schools are continuing to follow Scottish Government and public health guidance.
She said: “Restrictions are still in place in our schools on the advice of the Scottish Government and public health professionals because most children in our schools are unvaccinated.
“The government and medical community would like to see what impact the removal of restrictions is having in the wider community before taking that step in our schools and nurseries.
“This is to help lower the risk of Covid-19 being passed on in our school communities and keep everyone safe.
“Schools are being as creative as they can be within the guidance to make sure children don’t miss out on experiences in school.”
Some parents ‘organising their own events’
Perth and Kinross Council said it also continues to follow government guidance.
A spokeswoman said: “Our focus for schools is on learning and teaching, particularly after the disruption of the coronavirus pandemic over the last 18 months.
“We are therefore continuing to follow Scottish Government guidance, which states that while schools no longer require to keep consistent groupings or ‘bubbles’, assemblies and other types of large group gatherings should still be avoided.
“This precautionary approach is in line with retaining the existing mitigation measures.”
She added: “Some parent councils and parents’ associations are organising their own events outwith school buildings.”
What is the government saying?
The Scottish Government said that schools themselves are “best placed” to decide if Halloween discos are permitted.
A spokeswoman said: “Covid measures based on expert public health advice are in place to keep pupils and staff safe.
“They are reviewed on an ongoing basis to ensure they remain appropriate. Schools are best placed to consider how pupils can safely enjoy Halloween in ways that are compatible with those mitigations.”