A grandfather who had to put his family into isolation due to a coronavirus outbreak at his granddaughter’s school has said the last fortnight has been harder than the entire five months of lockdown.
Allan Petrie is the full time carer for his granddaughter Megan Sinclair, an 11-year-old pupil of Kingspark additional support needs school in Dundee.
All staff, pupils and their households were asked to isolate on August 21 following a coronavirus outbreak which has seen 40 positive cases connected to the school.
Allan, 50, is preparing to come out of isolation on Thursday with Megan, who has FOXG1 syndrome, which impacts brain development, and her siblings Ronald 12, and Poppy, five.
Ronald and Poppy attend Craigie High School and Rowantree Primary but had to join the isolation after NHS Tayside said all pupils, staff and their households should isolate due to the “complex needs of pupils”.
Allan, 50, said: “This isolation has been a lot harder than the last one.
“The first time everyone was in the same boat but this time Poppy is seeing her friends going to school and doesn’t understand why she can’t go with them.
“They have been really bored and frustrated.
“Ronald and Poppy have had no schoolwork sent or any communication at all from their schools.
“Kingspark offered to send work home for Megan but so much of what she does at school is therapy rather than education so that’s what she’s missing the most.
“We’re trying to do as much as we can at home but we don’t have the equipment.”
Kingspark has been closed since August 19 following the outbreak which began with one adult connected to the school testing positive.
It is not known who the first positive case was and Allan said he was worried about Megan’s health as he did not know if she had been in contact with the person.
He said: “We have all had negative tests now but it was a big worry until then.
“We haven’t even been told which area of the school it came from.
“Myself and a lot of people were really anxiously trying to find out if it was someone our children had been in contact with.
“The risk to Megan is really high so if it was someone she had been in contact with that is a big worry but I’d have been less anxious if I knew it was someone who worked in a different part of the building.
“It has been a lot of anxiety which could have been reduced if they [NHS Tayside] had been more open with us.”
Even after the family received negative test results, they were told to remain in isolation until Thursday, the end of the two-week isolation period.
Allan said this has led him to question decisions made by the Incident Management Team (IMT) overseeing the outbreak.
“If we know we don’t have it why do we have to keep isolating?” he said.
“I have no faith in what comes out of the IMT now. It has been contradictory from day one, they’re not explaining the reasoning behind decisions and it almost feels like they don’t trust us to do what we’re told.
“I worry about the people who tested positive and I really hope they’re okay because I think they are being forgotten about but I think the IMT decisions have been all over the place.”
NHS Tayside the Kingspark headteacher, Paul Dow, attended meetings of the IMT to share information with parents, staff and carers.
A spokeswoman added: “Test and protect contact tracing is confidential and therefore no information about positive cases can be shared.”
Dundee City Council said anyone with concerns about their child isolating can contact their school directly.