One Kirkcaldy school is closed and another has told two whole year groups to stay at home as staff numbers are hit by coronavirus.
Both Pathhead Primary School and Kirkcaldy High School are short of staff, with nine cases of Covid-19 linked with the former over the last fortnight and four with the latter in just over a week.
Pathhead Primary School was closed on Monday morning, with several members of staff absent, some of them self-isolating and some being tested for the virus.
It is the third school in the region to close due to the pandemic. Sinclairtown Primary School, also in Kirkcaldy, closed for a fortnight before the October holiday, while Torryburn Primary School, in west Fife, reopened on Friday.
Parents were informed by text message on Monday morning as children were getting ready.
Kirkcaldy High School has told S5 and S6 pupils to stay away on Tuesday and Wednesday and study from home. The decision that senior pupils should learn remotely came after it revealed another 80 pupils and three staff had been advised to self-isolate.
IMPORTANT: Please note that due to staffing shortages, all KHS S5/6 students will engage in home learning on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. Please check learning tasks set on GLOW, Microsoft Teams etc. Do not come to school. We expect to see all S5/6 back on Thursday. Thank you
— Kirkcaldy High School (@KirkcaldyHigh) November 23, 2020
Fife Council confirmed that the Pathhead closure was the result of staff absence.
A message to parents from Jillian Mellis just before 8am said: “Due to unforeseen circumstances with insufficient staff numbers we are having to temporarily close the school and nursery today.”
It is not yet clear when the school will reopen.
Maria Lloyd, head of education and children’s services, said: “Unfortunately, Pathhead Primary has had to close today as we have a number of teachers who are isolating or waiting on the results of Covid-19 tests.
“Each school has its own contingency plans in place, including plans for remote learning, which are continually reviewed.
“Parents will be updated by the school on contingency plans and if circumstances change.”
Dear Parents/Carers. Unfortunately we must report another positive case of COVID 19 at the school which means that 3 staff and around 80 pupils must now self isolate. Those directly affected have been emailed this evening. Details of the affected class groups attached. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/TfqVqptKis
— Kirkcaldy High School (@KirkcaldyHigh) November 20, 2020
Kirkcaldy High School rector Derek Allan said there had been an average of 40 coronavirus-related absences each day last week.
In a newsletter for parents he paid tribute to staff “who have gone the extra mile throughout this crisis” and praised senior pupils for adhering the requirement for face coverings in class since Fife began tier three restrictions.
Last week it emerged that attendance at another Kirkcaldy secondary school, Viewforth High School, had been hit hard by the virus, with around half of its pupils being told to isolate and many more staying off.
Both secondary schools and Pathhead Primary School are in the KY1 postcode area, where the latest Scottish Government statistics show one in five pupils (19.2%) were absent last Tuesday.