The rector of Kirkcaldy High School “genuinely feared” the school would be forced to close amidst a Covid outbreak which has led to a “staff crisis”.
Writing to parents and carers of pupils at the school, Derek Allan revealed that the school had around 16 to 18 teachers off this week alone.
The high number of teacher absences, which Mr Allan said was due to Covid-19 cases, self-isolation and other illnesses or personal circumstances, meant the full timetable was “impossible to deliver”.
The rector said: “I’ve certainly never had to deal with a staff crisis like this.
“All this week we’ve been running with 16-18 teachers absent, making the usual timetable impossible to deliver for most kids.
“At one point I genuinely feared that, like Pathhead, we would have to close completely, but we are weathering the storm.”
To mitigate the staff absences at KHS, a blended learning model has been introduced for senior pupils at the school.
However, next week’s blended learning timetable will see S4 pupils learning at home on Tuesday and Wednesday and S5 and S6 pupils learning at home on Thursday.
Derek Allan said: “Next week’s staffing situation does not look any better and I am sorry to have to report that we will once more have to rely on short term blended learning, this time for S4 as well as S5/6.
“Of course, we would only be doing this as last resort. I can assure you we have explored all other options, and have hired more temporary staff.”
Pupils in these year groups will be expected to be in school on the days they are not required to stay home. Pupils in years S1 to S3 will continue to be taught in person at the school.
As well high number of teachers being off, Mr Allan also confirmed that Kirkcaldy High School is experiencing a “significant level” of pupils absences.
Mr Allan added: “It’s also the case that we have a significant level of pupil absence in any case (some Covid related) and “blended learning” is the best option available.
“We think this is the fairest possible way of allocating the staff we have.
“I hope you will appreciate that we are continuing to have S1-3 in school on the basis that child care might be a problem for some families.”
“I am very optimistic”
Despite the staff crisis, Mr Allan is optimistic the school will begin to return to a normal timetable before the festive break.
He said: “After next week, the self-isolation period is over for many of our teachers and they can resume their duties.
“I’m also hopeful that many of those currently unwell will be returning. I do not want to make any rash promises, but I am very optimistic that after the week ahead, we will not need to resort to home learning this side of the Christmas holidays.”