Nicola Sturgeon views a classroom as she visits West Calder High School – Andy Buchanan / POOL / AFP
Seventeen staff and two pupils have tested positive for coronavirus at a school in Scotland as hundreds of people are told to self-isolate.
Kingspark School in Dundee was closed last Wednesday when people on site were stuck down by the virus, and cases have now been linked to two other schools nearby.
NHS Tayside said in an update on Sunday that 17 staff, two pupils and three community contacts had tested positive.
The school, which looks after pupils with additional support needs, has 185 students aged between five and 18.
All of them have been told to self isolate for two weeks, while their parents, carers, siblings or anyone else who lives with them have also been told to self isolate “if they are unable to maintain physical distancing within the household”.
The school will now undergo a deep clean and testing is available for all staff.
A single positive case has been linked to St Peter and Paul’s School in Dundee, and another has been found at an out-of school club at Downfield Primary School.
Dr Ellie Hothersall, Consultant in Public Health Medicine with NHS Tayside, said, “Since the identification of positive cases at Kingspark, a detailed contact tracing programme has been under way and these linked cases are being identified because of those concerted efforts of Test and Protect.
“We must do everything we can to protect all of our communities against COVID-19 and that is why we have issued the guidance to self-isolate. By taking this action we are containing any further spread of infection.
“We know that this may cause anxiety to some parents and children but we must do everything we can to ensure we keep people safe.”
Paul Clancy, Dundee City Council Executive Director of Children and Families Services, said, “I would like to reassure families that this action is being taken to keep everyone safe. This is our paramount concern and we cannot be complacent.”
The new cases come as Boris Johnson reaffirmed his commitment to get English schools open in time for the new academic year.
This morning, the Prime Minister said: “I have previously spoken about the moral duty to reopen schools to all pupils safely, and I would like to thank the school staff who have spent the summer months making classrooms Covid-secure in preparation for a full return in September.
“We have always been guided by our scientific and medical experts, and we now know far more about coronavirus than we did earlier this year.
“As the Chief Medical Officer has said, the risk of contracting Covid-19 in school is very small and it is far more damaging for a child’s development and their health and well-being to be away from school any longer.
“This is why it’s vitally important that we get our children back into the classroom to learn and to be with their friends. Nothing will have a greater effect on the life chances of our children than returning to school.”