At least two Aberdeen city schools have reported Covid cases among their senior pupils.
Bridge of Don and Oldmachar Academies notified parents of the positive Covid-19 cases – one at each school – in letters sent home on Tuesday and Wednesday.
In the letters, school officials and Aberdeen City Council said that they understood the news could be “unsettling”.
A council spokesperson said that these are two instances among others in the city’s school, though they did not specify the total number of cases in schools so far this year.
But they reassured families that the schools have safety precautions in place. There is no sign of in-school transmission at either campus.
The different approach to Covid cases – which avoids sending entire classes or year groups home to isolate – is an example of the new guidelines.
‘A number of children’ have tested positive
A spokesperson for Aberdeen City Council confirmed that the cases at Oldmachar and Bridge of Don are only two examples of Covid-19 cases in city schools this year.
They said that “a number of children have returned a positive test” but did not provide an exact count of how many have tested positive or are in isolation.
For those students who have to self-isolate, there are alternate arrangements for their lessons.
“Schools do all they can to support those isolating at home and will make arrangements to ensure that young people continue to learn.”
‘No evidence of transmission’
Council and school officials sent a letter to families from both schools, with the same reassurances that “there is no evidence of transmission of Covid-19 within the school(s)” and that the schools have “very good control measures in place to limit the onward transmission of Covid-19 in the school setting.”
All staff and students who came in close contact have already been advised about testing and self-isolation.
Earlier this month, the Scottish Government changed the self-isolation protocol for under 18s. According to the government’s Beyond Level 0 guidance, there is now a targeted approach to self-isolation.
Changes to isolation rules at school
“Blanket isolation of whole classes in schools will no longer happen,” according to government guidance. “Fewer young people will have to self-isolate, and most will be asked to self-isolate for a much shorter period of time.”
Students between ages five and 17 will not have to isolate as long as they are not showing symptoms and can show a negative PCR test. Pupils who are isolating can end their self-isolation after a negative PCR test.
According to government guidance, schools will continue with the following safety measures for up to six weeks:
- One-metre social distancing
- Only high-risk children will have to isolate as close contacts
- Secondary pupils must wear face masks during lessons
- Secondary pupils and school staff should take regular lateral flow tests during the term
All contacts identified
In Tuesday’s letters, school officials told parents that Test and Protect has already called all relevant close contacts. The schools will continue to operate and no one who did not receive a call needs to self-isolate.
“If your child has not been advised to isolate then they can return to school as long as
they remain well.”
The letter included further guidance for anyone not identified as a close contact. Students and staff can access free tests from the school. The current national guidance advises everyone to take a test twice weekly.