Students at an Aberdeen private school have been ordered to self-isolate after an outbreak of Covid-19 was detected among a member of the student body.
A number of pupils at Robert Gordon’s College have been told to quarantine for 14 days following one confirmed case of the virus at the city-centre school.
It comes as Aberdeen University has recorded nearly 100 cases linked to a clusters within student accommodation – more than 215 students have also been forced into self-isolation.
Mike Elder, head of Robert Gordon’s College senior school, informed parents in a letter he had been made aware of one case linked to the school by the NHS Board Health Protection Team.
The school, which barred students from leaving its Schoolhill campus in August, has undertaken a deep clean of all classrooms relevant to the outbreak.
Despite the new case, Mr Elder informed parents the school will “remain open”.
He said Robert Gordon’s College is “continuing to monitor the situation” and is “working closely” with the Health Protection Team.
One parent, who spoke to the Press and Journal, described the news as “very concerning”.
However, she said she was “more than happy” with how the school has prepared and handled the Covid-19 pandemic, adding: “I feel extremely confident sending my children to the school and think they are taking the safety of pupils seriously.”
Meanwhile, the coronavirus outbreak at Aberdeen University has continued to grow and now sits at 99 cases within the student population.
A spokesman for the incident management team, which includes NHS Grampian, Aberdeen University, Aberdeen City Council and Health Protection Scotland, confirmed that a multi-agency investigation is currently “ongoing” to identify any linkages between the clusters.
He added: “There is currently no evidence of spread to the wider community and, working with the university, various control measures have been implemented in an effort to curb the risk of any further transmission.”
The new figure of 99 includes those living in various locations, including university halls of residences, private flats and private halls elsewhere in Aberdeen.
Nick Edwards, head of Student Support at the University of Aberdeen, said: “We are aware of the cases identified within the university’s student population and will be offering help and support to those involved.
“We encourage any of our students self-isolating due to Covid-19 to let the university know and ensure they make use of our Student Support services available to them.
“The safety of our students, staff and wider community is paramount and we are working closely with NHS Grampian’s Health Protection Team and continue to follow Scottish Government guidance.
Nicola Sturgeon yesterday defended the decision-making around the return of students to universities, saying the judgments made were “really difficult”.
It follows a number of outbreaks at halls of residence across Scotland, which have led to hundreds of students having to self-isolate in Aberdeen, Dundee, St Andrews and Glasgow.
At First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, Ms Sturgeon said keeping young people away from campuses could also have been harmful.
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard asked about students who were having to isolate in small rooms with little outside contact.
He said: “Does the First Minister really think that these students are better off than they would have been if they were studying from home?”
The First Minister replied: “I think that is a really difficult thing to judge to be honest, because whatever decision is taken on these issues people will suffer detriment.”
She said the Government had brought in mitigations and sought to “give as many young people as possible a degree of normality in their university or college education”.
Mr Leonard said the guidance for students had been confusing, with some “threatened with expulsion and fines by their university” for flouting coronavirus rules.
Ms Sturgeon said universities should support students who have to self-isolate and discipline should only be used for “flagrant” breaches of the regulations.