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Highland school 10th to close to pupils amidst ‘ongoing staff absences’

Fortrose Academy remains closed to its younger pupils. Picture by Sandy McCook.

Fortrose Academy will remain shut to the majority of pupils for the second day due to staff absences.

The secondary school announced yesterday it would be closed to its younger pupils, and today that has been extended.

The number of staff absences in the school means that there is a “lack of sufficient cover” which would not enable classes to “operate safely”.

Posting online yesterday, the school explained: “It is clear that ongoing staff absences and lack of sufficient cover to operate safely is to continue tomorrow.

“The school will therefore continue to be closed to S1 and S2 pupils on Friday 12th.

“Staff will try to post work for S1 and S2 where possible. S3-6 should attend as normal.”

Problem could continue

Now on its second day of partial closure, there is a chance problems will continue into next week if staff shortages continue.

In a post on their Facebook page, the school explained that they will update their closure phone lines over the weekend to keep parents updated on the situation.

They said: “We always try to avoid closure but this has not been possible in the current circumstances.”

Partial closure – Thursday 11th November and now Friday 12th November.It is clear that ongoing staff absences and lack…

Posted by Fortrose Academy on Thursday, 11 November 2021

Highland school closures

Fortrose Academy is the 10th facility in the Highlands to face closures this week as staff absences and localised Covid outbreaks continue to be a problem in the area.

More than 800 pupils were forced to stay at home when schools including Ardersier Primary School, Grantown Grammar School and Knockbreck Primary School announced they could not go in.

A spokeswoman from NHS Highland said it is likely that children returning to school after the October holidays is a factor in the rise of cases.

She explained: “The return of children from the October holiday is likely to have been one of several causes contributing to the rise in cases as children are mixing with others in a different environment.

“We often saw more respiratory infections in schools after holidays before Covid. It is possible that cases will increase after the winter holiday, but this will also be dependent on many factors in the community beyond schools and children.”

Other closures

Three more schools in the Highlands will also remain closed on Friday due to “public health measures” and “unforeseen circumstances”.

These are Lochinver Primary, Carbost Primary and Struan Primary. Carbost Primary’s nurseys will also remain closed.

Overall, these closures will mean that around 60 primary school children have to stay at home, along with three who should be at nursery.

A Highland Council spokeswoman said: “There are a number of schools across Highland which are affected by positive Covid-19 cases or localised outbreaks.

“Unfortunately some schools are temporarily closed as staff members, identified as close contacts, are following public health advice to self-isolate and book a PCR test.

“Individual schools will contact parents and carers when they are ready to reopen and we would like to thank the affected school communities for their continued understanding and patience.

“The Highland Council continues to work in close partnership with NHS Highland’s Health Protection Team”.

Parents can check the Highland Council website for the latest on school closures.

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