Shetland Islands Council is closing some schools and early learning and childcare sites to children and young people next week.
The authority insisted the measure, which will be in place from March 16 to 20, was not being taken for public health reasons but for “operational and resilience reasons” and reflected Shetland’s “unique island setting”.
Helen Budge, director of children’s services, said: “Schools aren’t just about teachers and pupils, there are cleaners, catering staff and other workers and we just don’t have the relief staff to cope with the increasing amount of absentees across the islands.
“Shetland is a unique island setting and we can’t simply bring in people from other areas, as some local authorities on the mainland might be able to do.
“This is about making the best use of our resources during a difficult time.”
Fair Isle Primary, Fetlar Primary and Foula Primary will remain open for children and young people. All schools will remain open for staff.
Children’s Services will be issuing further information to parents and carers at the start of next week, which will include details about learning that can be undertaken at home and electronic communication between children and schools during the closure period.
There will also be follow-up communication from schools for parents and carers of children with complex additional support needs.
The implications for young people in the Senior Phase with forthcoming SQA assessments and examinations are being considered carefully and further information around this will follow at the start of next week.