Monday May 17th 2021
First and second year pupils at a Midlothian high school have been told to stay home as Covid cases continue to rise in the county.
Education chiefs wrote to parents and carers of students at Beeslack High School, Penicuik, on Saturday informing them of the decision to return younger children to remote learning.
It comes after an outbreak of cases were recorded in the Pentland area of the county, which has now seen 49 positive cases recorded in the week up to May 13.
NHS Lothian has insisted that there is no single group or age group connected to the spike; however, it is understood nearly 30 cases were linked to Penicuik’s Mauricewood Primary School last week, with more expected to be confirmed over the weekend.
The council closed the primary school last Tuesday as the number of staff self-isolating made it impossible to continue and it remains closed this week, with all pupils returned to remote learning.
At that stage, about 26 pupils and four teachers were understood to be self-isolating after testing positive for Covid-19 or having close contact with someone who had.
The decision to reduce the number of pupils at Beeslack, which is next door to the primary school, came as it was reported that cases were being confirmed in the secondary school as siblings of those in primary school continued to attend classes.
Siblings of primary school children who are self-isolating are now also being told to stay home.
Midlothian Council’s head of education Fiona Robertson issued a letter to parents and carers on Saturday outlining the decision.
She said: “At a meeting held earlier this afternoon with public health/NHS partners, the decision was taken to move S1 and S2 to remote learning to ensure the school has the teaching capacity to remain open.
“Mauricewood Primary School, which moved to remote learning due to a Covid-19 outbreak in the community, will continue with remote learning for most of next week, with the situation kept under regular review.
“Given the current outbreak and higher risk of transmission in the area, the siblings of children who have been identified as a close contact are also now being asked to self-isolate until the individual who has been identified as a close contact has had a PCR test and has received their test result.
“The schools will provide more information to families on the isolation period for siblings of close contacts.”
The spike across the schools’ community has seen Midlothian’s rate of positive cases per 100,000 rise to 53 – anything above 50 is potentially at risk of being moved to Level 3 restrictions.
Moray, which did not move to Level 2 restrictions along with Midlothian and most of mainland Scotland this week, has a current rate of 58 positive cases per 100,000 population.Tweet Share on Facebook