Wed 8 Sep, 2021

Clearer guidance for schools to manage covid outbreaks may be needed, Scottish Greens MSP Ross Greer has said, after reports of widespread absences amongst pupils and school staff across the country and instances of Test & Protect failing to contact pupils who have been in close contact with a positive case.

In her statement, the First Minister acknowledged the role of schools in the rapid spread of the virus, with 9,000 positive cases in the last week and 11,000 in the previous week amongst 15-24 year olds.

Responding, Ross Greer raised the concerns of a pupil who had not been contacted by the Test and Protect system, despite identifying themselves as a close contact after two friends tested positive.

Commenting, Mr Greer said:

“Given the rapid spread of cases in school communities, it’s clear Test and Protect needs to work as effectively as possible. Judging by the evidence in my inbox, that isn’t currently the case and more staff are needed to deal with the current surge.

“Only last week I raised the case of another school at which 405 of 850 pupils were absence due to a covid outbreak. The latest self-isolation guidance is designed to reduce disruption to education but it appears to have had the opposite effect. Fewer pupils are isolating after the initial positive case, resulting in a higher number becoming infected and hundreds ending up out of school while they await the results of their PCR tests. I welcome the First Minister’s confirmation that this guidance is under review.”

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