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More Scottish schools close over coronavirus fears

Deep cleans were carried out on some buildings as 153 positive tests were reported by Sunday afternoon in Scotland.

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Two primary schools in the Highlands have been closed ‘until further notice’ (Nick Ansell/PA)

Two primary schools in the Highlands have been closed ‘until further notice’ (Nick Ansell/PA)

Two primary schools in the Highlands have been closed ‘until further notice’ (Nick Ansell/PA)

More Scottish schools have closed as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise.

Deep cleans were carried out on some buildings as 171 positive tests were reported by 2pm on Monday in Scotland.

A decision was made over the weekend to close Dunblane High School to all pupils and staff after a pupil tested positive for Covid-19.

Two primary schools in the Highlands will be closed from Monday “until further notice” after a pupil and staff member took ill.

A statement from the local authority said: “Knockbreck Primary School, and Craighill Primary School, Tain are to be closed from today until further notice.

“A pupil and a member of staff were taken ill over the weekend and the circumstances have been assessed by the NHS and the council.

“There is no evidence at this stage that this instance is related to coronavirus Covid-19, however, the decision has been made as a precautionary measure, based on a number of factors and on liaison with public health.

“The usual school closures procedures have been followed.”

Perth and Kinross Council said “an individual” from Perth High School is self-isolating for symptoms but had not yet been tested.

The school tweeted: “An individual at Perth High is currently staying at home as they have symptoms consistent with coronavirus.

“They have not been tested but as a precaution we will be conducting a deep clean of the school.

“This will take three days and the school will reopen to pupils on Thursday.”

In Aberdeen, Glashieburn Primary School and Hazlehead Academy were closed for precautionary cleaning but are due to reopen on Tuesday.

Elsewhere, Willowbank School in East Ayrshire was closed but is expected to reopen on Wednesday.

Shetland Islands Council previously said some of its schools would be closed for all of this week, with 11 cases reported in the area.

Authorities have said that the question of whether to close schools remains under review but that children do not seem to be severely affected by the virus, while shutting schools would also pose childcare problems for parents including medical staff.

Scotland’s chief medical officer Dr Catherine Calderwood said if all schools were to shut it would need to be for a minimum of three months to “really suppress the spread of the virus in these types of institutions.”

Speaking at a briefing in Edinburgh she said: “The thought that children would not mix together for three months is impossible and we therefore risk having children congregating in other areas together, the virus spreads again so we actually have measures put in which are ineffective in keeping the virus from people.”

She added: “Talking about closing schools for two weeks, it’s very very clear from the science that that is not a scientific way to either prevent the spread of this virus or indeed to protect vulnerable people.

“It’s the length of time that is absolutely key.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon added: “We are not saying that we’re ruling out a more blanket approach to this at a later stage if that is advised as being something that would be effective.”

Meanwhile, Glasgow School of Art (GSA) announced it will halt lectures, tutorials and crits from 6pm on Monday, at its Glasgow and Highlands and islands campuses.

Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen was the latest school to announce plans to cancel on-campus teaching due to the outbreak, moving to online teaching from Tuesday.

Colleges Scotland announced on Monday it would take a “phased approach” to moving classes online.

The University of Glasgow, the University of the West of Scotland, Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of Edinburgh have already ceased face-to-face teaching in the wake of the virus.

Elsewhere, teacher training placements in Scotland’s schools have been suspended until the end of the academic year.

PA