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Education / Council to close schools to pupils for a week

Children’s services seeing ‘significant levels of pupil and staff absence’ as coronavirus cases rise

The Anderson High School. Photo: Chris Cope/Shetland News

MOST schools and early learning/childcare facilities in Shetland will be closed for a week as of Monday for “operational and resilience reasons”.

The only schools that will remain open for pupils are the primary schools in Fair Isle, Fetlar and Foula.

All schools will remain open for staff.

Shetland Islands Council said the “action is not being taken for public health reasons, but for operational and resilience reasons, and reflects Shetland’s unique, island setting”.

In a letter to parents, children’s services said it would be issuing further information to parents and carers at the start of next week, including information about learning from home and via electronic communication.

It added that there will also be follow-up communication from schools for parents and carers of children with complex additional support needs early next week.

“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,” the letter said.

Director of children’s services Helen Budge said: “During this COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken this decision, not specifically for public health, but for operational and resilience reasons.

“We are already seeing significant levels of pupil and staff absence. We realise that this will have an impact on working parents and carers but hope that they will understand and support this decision.”

It comes after the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Shetland rose from two to six on Thursday.

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