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Coronavirus / Mossbank Primary School closed as Shetland records first new Covid case in five weeks

Council confident the school will open on Tuesday following a deep clean

MOSSBANK Primary School has been closed following confirmation of a Covid-19 case at the school.

Shetland Islands Council said in a short statement on Monday morning that contact tracing has been completed and a small number of people are now self-isolating.

The person confirmed with Covid-19 is understood to be a staff member. NHS Shetland confirmed on Monday afternoon that the case had been identified using a PCR test through the local laboratory after the person had developed symptoms.

It is the first confirmed case of Covid-19 in Shetland since 9 February.

The health board said it would not disclose the number of people self-isolating to one case, but added: “There are a number of people in Shetland currently isolating either because they have symptoms and are awaiting a test result (as usual) or because they have been identified as a contact of this particular case.”

Parents and carers were advised on Sunday evening that the school would be closed for a further 24 hours to allow a deep clean to be carried out Monday as a precautionary measure.

However, parents, pupils and staff not involved in the contact tracing were not told why the school was kept closed Monday for a deep clean and only learned about the reason behind it from reading Shetland News.

Director of children’s services Helen Budge said she was confident that the situation was under control.

“We are aware how disappointed our P4 – P7 children at Mossbank Primary School will be to not return today as planned, particularly after undertaking remote learning from home for weeks,” she said.

“We look forward to welcoming them back tomorrow morning. This is a low risk situation and we are confident that the measures we have in place will limit any potential spread of the virus.”

Budge added: “We want absolutely reassure parents, staff and pupils that we are doing everything to keep them safe. That’s why we are having the deep cleaning today (Monday). It is a precautionary measure.

“We want people to feel reassured that we are taking every measure possible to make sure that there will be a safe return to school for the bairns in Mossbank tomorrow.”

The school will reopen to staff and pupils tomorrow morning, Shetland Islands Council said.

Responding as to why some parents and carers had not been told the reason behind the closure, executive manager at children’s services Robin Calder said they had initially been alerted at around 9pm on Sunday night.

“It wasn’t possible to share any further details until discussions had taken place this morning with public health,” he said

“All parents and carers of children at Mossbank Primary School have since received a letter by email to provide further clarification and reassurance.

“The letter also outlines the control measures and mitigations that are in place in the school when it re-opens tomorrow, Tuesday 16 March.”

Consultant in public health Dr Susan Laidlaw it was inevitable that Shetland would have additional Covid cases while the pandemic continued.

“We have been really fortunate to see a period with no new cases, however now we have confirmation of a new case we would once again remind everyone to stay vigilant to Covid-19 symptoms and seek a test if in any doubt,” she said.

“It is also really important that everyone continues to socially distance from one another, wear face coverings when required and practice good respiratory and hand hygiene.”

Over 57 per cent of the adult population in Shetland have now received a first vaccine and clinics are ongoing this week, NHS Shetland added.