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breaking news

COVID forces partial closure of Papdale Primary as nine staff self-isolate

Executive director of education, leisure and housing, James Wylie.

Papdale Nursery will be closed tomorrow, while Papdale Primary School will be running at a reduced service, Orkney Islands Council has confirmed this Sunday evening.

The decision has been taken due to significantly reduced staffing levels and a stretched teaching supply list as a result of COVID-19. This change will take effect from Monday, November 8 until at least Wednesday, November 10.

Infection among both pupils and staff at the school have mounted in recent days. As of this evening 27 pupils have been confirmed as COVID-positive, along with five members of staff. A further four members of staff have recorded positive lateral flow test results.

As a result, the nursery has been forced to close entirely, while four primary classes will remain home.

The classes to close from Monday to Wednesday are: P3M, P6E. Classes P7E and P7M are to close on Monday only at this time. Online learning will be offered to affected pupils.

According to a statement released by OIC, this evening, the situation will remain under daily review and if the position changes, parents and staff will be updated.

The remainder of classes at Papdale Primary School will be open on Monday as usual.

James Wylie, OIC’s executive director of education, leisure and housing said: “Staff have been working tirelessly over the last week to try and ensure Papdale Primary and Nursery were able to remain open in full, however, this has now reached the point where it is simply no longer possible. There are several factors for this including staff reporting positive PCR test results, being contact traced by Public Health, and the supply teaching staff list having been exhausted.

“We realise that this may cause childcare issues for working parents and that is partly why we will keep the closures to an absolute minimum and monitor and manage the situation on a daily basis, ensuring that the settings are able to reopen once it is safe to do so with the appropriate staffing levels in place. It is also vital that we keep our educational facilities open whenever possible for the learning of our children, who have already missed out on so much these past 20 months of the pandemic.

“I, again, take this opportunity to thank our staff, parents and pupils for the way in which we all continue to manage these situations, which are challenging for everyone. We must all continue to do our bit to try and stem the transmission of the virus, which is undoubtedly here for some time to come. This is now about learning to manage how we live, work and learn with COVID-19. Please continue to follow the guidance, which is outlined by our colleagues at NHS Orkney below.”

According to NHS Orkney, around one in three people with COVID-19 don’t show any symptoms.

The health authority believes it is more important than ever to take your two free COVID lateral flow tests every week and record your results, even if you are fully vaccinated and don’t have symptoms.

Lateral flow test kits can be collected from community pharmacies and local test sites or ordered online at nhsinform.scot/testing.  You can access the direct link to order LFD tests here: https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow

Recording both positive and negative results allows NHS Orkney Public Health to track the presence of the virus in our communities.

Find out more at nhsinform.scot/testing

If you, or anyone in your household is displaying symptoms of COVID, or you have a positive lateral flow test (LFD) you must self-isolate immediately and book a PCR test in Orkney by calling 01856 888211.

A reminder of the ways we stay safe and protect ourselves and others against COVID are:

  • Face coverings are required in most indoor public places and on public transport.
  • If you have symptoms, test positive using a Lateral Flow Device (LFD), or are identified as a close contact, self-isolate immediately and book a PCR test. In Orkney you can book a PCR by calling 01856 888211. Only once you receive a negative PCR result and if you are fully vaccinated can you end your isolation.
  • Take regular lateral flow tests if you don’t have symptoms.
  • If you test positive, help contact tracers by providing details on who you have been near to and venues visited.
  • Providing contact details and vaccine certificates in certain settings keeps Scotland safe from COVID-19.