Council chiefs defend not revealing schools linked to covid case

Renfrewshire Council has moved to defend its decision not to name six schools at the centre of the Covid-19 crisis after an angry backlash from parents.

The local authority took to social media to argue there was no need to inform parents about these schools because the person infected with Covid-19 had not been on school premises while unwell.

Education chiefs sought to provide more information for parents, who demanded they be “open and honest”.

Concerned parents hit out after the Express revealed that a total of 17 schools in Renfrewshire had reported links to the virus, but that only 11 would be named.

The council would only say that the threat to the wider school community was “minimal”.

Taking to Facebook, one outraged parent said: “I think if there are other schools in the area they should be made public.

“I have a daughter with underlying conditions, why are you keeping six unknown?

“This goes against your values you are teaching our children, one being open and honest!”

Her views were echoed by dozens of parents who dubbed the apparent secrecy as “shocking” and “unfair”.

A spokesperson for the council, who was responding to a number of angry parents on social media, said: “The six cases in the article you refer to were ones where the person who tested positive had not been in school during the time they may have been infectious, so the advice of NHS public health experts was there were no close contacts in the school to notify and as such no risk to anyone in the school.

“Publicising the names of those schools would risk compromising the confidentiality of the individuals who had tested positive.

“We work very closely with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board as the lead agency and with our environmental health team to ensure that a full assessment takes place, in line with national guidance, for each positive

They added: “We take very seriously our duty to be open and transparent where there may be a risk to pupils – but equally we have a duty not to create concern and provide reassurance that our schools are safe to remain open and good hygiene practice is being followed.”

The Express reported on Saturday that 17 schools in Renfrewshire have been linked to a positive Covid-19 case.

The figure, which accounts for almost one third of the entire school estate, was revealed in Renfrewshire Council papers, which also revealed there had been 28 confirmed covid cases across the 17 venues.

A total of 352 children had been asked to self isolate since the schools returned on  August 15.

Since Saturday, St James’ Primary in Paisley and Renfrew High have had public health officials working with staff to identify close contacts of an infected person at their schools.

Other schools to be impacted by the virus include: Paisley Grammar, Gleniffer High, Johnstone High, Gryffe High, Castlehead High, Rashielea Primary, Mossvale Primary, Todholm Primary, Wallace Primary, St James’ Primary (Renfrew) and St Anthony’s Primary.

Daily Record – Paisley