Mary Erskine and Stewart’s Melville sixth forms sent home for rest of term after four positive Covid-19 cases following social gathering last weekend

Sixth form students from Mary Erskine and Stewart’s Melville (ESMS) have been sent home to work remotely for the rest of the term after a number of pupils attended a social gathering over the weekend and a further four positive cases of coronavirus were confirmed on Friday.

Sixth Forms from ESMS were sent home on Friday for the remainder of term
Sixth Forms from ESMS were sent home on Friday for the remainder of term

The school have confirmed that it had been concluded that there had been a social gathering from contact tracing, which took school staff four hours to conduct on Friday morning, however it is believed that there are also photographs of the gathering which took place in residential houses outside the school on social media.

In a message sent to parents from Principal Linda Moule, and shared on social media, she wrote: "I am sorry that I have to notify you today that I have taken the decision that the entire ESMS Sixth Form are being sent home to work remotely for the rest of this term. We have had four further positive cases reported today.

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“Contact tracing has taken senior staff four hours to conclude this morning. These contact tracing conversations with students have revealed that there was a social gathering at the weekend which a number of students attended. They then came into school and became close contacts with other members of their year group.

Four further coronavirus cases were confirmed following a social gathering at the weekend

“Over the last two days we have identified a significant number of the year group as close contacts. I hope you can therefore understand the reasons for the decision I have taken this morning.”

The principal had also emailed parents a few weeks ago to remind them about the importance of ensuring children follow the Scottish covernment guidelines.

Mrs Moule said: “This morning we were made aware of positive cases of COVID-19 in one of our year groups. As a result, a significant number of pupils in this year group will now have to self-isolate.”

She added: “For the educational welfare of these pupils we have taken the difficult decision to switch to online teaching, over the next week. This will allow us to provide live lessons for many of our subjects, helping to retain the highest standards of learning for our pupils.”

However, the decision has caused some frustration to parents who say that they have ensured that their children are adhering to the Scottish covernment guidelines.

One parent said: “I appreciate the decision was probably correct but the real annoyance from my perspective is that most children followed the guidelines and are suffering as a result of the actions of a few.

“Further, the social gatherings were plastered all over social media and seemed to be in houses, so parents were presumably complicit.”

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On Friday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that Scotland had recorded 31 deaths from coronavirus and 1,001 positive tests in the past 24 hours which included 125 new positive cases in the Lothian health board area.

It was also announced by health chiefs that the self-isolation period for contacts of a positive coronavirus case will be cut from 14 days to 10 days.

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