Vigilance Urged As Schools Feel Impact Of Covid Increase
25th August 2021
As confirmed cases of COVID rise across the NHS Highland area, local schools, which saw pupils returning last week after the summer holidays, have begun to feel the impact.
From 16 - 22 August, NHS Highland saw over 1000 cases which represents almost 10% of our total case count for the whole pandemic in a single week. This increase is expected to continue and we are already seeing a large number of outbreaks in Highland schools with around 60 schools affected so far.
Dr Jenny Wares, Consultant in Public Health Medicine (Health Protection), from NHS Highland said: "There is no single situation driving the numbers up and we are experiencing sustained community transmission. COVID-19 is spreading very rapidly and the impact on families, local schools and businesses remains significant. Whilst COVID-19 is circulating at such high levels, we would advise you try to minimise your contact with others as much as possible to limit further spread within our communities.
"It is so important that we remain vigilant for symptoms. The typical symptoms are a new continuous cough, a high temperature or fever and a loss of, or change in, normal taste or smell. However, people with COVID-19 can present with a wide range of symptoms including headache, sore muscles and joints, tiredness, sore throat, cold-like symptoms and diarrhoea and vomiting. Anyone that becomes unwell should isolate immediately and book a PCR test."
Details on how to book a PCR test are available on NHS Inform.
Free, fast and regular testing is also available for people who do not have symptoms. Around 1 in 3 people do not show symptoms, so can spread the virus to others without knowing. Regular testing helps us to find positive cases in people who have no symptoms, but who are still infectious.
Everyone in Scotland can do this test twice a week. For more information please see the guidance on NHS Inform here (external link).
Dr Wares added: "Since moving beyond level 0 the Scottish Government guidance for the management of COVID-19 cases in schools and childcare settings has changed with close contacts in these settings not routinely asked to isolate. However, if there is evidence of COVID-19 transmission within the class, additional actions such as PCR testing and self-isolation may be advised to try to control the outbreak.
“This change is being closely monitored for the first few weeks of pupils returning to the classroom."
Nicky Grant, Executive Chief Officer for Education and Learning in Highland said: “The Highland Council continues to work in partnership with NHS Highland's Health Protection to manage a number of COVID-19 outbreaks in school settings. It is vital that parents/carers and pupils take protective measures set out for schools and follow the advice from the Health Protection Team on receiving any letters about local cases. Online learning or home learning material will be available for those who are isolating but, otherwise, remain well."
The Highland Council's resilient digital learning estate continues to connect and support learners and educators across Highland, including the creation of a new digital toolkit for teaching staff. Education Chair, Cllr John Finlayson said: "The extensive digital learning estate available across Highland for staff, pupils, parents and carers is an effective way to empower and develop digital opportunities across Highland schools.
Members of the public are being invited to comment on a Draft Gambling Policy Statement for the coming years 2022-25. The Highland Council is consulting on the draft policy statement on behalf of The Highland Licensing Board under the Gambling Act 2005.
At the meeting of The Highland Council Members supported a starred item put forward by Caithness Members. The Thurso and North West Caithness and the Wick and East Caithness Ward Councillors asked that the Council creates and implements a Council wide playground strategy that considers the needs and expectations of communities and supports the active play, well-being and social activity of children and their families.
Members at a meeting on 9 September 2021 of the Highland Council agreed the scope, budget, phasing and timescale for 5 priority school projects including Beauly Primary, Culloden Academy, Dunvegan Primary, Park Primary, and St Clements School. It was also agreed that these projects are to be incorporated into the Council's current capital programme.
Given the importance of tourism to the Highland economy and the need for the tourism experience to be positive for visitors and communities, members have agreed to extend the Visitor Management Plan funding into the 2022 season by a one-off investment of £1.5m. A one-off Visitor Management Plan investment of £2.4m agreed by the Council in March 2021 for this year's season has enabled a range of service improvements.
On behalf of The Highland Council, High Life Highland has this week advertised a tender and invitation to quote seeking creative filming and photography input to the Inverness Castle - Spirit of the Highlands project. The tender and invitation to quote will contribute to Spirit:Journeys, a natural and cultural heritage initiative that will deliver many benefits for local communities, helping to unlock economic potential and improve visitor experiences across the region.
Artists and craft makers across the Highlands, Moray and the Western Isles can apply for bursaries of up to £750 for their creative development. The Visual Artist and Craft Makers Awards (VACMA) are funded by Creative Scotland in partnership with Inverness Museum and Art Gallery (IMAG) and can support artists at all stages of their career.
A planned Family Music Day in Inverness has been postponed, High Life Highland has said. Due to take place on September 11 in Bellfield Park, a decision was taken following careful monitoring of the evolving Covid-19 situation across the Highlands.
A letter has been sent to parents and guardians of pupils in S1 and S3 at Wick High School on Friday 27th August 2021. Dear Parent or Guardian, We have identified a possible case of COVID-19 in a pupil in your child's year group.
The Highland Council has today (27 August 2021) welcomed Scottish Government's publication of a forward-thinking report on coastal change for the area in East Sutherland stretching from Golspie to Coul. It provides a summary of the latest ‘Dynamic Coast' science and is intended to support key partners in developing and implementing a response, which could include resilience and adaptation measures.