The number of coronavirus cases recorded among school-age children in Scotland has almost doubled in the last three weeks.
At the end of August, 328 children aged between five and 17 had tested positive for Covid-19 since the start of the outbreak. By September 20, the figure had gone up by 93% to 632.
Among youngsters of secondary school age, the data shows that 400 have tested positive, up from 207 three weeks earlier.
In primary school age children there was an increase to 232 over the same period from 131.
Factoring in children aged two to four, who may be in childcare settings, some 72 have also tested positive, up from 44 at the end of last month, bringing the overall increase to almost 90%.
Of those tested between the ages of two and 17 in the week to September 20, 2.4% were positive.
Statistics on the number of children who have tested positive for Covid-19 is provided in Public Health Scotland’s weekly statistical update from the second full week of pupils returning to school.
The latest figures were revealed as more and more schools send pupils home to self-isolate due to classmates or staff contracting coronavirus.
Jo Bisset, organiser for parents group UsForThem Scotland, said the apparent upturn in cases was down to a massive increase in community testing and insisted schools must remain open.
She said: “These young people were not being tested before so we don’t know what their actual test rate was.
“It’s worth bearing in mind that these results have been produced by a test which, by the Scottish Government’s own admission, is ‘rubbish’, with a very high level of false positives.
“No-one’s pretending there won’t be any cases of Covid-19 among pupils.
The harm caused by shutting down schools and disrupting education generally for a second year on the trot would be considerably greater.”
Jo Bisset, UsForThem Scotland
“But the harm caused by shutting down schools and disrupting education generally for a second year on the trot would be considerably greater.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The rise in cases is a cause for concern, and underlines why we took very decisive and very tough action this week to try to get the virus back under control.
“However, it must be remembered that many more people are being tested now than was the case in the spring, including school-age children.
“Ensuring the highest quality education for our children and young people, in a safe environment, is our absolute priority.
Schools were only able to re-open because of the progress that has been made in suppressing the virus. It is imperative that everyone behaves responsibly to ensure that progress is not threatened.”
“Schools were only able to re-open because of the progress that has been made in suppressing the virus.
“It is imperative that everyone behaves responsibly to ensure that progress is not threatened.”
In Fife 10 schools have had pupils or people linked with the schools diagnosed since the start of term in August, most of them single cases.
Five schools in Perth and Kinross Council have been affected by cases, as have six schools and an out-of-school club in Dundee. Kingspark School in the city was closed due to an outbreak of 40 cases, three of them in pupils, the others in staff and community contacts.