Concerns have been raised over the lack of regular coronavirus testing in schools despite isolation figures soaring among pupils.
In the week ending August 29, the number of pupils taking at least one lateral flow test was lower than 10% in all age groups in Tayside and Fife.
Figures, released by Public Health Scotland, are particularly low among senior pupils, in S4 to S6, where fewer than 5% of pupils tested themselves at least once.
They come as Scottish Government data revealed thousands of young people were forced to miss school because they were self-isolating on August 31.
Isolation figures had more than quadrupled among pupils in Dundee and Fife with 483 and 1,681 off school respectively.
David Farmer, spokesman of teaching union EIS’ Fife branch, said the rising figures had caused anxiety among school staff.
It is even more concerning, he said, since it is now harder to be identified as a close contact following a rule change.
Concern over rising cases
He said: “We appreciate the measures Fife Council has taken in providing CO2 monitors, we appreciate the continued efforts of our members to maintain Covid-19 health and safety in schools.
“That said, there is no escaping this rise is a source of concern for us. Any such (rise) causes anxiety amongst our members and the young people they teach.”
The figures also give cause for concern in the number of school staff taking at least one test per week.
Dundee and Fife figures were second and third lowest in the whole of Scotland as 16% and 16.3% of school staff recorded at least one lateral flow test on the week ending August 29.
Angus and Perth and Kinross figures are slightly below the national average of 25.9% with uptakes of 24.4% and 23.5% respectively.
Mr Farmer has called on local authorities and individual schools to be more transparent with staff to ease concerns and encourage higher records of testing.
He said: “We think schools could help address these anxieties by informing staff on a weekly basis of the numbers involved within their schools. There should be no impediment to this.”
This would include data on the number of individuals who have tested positive within a school and the uptake of lateral flow tests within each school.
He continued: “We need to seek further information and reassurance from the education service (at) Fife Council.”
Fife Council did not respond to our request for comment.
A Dundee City Council spokesperson said: “Secondary pupils are regularly encouraged to take two LFD tests a week and to make sure that they report their results whether these are positive, negative or void.
“Schools stress that it is important that all test results, whether positive or negative, are reported through the national online system to assist in overall analysis of cases.
“The city council regularly highlights messages about the importance of testing on its website and through its social media channels.
“A letter from the director of public health is being issued to families from schools covering aspects of coronavirus safety and reinforcing regular testing for secondary pupils.
“The council has also been working closely with unions to encourage staff to take tests as well.”