The headteacher of one of Fife’s largest secondary schools has warned of a “detrimental impact” on education if pupils continue to be absent even if they are well.
In a letter to parents and carers of pupils at the school, Levenmouth Academy head Ronnie Ross expressed concern over the the number of pupils who are currently not attending school.
Mr Ross warned that the situation could have a “detrimental impact” on future outcomes and reassured parents the school was safe for pupils.
He said: “We are genuinely concerned about the high level of absences of learners from the school. This may well have a detrimental impact on their outcomes in the future.
“If your son or daughter is fit and well, they should be attending school. We understand anxieties around but we want to reassure you that like all Fife secondary schools we are adhering to all the expected requirements to keep everyone safe.
“It is imperative that young people do not miss out on their education at any stage and there is nothing that can compensate for time missed with teachers and support staff supporting young people with their learning.”
HEADTEACHER Ronnie Ross giving an update on attendance, and a communication that we have today sent to all parents/carers and families.
— Levenmouth Academy (@LevenmouthAc) December 8, 2020
Despite his concerns, Mr Ross reassured parents that the school would do all it can to “minimise the impact” of the virus on education and that it would “prevail” through the pandemic.
He added: “Learning is not a solitary activity. Young people learn better together and in teams.
“By continuing to work together as ‘one team’ the way that we have communicated on a number of occasions since the start of the pandemic, we will prevail.
“We are aiming to minimise the impact of Covid-19 whilst retaining a high quality of learning and teaching experiences for our young people.”
Festive period warning
Pupils at the Buckhaven school were also urged to be “exceptionally vigilant” during the festive period in order to ensure they don’t have to self-isolate on Christmas day.
Mr Ross said: “We are fast approaching the festive period and our thoughts rightly begin to turn to the time we want to spend with our families and loved ones at Christmas.
“Hence, we would urge everyone in our school community to be exceptionally vigilant about wearing face coverings/face masks in school and school transport, washing and/or sanitising hands, observing the two metre physical distancing advice.
“We should take note that from this Friday (December 11), assuming that the 14-day isolation remains remains in force, anyone who is identified as a close contact of a positive case of Covid-19 will be required to self isolate on Christmas Day.
“This is the worst-case scenario which I am sure, like us, you will be keen to avoid at all costs.”
Please see the latest update from AHS. It includes a reminder to the whole community to follow COVID rules in and out of school. Any pupil/staff member self isolating from Monday 14th December will still be doing so on Christmas Day!!https://t.co/VM5FJyhG09
— Auchmuty High School (@AuchmutyHS) December 8, 2020
Similar advice was issued to pupils at Auchmuty High School by headteacher Alan Pithie, who revealed around 30 pupils are having to self-isolate after another positive case associated with the school.
In a video posted on social media, Mr Pithie said: “It’s more very clear evidence that we just have to keep our guard up in this situation and make sure that we are doing all we can to keep Covid out of the school.
“From Monday 14 December, if a child is in close contact with a youngster who tests positive for Covid the isolation period will extend past Christmas Day.
“That means it’s absolutely imperative that anyone with symptoms does not attend school and is tested as soon as possible.
“We would simply ask all parents to fully support the school in trying to keep our young people as safe and Covid-free as possible as we head towards the festive season.”