An investigation was launched after video emerged of pupils – many without face masks – packed into a Dundee school corridor.
Scores of youngsters could be seen crowded in the confined space in Harris Academy last week, shortly after it emerged two pupils at the school had tested positive for Covid-19.
The worrying footage also shows an adult – likely to be a member of staff – pushing through the crowd in the opposite direction.
A group of pupils is understood to have deliberately caused the pile-up by blocking the corridor which leads to a dining area.
Infection rate spike
Parents were horrified to see the video which has been circulating on social media and emerged amid a spike in the city’s infection rate.
One said: “We are trusting that the school is as safe as it can be and with cases increasing day by day this video worries me.”
Another said: “For a school that’s had two confirmed cases this week this should definitely not be happening.
“There should be staggered exits and teachers making sure the corridors are cleared.
“Any pupils causing this should be dealt with appropriately.”
For a school that’s had two confirmed cases this week this should definitely not be happening.”
Describing the scene as diabolical, another said: “I’m surprised the whole school hasn’t got Covid.”
While some parents said their children reported frequent crowding, others said the incident was isolated and praised the school’s efforts to enforce safety measures.
Scottish Government guidance does not require physical distancing between young people in secondary schools but states it should be promoted where possible.
In common with other schools Harris Academy has introduced one-way corridors and signage directing pupils and staff where to walk, alongside enhanced cleaning and hand sanitising.
Harris Academy Parent Council chairman Graham McKay said: “Whilst I agree that the video raises questions and possible concerns, I continue to believe the school and its management are doing as much as they can to keep our young people safe in a challenging environment and following the guidance provided at a Scottish Government and local authority level.”
I continue to believe the school and its management are doing as much as they can to keep our young people safe in a challenging environment.”
Graham McKay, parent council chairman
In a statement issued after the video’s publication, he said he had spoken to head teacher Barry Millar.
He said: “He has assured me that this incident was as a result of a small number of individuals preventing pupils moving through the corridor.
“As such this will be dealt with by the school under their normal procedures.”
He also said that in line with Scottish Government guidance, schools could do no more than request that pupils wear face coverings, and he highlighted other infection control measures in place, including separate break times for junior and senior pupils and staggered lunchtimes.
A Dundee City Council spokesman said: “The school has fully investigated the events which happened in the corridor last week and appropriate action has been taken.
“Refreshed guidance is being given to staff and pupils about safety when moving around the school, as well reminding young people about the need to wear face coverings.
“The head teacher is also sending a communication to families about these issues.”