SECRET SCOTLAND: ARE POSH SCHOOLS RECEIVING PRIORITY WHEN IT COMES TO TESTING?

NOTEBOOK by BILL HEANEY

Let’s hope the Scottish Government are not making the same mistake with their test and protect Covid-19 contact tracing in schools in the local health board area.

That is the one where they chose to mark down pupils from the poorest and most deprived areas in their exams. West Dunbartonshire was one of them, of course.

I ask this because NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde send out a daily bulletin of which schools they will be doing contact tracing in that day.

Aloysius college building.jpg 2And what has jumped out at me is the fact that two major fee paying school, Glasgow Academy and St Aloysius’ College, pictured right,  are in the (very short) list of schools where testing is, or has already, been carried out.

Killermont Primary School in middle class, well-heeled Bearsden has also been visited by the contact tracing team, while I haven’t seen anything about visits to schools in nearby contiguous and multiply deprived Drumchapel.

In Renfrewshire, which I visited (virtually) yesterday,  pupils are being sent home if they cough in class. I know of one case where it was a case of “three coughs and you are out”.

MSP Jackie Baillie tells me it is generally known that there are problems with the Scottish Government’s test and protect regime.

Local children are being referred to Stirling and Edinburgh for testing or even further afield, to Belfast and to Carlisle. This is simply unacceptable.

Jackie said: “I have continually called for testing centres in the local community as testing is key to stopping the spread of Covid-19.

“NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is doing contact tracing when there are suspected cases in a school.

“Additionally the West Dunbartonshire Council’s Education Department have been clear with parents.

“If their children are showing any signs of Covid-19, such as a persistent cough and high temperature, they should remain off school and get tested.”

Glasgow Academy and senior pupils at the school.

But Jackie says she has not been able to confirm the approach that the health board has taken in regard to who gets priority when it comes to testing.

Her understanding is understanding is that schools are tested on the basis of confirmed cases rather than it being pro-active.

Perhaps the Health Board or Council leader Jonathan McColl will ring us to re-assure parents that pupils at posh schools are not receiving priority over children from areas of deprivation?

But I very much doubt it.

2 comments

  1. The virus is no respecter of social class or creed, and it is important that resources are deployed to areas where resources are needed.

    The two fee paying schools mentioned stick out because they are well known icons within Glasgow for academic results but they are by no means the only schools in Glasgow or the only fee paying ones.

    Whether as Jackie says it is not possible to see who is getting priority, if that is indeed the case, or if deployment is predicated on cases, as she says her understanding of it is, will no doubt emerge. But it’s difficult to think that the NHS and the staff in the NHS act with bias .

    But with something like nearly four hundred secondary schools, over 2,000 primary schools, maybe a few hundred early learning centres, and thousands of nurseries, the challenge of testing is huge.

    At least Jackie’s understanding is that testing is based on confirmed cases and that makes sense..

  2. Here’s a snatch from their media release today, Willie: Our Test and Protect team is carrying out COVID-19 contact tracing in the following schools within the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area.
    • Aileymill Primary School, Greenock
    • Twechar Primary School, Twechar
    • St Monica’s Primary School, Pollock, Glasgow
    • Knightswood Secondary School, Knightswood
    • Gartconnor Primary, Kirkintilloch
    At this time there is no evidence of transmission within the schools themselves. To respect and maintain patient confidentiality, no further details will be released but we can confirm close contacts are being advised to self-isolate and being given advice and support.

    Apart from those who are identified as close contacts, all other staff and pupils can continue to attend as normal. There is no risk to the wider community. You have to admit it’s confusing. Greenock and Twechar are miles apart, so the schedule of visits can’t be being drawn up on a geographical basis.

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