#Covid Update Papdale Primary School, Kirkwall


The number of positive COVID-19 cases amongst children and staff attending Papdale Primary School has risen to 27 (25 pupils and 2 staff) as of Friday 5 November.

Of the 440 pupils at the school, 96 pupils were absent on Friday from the school of which many were due to a variety of COVID-related reasons, such as self-isolating or because they are symptomatic and awaiting a PCR test. A small number of parents have also chosen not to send their child/children to school.

In following Scottish Government and Public Health guidance, targeted “warn and inform letters” have been sent to parents of children in the affected classes. Head Teacher, Wendy Bowen, has also written to all parents to reassure that all necessary mitigating steps are being taken.

The school remains open and following a meeting of NHS Orkney Public Health and the Council’s Education Service, Environmental Health and school representatives, it has been agreed to further enhance mitigating measures. These include:

  • Offering PCR tests to all remaining children in the most affected P6 class.
  • Additional Co2 monitors within the school.
  • Encouraging lateral flow testing among all pupils at the school particularly those with siblings in any of the affected classes. The new kits available require a nose swab only. All lateral flow test results, whether positive or negative, should be logged online.
  • The availability of PCR test kits within the school itself is also to be investigated as part of a new initiative.
  • Staggered break and lunchtimes.
  • Ongoing enhanced deep cleaning regime.
  • Staff to wear surgical face coverings.

NHS Orkney are continuing to report double figure numbers of cases in Orkney on a daily basis.

These cases are a mixture of household contacts, travel and working environment contacts amongst others. As was mentioned last week, they were expecting to see numbers of cases continue to be high in coming days.

If you do develop COVID symptoms, however mild, or if you have a positive lateral flow test, then immediately self-isolate with your household and book a PCR test. This is regardless of your vaccination status. You can book a PCR test by calling the Covid Assessment Centre on 01856 888211 which remains open this weekend.

Today’s stats: 30 New #Covid Cases in Orkney

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4 replies »

  1. If the P6 class is ‘most affected’ whatever that means surely it would be best to isolate all of those pupils and related staff. PCR test them for sure – but isolate them and their family members too. Am I being harsh?


    Having the schools open is insanity.

    If the authorities won’t act – families can take it on themselves to keep their children at home.
    What matters most? That’s the simple bottom line here.

    I’ll repeat what I said in my letter to The Orcadian, published on Thursday 4th November…..

    “Dear Editor

    On October the 28th 2021, the 24 hour figure for new Covid cases in Orkney was 55. When I saw this I thought it must be a mistake, but no – it was correct. Then, on the 29th, it was 22. Then, on the 30th, it was 33.

    On the 31st, it was 8 and by that date the cumulative total of Covid cases in Orkney was at 541 and over the previous 7 days there had been 106 new cases in Orkney.

    These are the figures.

    So, what do we do? As those in charge nationally and locally don’t appear to be prepared to impose restrictions, we, the public, need to impose our own restrictions on ourselves. Wearing masks, keeping our distance. Not attending indoor gatherings with unknown people.
    And – stop trying to kid ourselves that things are back to normal and that we can do what we want. They’re not, and we can’t.

    I’m not being a kill-joy. I do miss live music – listening to a C.D. is good, but nothing like live. Needs must, and I will listen to C.D’s until it’s safe to ‘go live’.
    It is hard on the musicians, as these time are hard on many working people, but the reality is that certain behaviour is vital if we are to have any hope of ridding humanity of this virus, or even simply limiting it’s spread.

    Necessary activities such as shopping for what’s needed can’t be helped. Otherwise, what we want individually is immaterial – we have to think collectively, for the good of all.
    As long as folk only look to what they want to happen and how they would like their life to be – the numbers will go up and up.”

    And they are continuing to be high.

    Yes, I am opinionated – is that a crime these days? I am also very angry at this avoidable damage to people’s lives and health. And in this case, children, who can’t take it into their own hands.

    Angry isn’t the word for it.

  3. Given measures taken in other countries (for example Bavaria in Germany) where testing for school children is mandatory if they want to attend the classes (alternatively, if they/their parents refuse testing they have to attend online), one wonders about the lax measures in Orkney. ‘Offering’ tests and ‘encouraging testing’ may simply not be good enough. The offer may not be taken up by everyone.
    And what good are CO2 monitors? They tell you only whether there is a problem (and even this only for specific areas if placed in a corner). Once you identify a problem, are you going to open windows and doors in gale force winds? Really? Do you identify the children which sit in a precarious position given the aiflow and remove them from that position while the room is being ventilated?
    Has OIC ever brought engineers in to check for airflow and its potential obstructions, identified appropriate technical solutions for each single classroom? Have they used the summer ‘lull’ to prepare schools for the winter?
    If their only proposal now is to make use of CO2 monitors, I doubt that.

    Many engineering departments of universities and technical colleges all over the world have abundantly published advice over the last year and a half. If OIC’s environmental health department is not aware of such publications, this is a remarkable failure which constitutes negligence.

    I am also worried about potential long term health consequences for the younger generation. Covid can affect sytemically, other than the usual cold. It can lead to neurological problems and several others which may only be diagnosed many months after.
    OIC and the NHS Orkney owe it to the younger generation to not only provide education but also to make sure this education is not a health hazard.
    There is a question about liabilities too.

    Similarly, liabilities arise for employers too if their safety concept is inadequate. The Orcadian has cited NHS Orkney in saying that some infections stem from work environments. Well, an appropriate health and safety at work concept should have prevented such infections. Employers should be aware that negligence can lead to compensation entitlements and a liability for damages. Similarly, the duty of care applies to local authorities when providing education.

    I do not necessarily agree with Bernie that schools should be shut. There is obviously a benefit of closing schools temporarily (i.e. for the maximum incubation period) if there are no other reasonable means to contain an outbreak.
    But schools can remain open, if adequate measures are being taken. The ones currently in place will only have a reduced dampening effect, hence must be immediately improved.

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