Toll Covid-19 has taken on education in South Lanarkshire

More than 800 pupils tested positive for coronavirus in South Lanarkshire last year.

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 4:00 pm
Covid-19 has been costly for education in South Lanarkshire and several secondary schools, including Lanark Grammar, have recorded several cases. (Pic: Sarah Peters)

At 108 of the 148 schools, at least one positive test was recorded between August and December 2020.

Figures obtained from Public Health Scotland under freedom of information laws revealed that 826 pupils tested positive for coronavirus.

All 20 of the region’s secondary schools saw at least one Covid-19 case as did 88 of the 128 primary schools.

Carluke High School, Lanark Grammar and Lesmahagow High School saw five or more pupils test positive between August and December 2020. And at least one pupil tested positive at Bent PS, Biggar High, Blackwood PS, Braidwood PS, Carluke PS, Crawforddyke PS, Kirkton PS, Lanark PS, Law PS, Robert Owen Memorial PS, St John’s PS (Blackwood), Stanmore House School, Tinto PS, Underbank PS, Victoria Park School and Woodpark PS.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

In advance of schools reopening last August, a range of protocols were put in place. These included enhanced cleaning, social distancing and mandatory face coverings.

In October 2020, a report to the council’s education committee concluded that none of the pupils who tested positive for coronavirus had contracted it at school.

This month, as children return to their classrooms, additional safety measures have been put in place – following updated guidance from the Scottish Government.

Des Dickson, education operations manager, said: “In addition to enhanced cleaning, distancing, one-way systems and mask wearing that were already in place before the Christmas break, we introduced a number of additional measures to support the partial return of pupils in February.

“These measures included optional lateral flow testing for staff and S4-S6 pupils, which will be rolled out to S1-S3 following the Easter Break.”

It has been revealed that coronavirus has cost education in South Lanarkshire more than £12 million.

Figures outlined to the council’s education committee last Tuesday revealed the department was set to overspend its annual budget by £12.751 million – largely thanks to the pandemic, with increased cleaning and the need to employ more supply teachers.