A pregnant mum who has decided to take her daughter out of a school at the centre of a coronavirus outbreak has questioned the way families were told.
Jade Erskine – who says she will keep six-year-old Kaitlyn at home “until it is safe” – said schools regularly sent children home with letters about head lice, but there was nothing to advise parents about a virus with the potential to cause much more harm.
Like other parents in her area, she learned about the positive case at Newhill School, Blairgowrie, from social media, hours before it and another case connected to Oakbank school in Perth were formally confirmed by NHS Tayside.
“I heard about it on Monday night through my partner’s friend,” she said. “They had been sent a screenshot of a letter which had been sent home to parents in the affected class.
“I wasn’t sure whether to take it seriously or not, so I emailed the school but still haven’t had any kind of reply.”
She said the news was confirmed on a Facebook group for Newhill parents.
She said was “utterly alarmed and distressed” to hear that Kaitlyn had been mixing with other classes.
“I told the school she had lung problems when she was born, and I am pregnant and have been told to shield as much as possible for the safety of my unborn child,” she said. “I decided on Monday night when I read there was definitely a case at Newhill that my daughter won’t be returning until it is safe to do so.”
She added: “I think it’s shocking that we all get an email or letter if a child has head lice, but we don’t get any information for something that could potentially put us or our families at risk.
“Kaitlyn is very upset as she adores school, but I explained how it is safer to be with me and I think she understood.
“She understands it’s some sort of bug but makes you more sick than a normal one.”
In early August, Perth and Kinross Council’s education director Sheena Devlin announced that worried parents who choose to keep their children off school won’t face punishment.
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