High School doing all it can to stop Covid spread

Oban councillors Elaine Robertson, Roddy McCuish and Kieron Green with headteacher Peter Bain and school captains Hannah and Angus on a socially-distanced visit to give full support to Oban High School through this difficult Covid time and also to give congratulations on exam success.

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Oban High School is doing all it can to stop the spread of Covid in the community.

Headteacher Peter Bain was at Monday’s Zoom meeting of Oban Community Council to give ‘facts rather than myths’ about what strict measures the school has in place to control the virus.

He also said ‘hats off’ to parents who have helped ‘keep us and the community safe’ by acting quickly to get tested and keep their children off school.

Mr Bain gave a detailed account of its system to track anyone who has potentially been in harm’s way up to 48 hours before last contact and also outlined precautions, including one-way in to school,  extensive use of hand sanitiser, wiping down tables, limiting pupils’ movement and restricting activities. He gave credit to the ‘fantastic cleaners’ sanitising touch points and said the school was working ‘hand in glove’ with the authorities.

Cases so far were ‘almost exclusively’ second and third years because they do not get to mix with other age groups, he said.

‘I seek to reassure the community we are doing what we can to prevent Covid spreading,’ he added.

On Monday a pupil in S3 tested positive for the virus which resulted in 14 other students having to self-isolate.

In the week before, 20 pupils had to self-isolate after another single case was identified and before that 27 students were self-isolating – a member of staff was involved.

‘The reasons I believe we are able to minimise the impact is because of the strict restrictions we employ at Oban High School,’ said Mr Bain.

Also in Oban, customers who went on four specific sea trips from the North Pier were also being asked to self-isolate for 10 days and get tested for Covid.

The call comes after NHS Highland’s Health Protection Team was notified of cases of Covid-19 linked to Oban Sea Tours.

‘We would ask customers who took a tour with Oban Sea Tours on the following days and times to self-isolate for 10 days from the date of the tour and to book a PCR test whether you have symptoms or not,’ said a spokesperson for NHS Highland.

Those trips were: June 19 12.30pm two-hour circular tour from North Pier, June 20 12.30pm and 3pm two-hour circular tours from North Pier and the 10am same two-hour tour on June 21.

Argyll and Bute has the 10th highest Covid rate across Scotland.

NHS Highland says cases are increasing area-wide but it has highlighted Oban as a particular concern, with 64 positive cases identified in the town in June – a stark contrast with the 154 cases registered across the whole of the local authority’s area in the entire month of May.

It is vital that everyone across Argyll and Bute stays cautious and follows guidance on how to stay safe and limit it spreading says Dr Tim Allison, NHS Highland’s director of Public Health.

Anyone who becomes unwell should isolate immediately and seek a PCR test. Tests can be booked through NHS Inform online or by calling 0800 028 2816.

‘The vaccination programme is incredibly successful but not everyone has been vaccinated and it is vital that we are cautious until everyone has had an opportunity to be vaccinated. Please limit your contact with other people to try to minimise the risk of further spread,’ added Dr Allison.

Latest Public Health Scotland figures for seven days between June 18 and June 24 showed 204 new cases across Argyll and Bute with 21 in Oban North, 20 in Oban South, 11 in Benderloch Trail, four in Loch Awe and nothing recorded for Mull, Iona, Coll and Tiree, which indicates case numbers would be no more than two if any.