MORE than 200 pupils have been forced to self-isolate following a coronavirus outbreak at a Borders school.
Scottish Borders Council says there are currently 16 confirmed cases of the virus at Berwickshire High School in Duns.
In a message to parents and guardians before the end of term, headteacher Bruce Robertson says that “attendance has dropped significantly”.
He writes: “There are currently 16 confirmed cases, which have resulted in over 200 pupils being asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Protect.
“Attendance this week has dropped significantly and we are aware from the many conversations colleagues from the school have had with parents that this is due to various factors, not least of all the impending festive period and the desire to avoid any self-isolation requirements over that time.
“We understand and appreciate the concerns that families will have over the number of recent cases, however in the vast majority of instances there have been no obvious links between positive cases.
“The school, Scottish Borders Council and NHS Borders’ Public Health team are also absolutely satisfied that all necessary measures are in place to keep pupils and staff as safe as possible, and have been implemented in line with Scottish Government guidance.
“It is essential that we all continue to work together to ensure we minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19 within the school and we would ask you to ensure that your household adhere to the Scottish Government restrictions and follow the FACTS guidance at all times.
“Your support in reiterating this to young people would also be greatly appreciated, as we have become aware that a number of house parties have taken place across Berwickshire in recent weeks attended by significant numbers of young people.
“Clearly these types of events are outwith the current restrictions, and for good reason, as they significantly increase the risk of catching and transmitting the virus.
“Moving forward, we look forward to the start of the new term next month and to welcoming all pupils back to the school after this challenging period.
“Finally, we would like to wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year.
“Please take care, stay safe and thank you for your continued support.”