Inadequate cleaning forces pupils home

Lollipop ladies find Balgreen Primary empty
Lollipop ladies find Balgreen Primary empty
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HUNDREDS of pupils at a bug-hit primary were sent home from school because it had not been cleaned properly.

Balgreen Primary was closed on Friday to allow the building to be thoroughly cleaned over the weekend after more than 50 pupils were hit by norovirus vomiting bug.

But despite being told to send pupils to school as normal yesterday morning, parents were told just after 9am to pick them up again.

The last-minute call to close the school was made after it was discovered some parts of the school had not been cleaned properly by the council team.

A school trip to the Brunton Theatre pantomime which was due to take place yesterday was also cancelled as a precaution to stop the spread of the bug.

Parents are angry the decision to close the school for a second day was not taken until after they had dropped their children off yesterday morning.

One parent, who has four children at Balgreen, said: “On Sunday night there was an automated message on the school’s answering machine saying the school would be open as normal on Monday.

“I then phoned again at 12 minutes to nine on Monday morning because the kids were due to go to a pantomime and I was checking what time they would be back.

“I spoke to the headteacher directly and not once did she mention that the school was going to close.

“My partner dropped the kids off, the bell went and he left.

“The first I knew about the school being closed was when a friend phoned me and told me.

“My partner was only a few minutes away so was able to go back for them, but there were young children walking home on their own, which I was really worried about.”

Another parent added: “I think the headteacher has done the best that she probably can under the circumstances, but I don’t know why the council couldn’t organise for this deep clean to be done properly.

“It’s ridiculous, especially as they exposed the kids to norovirus by having them all go to the school [yesterday] morning.

“My daughter is a P7 monitor and had been at the school for an hour before being sent home. They are also not being allowed to go to the panto, which is a bit ridiculous.”

Education bosses apologised for not giving parents more notice about yesterday’s closure, but said the school would reopen today.

Parents of pupils who have had the bug are being asked to keep their child at home until they have been clear of symptoms for 48 hours.

A council spokesman said: “We reviewed the situation [yesterday] morning and decided that the school had not been adequately cleaned.

“The children’s health and wellbeing is our priority and we have taken the best decision possible, based on current public health guidance.”

Dr Christine Evans, consultant in public health for NHS Lothian, said: “Public health staff visited the school and gave advice on how best to minimise the risk of further transmission, including infection control and cleaning measures.

“The school remained closed [yesterday] due to their concerns over the cleaning.”