IT was set to be a bleak midwinter for pupils at Balgreen Primary.
But the school which was forced to cancel all its Christmas events following an outbreak of a sickness bug has come up with an innovative way to still give children their nativity and carol concerts.
The school has managed to get round the fact it has been advised against “large gatherings” such as the planned events by filming each class separately performing their individual scenes and songs.
The footage of all classes will then be edited to make it look as though the children were performing together, as in any other Christmas show.
The DVDs will be sent out to parents, who are missing out on the chance to see their children perform this year.
Pupils have been told to stay away from school on Monday and Tuesday in a bid to eradicate the bug completely as a total of 50 children and four members of staff were infected yesterday.
Headteacher Avril Wilson said: “It’s been a difficult spell for everyone but I am really pleased with the way our pupils and the staff have handled the situation. A lot of effort has gone into producing these performances and it would have been a real shame to see all that hard work go to waste.
“Creating the DVD isn’t perhaps the most traditional thing but we’ve certainly had fun doing it and it’s given us the chance to capture the enthusiasm and the talent of our children in a way that can be shared with their families.”
She added: “It continues to be a difficult time for everyone at the school but it’s really important that we close as we are seeing more cases of the bug. I can’t emphasise this enough – it’s crucial that pupils or staff don’t return to school until they are clear of symptoms for a full 48 hours.”
Balgreen was first closed last Friday following an outbreak of norovirus. A deep clean was ordered last weekend and the school was due to reopen on Monday, but it had to remain closed for a further day after it emerged it had not been cleaned properly. At the height of the outbreak, 74 pupils were infected at the same time.
A second deep clean is planned for Monday, with the school set to reopen on Wednesday.
The school sent letters out to parents earlier this week informing them that the nativity – for which pupils have been rehearsing since October – and carol concerts would have to be cancelled on the advice of NHS Lothian, who said all trips and events involving members of the public should be postponed. Two planned trips to the Brunton Theatre pantomime were also cancelled.
City education leader Councillor Marilyne MacLaren said: “We know closing presents a real challenge for parents at a busy time of year but this is an essential course of action to rid school of this bug.
“When things don’t go to plan I find that our schools always seem to be able to pull something out of the bag.
“It’s been a horrible week for Balgreen and, in a big display of Christmas spirit, staff have made the extra effort to do something special for pupils and parents.”