Pupils in South Ayrshire are still being told to isolate when other students in their class test positive for coronavirus, despite updated government advice that they no longer need to.

At least two classes at Troon Primary School are currently experiencing a number of Covid cases, at least five in one class and three in another.

The classes affected are P5A and a P6 class. Parents received notification of cases on Monday afternoon and were told to keep kids home from school, pending a negative PCR test result.

A letter from the health board said: "There has been a number of cases of COVID-19 identified within your child’s class. It is possible that your child has come into contact with a confirmed case. To prevent further cases within the school and community, we recommend that the whole class self-isolates and are tested for COVID-19.   

"We recommend that your child self-isolates at home and you book a PCR test for them.

"If their PCR test is negative, they can return to school providing that they are not displaying any symptoms of COVID-19."

However, Scottish Government instructions from the Coronavirus guidance document states that if a pupil tests positive for Covid, they're to stay home and a letter is to be issued to staff and pupils in the same class as the affected student.

The guidance says that the letter should advise: "Take precautions to limit any potential spread. This includes recommendations for both secondary and primary pupils to take an LFD test before returning to the school environment. Continue with any regular LFD testing programme if they are a staff member or secondary pupil and stay vigilant for symptoms."

LFD test results can be confirmed within half an hour, whereas PCR tests can take up to three days, meaning more time off school for kids.

The Advertiser asked NHS Ayrshire and Arran why the advice was different for school kids in South Ayrshire and they said it was to help contain the virus in the face of a large outbreak.

Lynne McNiven, Director of Public Health said: "Supporting children and young people to remain in school is a Scottish Government priority. Access to education and social interaction is extremely important to enhance their future lives and their mental health and wellbeing.   

"Children and young people under the age of 18 are no longer routinely asked to self-isolate if they are sitting beside or interacting in the classroom or school settings with another young person who subsequently tests positive for COVID-19.

"However, where there is an outbreak of cases which are causing public health concern, children will be advised to take a PCR test. If this is negative, they can return to school providing that they are not displaying any symptoms of COVID-19. This short isolation period will allow Health Protection teams to identify cases and minimise spread of the virus, which will ultimately reduce disruption to education."

One parent of a child at the school, who wished to remain anonymous, said that they would be keeping their daughter home from school until after September weekend "until we can see that this outbreak is potentially quelled."

They feel that it's still too much of a risk to send their daughter into school at the moment, saying that communication from the school has not been clear, with one parent still dropping their child off at school despite being told not to.

The concerned parent said that the school sends out emails titled 'Troon PS', regardless of whether the subject is parent council, homework, or Covid related and so some parents might not have recognised the importance of the message therein.

They said: "You don’t know the content until you open them, so as we had today, a parent I know had just dropped off her child at the school not realising that the e-mail of the previous day stating self isolate.

"Secondly the e-mail being sent at 3.02pm and a particularly ineffective way to several parents meant nothing (as the emails vary from Bingo Charity events, homework and Parent Council) so you tend to read them later and as this particular parent found out from me she was bringing her child into the school who hadn’t had a negative PCR test. Why not title COVID ALERT."