MSP RAISES CONCERNS WITH EDUCATION CHIEFS OVER SCHOOL HYGIENE
Tuesday, 01 January 2013 18:02
Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald has raised concerns with Falkirk Council’s Director of Education Andrew Sutherland and Convener of Education Councillor Allan Nimmo following reports the MSP has received that a number of schools in his constituency are not providing a sufficient supply of soap for pupils to wash their hands.
With health chiefs warning that higher than normal levels of the winter vomiting bug Norovirus could be circulating this year in schools, hospitals, care homes, offices and hotels Mr MacDonald has called on Falkirk Council’s education department to ‘up its game’ by ensuring a plentiful supply of soap in school toilets.
Scotland's top doctor, Chief Medical Officer Sir Harry Burns warned that cases of norovirus have been detected earlier this year. Both he, and Chief Nursing Officer Ros Moore, have urged Scots to take simple precautions to stop infections spreading this winter.
Sir Harry said: "Rates of norovirus fluctuate from year to year with occasional spikes so we cannot estimate how severe this winter season will be.
"However, it has started earlier than usual this year, and this may be indicative of a higher than normal level of norovirus circulating this winter.
“There are simple steps that everyone can take to prevent the spread of the virus, including washing your hands properly”
Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald commented saying:
“This is all valuable advice from senior health officials on how to combat norovirus, however I am very concerned to receive reports from a number of parents that their children are finding it difficult to follow the advice due to a lack of soap in school toilets.
“If young school pupils are unable to wash their hands properly in school then it makes the spread of bugs like norovirus more likely. Falkirk Council must ensure that all school toilets have a plentiful supply of soap at all times, and spot checks should be introduced to ensure all schools are complying with the directive.
“I am therefore contacting senior education officials at Falkirk Council to ensure action is taken to address the problem”.
"Norovirus, or the winter vomiting bug, spreads quickly where people are living or working in close proximity such as schools, hospitals, care homes, offices and hotels."
"The symptoms of norovirus usually clear up in a couple of days and are generally not serious, however, diarrhoea can be serious in babies and the elderly because of the risk of dehydration. If diarrhoea is persistent or there are other symptoms such as bleeding, you should contact your GP."
"If you have vomiting or diarrhoea you should not go to school or work until 48 hours after your symptoms have ended."
Nausea followed by vomiting and diarrhoea are the main symptoms of norovirus. There are simple steps that everyone can take to prevent the spread of the virus, including washing your hands properly.
Those who catch the bug are advised to have plenty of non-alcoholic, non-milky drinks and also take oral rehydration solutions.
Those who are infected should ensure their hands are clean, to prevent the infection spreading, and they should not prepare food for others, particularly babies and the elderly.