A TEACHERS union wants Fife Council to share data on the total number of Coronavirus cases in the Kingdom's schools.

The Fife branch of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) believes teachers are not getting “the big picture” on outbreaks and are feeling "very anxious", while the NASUWT union said school closures "may have to be considered".

Public information is provided by NHS Fife when instances occur at a particular school but the EIS want more information from the education service.

The union will also prioritise the use of face masks after the October break with members reporting that standards have "slipped".

Fife EIS spokesman David Farmer said: “Teachers are feeling very anxious and the holiday break was welcomed by all because of the pressures we are facing.

“We are conscious that around 400 pupils were sent home from Beath High and there were 100 in Kirkcaldy - there have been lots of pupils sent home from other classes too.

“One of the concerns which is making teachers even more anxious is not really knowing what is going on across Fife. We are aware of instances at our schools but we do not have the big picture.

“I think the education service should be sharing a spreadsheet and I would expect they are compiling data and keeping a detailed record.

“When there have been cases in our schools we have found they have been dealt with very quickly but across the council, we’re just not clear and that’s not good. It doesn’t do anything to reassure staff.”

He continued: “NHS Fife is dealing with cases everywhere so I am not surprised that they publish the instances when they are aware of them.

“I am sure they are compiling lists of not just the numbers across Fife but where the cases are happening, however they are not running Fife schools.

“I would hope that the education service would have their own records and they would share it with the unions.”

Questions have also been raised on whether face masks should be worn in classrooms and not just in corridors and communal areas. In recent weeks the Press has reported that pupils have defied rules on face masks at lunchtimes and on school buses.

The rector of Queen Anne High, Ruth McFarlane, warned that pupils who forget to wear a face covering can expect a “more robust approach” after the October holidays.

Mr Farmer said: “There is an issue with face masks and although initially there was a very good uptake, members are reporting that standards have slipped.

“We expect there to be a big push after the October holidays and that needs to be addressed. I think wearing face masks in classrooms could help and I’m aware some schools are already doing that because it is easier to police.

“All teachers realise that as soon as you go into the classroom social distancing goes out of the window. With 20 plus kids there is just no space and that takes the conversation back to face masks. As we get into winter I think members will feel even more anxious.”

The council's head of education and children’s services, Shelagh McLean, said: "Our first priority is to keep our school communities safe. The need to wear face coverings is constantly re-iterated in our schools and on school transport.

“Our trade union colleagues are regularly updated on the current situation in our schools and public information is provided routinely by NHS Fife https://coronavirus.nhsfife.org/.”

A Fife spokesperson for the NASUWT union said: "Teachers are extremely anxious about the increasing level of positive Covid 19 cases both in schools and the community.

"There has been a number of outbreaks in Fife schools and I am certain that number will increase despite the control measures in place.

"School closures may have to be considered by the authorities and, to date, particular groups of pupils and staff have been advised to self-isolate in response to outbreaks in their schools."