The 2022 Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships, a non-RSPBA event, have been cancelled due to the ongoing covid pandemic. The competition was due to be held in March next year, only two months before the first scheduled major pipe band championship, the British at Gourock.
The RSPBA have listed the proposed majors for next year but their website warn: ‘Given the current COVID-19 restrictions, these events are of course subject to change so please check back frequently.’
The schools contest organisers, the Scottish Pipes and Drums Trust, say they have taken the decision to cancel ‘regretfully’ and that it involved a number of considerations:
‘An alternative outdoor event would have to take place from May onwards for better weather.
‘There is a risk that there is covid transmission at the event or during travel, and overnight stays, and quite a high probability that one or more people attending the event will have a positive covid test after the event.
‘One factor, amongst other considerations, is that this period coincides with the school exam and assessment diet.
‘A national event of this kind, that attracts pupils, staff, and parents from schools in Scotland, who then return to their schools, risks being a ‘super-spreader’ and runs counter to school and local education authority efforts to mitigate the effects of covid, and to keep staff and pupils learning in schools rather than self-isolating at home, or having to learn from home because of staff shortages.
‘A single case identified at or immediately after the Championships could have a ripple effect out to many schools. School attendance continues to be very disrupted, affecting learning, and we don’t want to undermine this further.
‘An indoor event in a school, during school term, that attracts visitors from all over Scotland, is not possible because of Covid cleaning/ turnaround from a Sunday to Monday.
For this sizeable indoor event more than 30 classrooms plus several public spaces are needed for bands, tuning, performance and spectators, so a public venue is not suitable.
‘We tested the idea of postponing the Championships to the start of the summer holidays to allow for Covid cleaning in the school and a period of time before pupils and staff return to schools – but according to majority feedback from tutors this would not be feasible.
‘Whether or not this is connected with the event, there would be contact tracing and potentially a ripple effect into other participating schools across Scotland, causing pupils and staff to have to self isolate pending Covid tests, during a critical exam or assessment time, when more than ever, they need to attend school.’
The SSPDT are hopeful the championship will go ahead ion 2023.