Schools Information content
Safety mitigations to keep children, young people and staff safe in schools will be extended until at least the October holidays.
The Scottish Government has confirmed that all current mitigations, including the use of face coverings by pupils in secondary school classrooms, will still be required to help keep schools as safe as possible.
In addition, updated guidance will be provided in the information letters that schools are asked to send to staff and the parents of primary and secondary pupils when they are in low risk contact with positive cases in schools.
These will now include a strengthened recommendation to take a lateral flow test before returning to school. This is in addition to current advice for staff and secondary pupils to take a lateral flow test twice a week, with a few days apart, and record the result before returning to the classroom.
There will be a continued requirement for staff to keep at least a metre distance from each other and from children and young people when they are at schools.
See the latest information in a letter to families from director of public health about safety and regular LFD testing and result reporting for secondary pupils.
Tests for Secondary School Pupils and Staff
All secondary pupils are being encouraged to take twice-weekly LFD tests as part of a range of measures to help keep schools safe.
All participants are encouraged to report their results through the gov.uk digital portal – whether the result is positive, negative or void.
What to do if your child is unwell
If your child, or anyone in the household becomes unwell at any time with COVID related symptoms, the whole household should self-isolate and arrange for Covid-19 tests. Details of how to book at test can be found on the NHS Inform website on these links: NHS Inform Covid-19 and UK Government: Get a PCR Test
If you, or a member of your household, receive a positive lateral flow test result you and your household should self-isolate and you should arrange a confirmatory PCR test via the link above.
However, children under 5 do not need to self-isolate unless they have COVID related symptoms. This applies regardless of whether they are in close contact with a positive case in the ELC setting, household or elsewhere. Children under 5 who are close contacts may be encouraged to take a PCR test where possible.
Staff, children and young people are strongly encouraged to inform their schools and nurseries of any positive tests when reporting absences.
If your child’s PCR test is positive for Covid-19 you will be contacted directly by the NHS Tayside Test & Protect Team. You (or your child if they are able to) will be asked to provide details of close contacts.
The national policy has been updated on self-isolation, contact tracing and testing for children and young people aged under 18 who have been identified as close contacts, which results in the ability to remove contact groupings in schools.
This change is expected to have a significant beneficial impact on educational continuity.
It aligns with the updated self-isolation policy for fully vaccinated adults who are identified as close contacts.
Under the new approach only those close contacts aged under 18 who are at the highest risk of being exposed to infection will be directly contact traced by Test and Protect, and asked to self-isolate until they have received a negative PCR test. Test and Protect will focus on identification of household, overnight (sleepover) or clear, prolonged close contacts.
Under 18s who are identified by Test and Protect as close contacts of positive cases should:
- self-isolate immediately and book a PCR test. They should continue to self-isolate while awaiting their results
- if the test is positive, they should continue to self-isolate in line with NHS guidance. This states that they should remain at home and should not go to work, school/nursery, public areas or use public transport. They should not go out to buy food or other essentials
- if they need support, and cannot get this from friends or family, the National Assistance Helpline is there to help and can be reached on 0800 111 4000
- if the test is negative, and the child or young person remains without symptoms, they may end self-isolation and resume their daily lives (including returning to school/nursery), even if they have ongoing contact with the index case (e.g. a household member)
- close contacts should remain vigilant and if symptoms newly develop at any time, they must follow NHS guidance and self-isolate immediately
- if an under 18 close contact has had a positive PCR test in the last 90 days, they do not need to do another PCR test to be exempt from self-isolation provided they remain asymptomatic
More details here.
Primary and secondary pupils who are in low risk contact with positive cases in schools will receive a letter, including a strengthened recommendation to take a lateral flow test before returning to school (in addition to regular testing).
All young people 16 to 17 years of age are being offered the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination in Scotland. In line with the latest advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), they will be offered a first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Children and young people aged 12 -15 years old will be offered a dose of the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination from Monday 20 September. A dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be offered to all children and young people aged 12-15 who are not already covered by existing advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) in a move to reduce the disruption caused to education by COVID-19.
This group will be offered their injections in drop-in clinics and community settings followed by each young person receiving a letter inviting them to attend a community clinic. Following the initial phase, vaccines will be offered in both communities and schools so that anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated but would like to be has the opportunity to take up the offer.
Advice for parents and carers
We are asking families to help by avoiding gathering in large groups outside the school/nursery, to wear face coverings if possible and maintain distancing as far as practical. Car sharing is also being discouraged. See details here.
Advice is also being issued about how families can help support safety measures at drop off and pick up times at nurseries. You can read more here.
Drop-off and Pick-Up Arrangements
Please ensure you are aware of the guidance in place for your school/nursery regarding drop-off and pick-up arrangements. In particular we are asking people to:
- Avoid gathering at school/nursery gates and playground areas
- Wear a face covering where required
- Maintain physical distancing
School meals are available as usual in schools. If your child is registered for free school meals, free school meals are available, and payment will be required for those pupils who would normally pay for meals. All pupils in Primary 4 classes can receive free school meals from the start of term as part of the national rollout. Pupils in P1-P3 will continue to receive free meals. Free meals will be available as usual in nursery for all children attending.
Where appropriate, we would like parents to encourage their children to walk or cycle to school. Travelling in the fresh air is a good way to reduce the risk of community transmission while ensuring that there is capacity for those pupils who really need to use school buses. A child living within two miles of their school could reasonably walk to school within 40 minutes or cycle within 15 minutes
Face coverings should continue to be worn on bus services (exemptions apply) by pupils over the age of 12. It is hoped that all parents and schools will encourage regular hand washing and use of hand sanitisers throughout the day and particularly before the homeward journey. The bus operators have enhanced cleaning regimes and it is very important that pupils support this by taking their litter away with them and not eating or drinking on board.
Special arrangements have been put in place for pupils who travel to school in taxis and minibuses. This includes additional cleaning of vehicles, hand washing and additional protocols to minimise the re-emergence of Covid-19. If you decide to drive your child to school, then please drop your child off some distance from the school gates and ask them to walk the last part of their journey. It is very important that we don't create additional dangers for our school community by having lots of cars in the area as pupils arrive or leave school at the end of the day.