Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice

Schools and nurseries

*Updated 17 September 2020*

Using Scottish Government guidance we have put a range of measures in place in each of our schools and nurseries. We also have some FAQs to help answer some of the questions you have been asking which complements any information you have received from your child's school.

What will learners be doing in school?

The focus will initially be around the importance of health and wellbeing as well as literacy and numeracy, extending to other subjects as appropriate. Some practical lessons may not be available immediately for example some aspects of a music class. These will be reintroduced during the term when the guidance on how to do it safely has been developed by Education Scotland. 

Nursery children will follow a play-based curriculum although many soft toys and furnishings and toys that can't easily be disinfected have being removed from rooms.

Guidance on physical education and other practical subjects is being created by Education Scotland and will be published as soon as it is available.  

All young people will be able to enjoy as much time as possible outdoors as part of their learning, breaks and lunch time. Dedicated areas inside and outside the building will be allocated for specific groups with limited sharing of resources.

What safety measures have been put in place?

A range of measures in line with Scottish Government guidance are in place. Our schools and nurseries are all different but you should receive a letter from your child's school detailing what has been introduced. Risk assessments were carried out and the measures have been developed in partnership with the trades unions to protect staff, children and young people. There will be appropriate signage on infection prevention in all of our buildings. We also have a programme of enhanced cleaning - there will be a weekly clean using an electrostatic spray and a product which kills COVID-19 within 5 minutes, leaving a lasting protective coating on surfaces. In addition, there will be a daily clean and extra cleaning of things that are touched regularly throughout the day such as light switches, door handles and swing door plates.

At primary schools/nurseries there will be regular handwashing during the day, including on arrival at school. We ask that children wash their hands before they leave the house to come to school.

In secondary schools young people will sanitise their hands on entering the school building and hand sanitiser dispensers have been installed in all classrooms and other key areas around the school. 

What about physical distancing?

Children and young people do not have to physically distance from each other. However, in line with scientific guidance, schools have to make efforts where possible to keep children and young people in the same groups during the school day. This may result in changes to drop off/pick up arrangements and interval and lunch time so that groups can be kept physically distanced.

Adults should keep 2 metres from each other and wherever possible from children and young people. If for any reason this cannot happen, there may be a requirement for staff to wear a face covering.

Wherever possible, classroom windows and doors will be left open to ensure that rooms and other areas are well ventilated throughout the day. There will also be a focus on more outdoor learning (weather permitting).

There will be no assemblies, concerts, choirs and instrumental music until further notice.

Should my child wear a face mask?

The Scottish Government announced changes to the wearing of face coverings in schools and on school transport from Monday 31 August 2020.

Face coverings should be worn in the following circumstances (except where an adult or child/young person is exempt from wearing a covering):

  • all pupils aged 5 and over on dedicated school transport (unless exemptions apply) in line with the guidance on public transport.  
  • in secondary schools (including special schools) where adults and young people are moving about the school in corridors and confined communal areas (including toilets), where physical distancing is particularly difficult to maintain.

Face coverings are not required in classrooms or other learning and teaching environments however, young people and staff can wear face coverings where they wish to do so. 

A supply of re-usable face coverings will be available in school for pupils who don't have one or for those who forget their own.

We understand that some young people may not be able to wear a face covering due to an underlying health condition or additional support need. This may be something that could change over time if the opportunity of individual support was provided to the young person to assist in overcoming any potential barriers to wearing a face covering. Any parents wishing to consider this should contact the school.

Wearing and storing of face coverings:

  • Face coverings should not be shared with others 
  • Hands should be clean before putting on and taking off the face covering 
  • Avoid touching while wearing and when not wearing should be placed inside a container inside your child’s school bag. Coverings should not be placed onto school desks or other shared surfaces
  • Re-usable face coverings should be changed and washed daily or if disposable should be placed into a general waste bin.

What about school transport?

Home to school transport provided by the council will continue as normal for eligible children and young people. They do not have to physically distance but from Monday 31 August they do need to wear face coverings. No food or drink should be consumed while on a school bus.

Adults travelling school transport should use hand sanitiser at intervals throughout the journey and after helping a child into the vehicle or helping with their belongings. They will assign children to the same seat travelling to and from school.

The 2 seats immediately behind the driver should be left empty unless the driver is screened off.

Parents/carers should follow this guidance when using school transport:

  • children/young people use school transport if they, or a member of their household have symptoms of COVID-19
  • if a child/young person develops symptoms while at school, they will be not be taken home on school transport. You should make arrangements to get them home safely and book a test
  • Good hygiene should be encouraged - catch it, kill it, bin it - and children/young people should carry/use tissues
  • children/young people should wash their hands before leaving the house
  • they should wash/sanitise their hands after getting off the bus/entering the school. Hands should be cleaned again before going back onto the bus at the end of the school day
  • if any child needs a small supply of hand sanitiser, they should contact their school
  • physical distancing should be applied at bus stops. When the vehicle arrives, parent/carers should stay 2 metres away to allow the driver to open the passenger door
  • family groups, children and young people in the same class groups should travel together to reduce unnecessary mixing
  • the child/young person should use the same seat travelling to and from school
  • during the journey the child/young person should not move from their designated seat
  • during the journey the child/young person should not eat or drink
  • during the journey, where possible, the child/young person should avoid touching surfaces, seats, windows, and handles  
  • children/young people should follow the guidance and instruction provided by the driver. This will help protect them and help ensure the safety of others

For children and young people travelling on public transport, please follow Scottish Government guidance on face coverings and physical distancing.

More detailed information for those who use both mainstream and additional support needs transport will be issued via the school.

Please note that Privilege transport applications are being held on file at present and may be allocated by the end of October.

Can my child take their own pencil case to school or toy to nursery?

Some restrictions on bringing personal belongings will be in place. Children at nursery should continue to bring a change of clothing but please avoid bringing toys from home where possible. Children and young people may bring in their own pencil cases and other materials for their own use as normal but personal belongings should not be shared. We ask that school bags are kept on the floor.

Children should also bring their own water bottle.

Children should wear their school uniform and this should be cleaned as normal. Your child's school will advise on arrangements for PE.

Can I park at the school and bring my child in to the building?

If you are bringing you child to school/nursery by car, please park as far away from the building as possible to avoid congestion. If you can, please consider walking or taking another form of active travel.  

The Scottish Government guidance advises that parent/carers should not enter the building or classrooms and that you should adhere to physical distancing of 2 metres at playground entrances/exits. We appreciate this is a change particularly at the beginning of a new term when children and young people start school, but this is designed to keep you and everyone in the community safe.

What about visiting the school?

The Scottish Government guidance sets out strict arrangements which apply to parents, carers, peripatetic staff and other visitors. Parents/carers should not enter school buildings except in an emergency and must contact the school in advance. 

What if someone feels unwell or is ill?

Do not send your child to school if they are unwell or if someone in the household displays any of the virus symptoms:

  • new continuous cough
  • fever/high temperature
  • loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste

The whole school community should be vigilant for the symptoms of COVID-19, and understand what actions they should take if someone develops them.

If during the school day a child becomes ill, they will be moved to a room with a member of staff and you will be asked to collect them. They will not be allowed to travel home on school transport. Staff will use face masks/appropriate PPE. The room will be closed until cleaned, and refuse will be disposed of in a bin with a lid.

If the number of children/staff presenting in the school with respiratory symptoms increase markedly within a short period, the headteacher will inform NHS Lanarkshire who will gather and assess evidence to determine if there is a likelihood that COVID-19 is being transmitted.

How do we drop off/collect children?

As children will be kept in groupings during the day, this may mean changes to drop off/pick up arrangements and interval and lunch times so that groups can be kept physically distanced. Parents are reminded that 2 metre distancing applies for adults around school gates. Schools will provide more information on individual arrangements.

There are exceptions for children with additional support needs or disabilities who use school transport, including taxis or who get dropped off and schools will put in local arrangements to support children.

What are the arrangements at lunchtime?

Staggering break and lunchtimes may take place in order to reduce numbers of young people in the dining area.

Primary 1-3 will continue to receive free school meals as will any child who is entitled and a packed lunch is allowed in school. You should wipe down the packed lunch box each day.

Secondary pupils must wear a face mask if they leave at lunch time to go to shops or to travel on public transport. Face coverings should be kept in a plastic bag and put inside their school bag. If leaving school, young people will have to sanitise their hands as they leave and return to the building.

For young people taking lunch at school extra food stations may be set up to reduce congestion and an ordering app has been developed to help speed up the lunch process and reduce queueing (except Calderglen High).

Fusion mobile app for secondary school pupils

School lunches - Secondary schools

What about breakfast and after school care clubs?

After school care clubs can restart from Monday 24 August if all industry body Covid-19 safety measures and controls are in place. 

A full risk assessment has been carried out for the return of breakfast clubs but due to the current number and trend of Covid cases the date for restarting breakfast clubs is still under review.

How many thermometers does each school have and are staff trained in using them?

Current health advice is not to use thermometers in a school setting because staff are not trained in this and it is best done, if at all, by health professionals

What track and trace measures do you have in place?

NHS Lanarkshire and Health Protection Scotland are finalising guidance and procedures for test and protect for schools.

The emphasis will be on preventative measures like good hygiene, distancing and not being complacent.

The procedures will set out what will happen if a there is an identified positive case in an adult, child, or young person in school.

The NHS will set up an incident management team which will look at each case. Two cases are considered a cluster. The assessment will involve senior public health professionals, the head teacher or representative, a representative from Education Resources and a council rep from Environmental Health or Health and Safety to determine the next steps and consider if a school should be closed.

Do staff have access to full PPE? Have they been trained how to put it on and remove it safely?

The guidance sets out that the wearing of face masks is not required. However, individual risk assessments will be undertaken to determine whether PPE is required for staff who provide personal care and support to a child. The guidance will advice on how to wear and dispose of PPE.

Staff and pupils are free to wear a face covering if they want.

You may find the National Parent Forum of Scotland's Back to school guidance for parents and carers useful.

Refunds for school trips

Around 100 school trips scheduled to travel between March and June, with some also planned after August were cancelled due to lockdown. We are in discussion with a number of tour operators, our risk management colleagues and the Council’s insurers to see what can be done to progress refunds. We have also sought legal advice as this is something we have not faced before on this scale. Unfortunately, timescales for refunds is out of our control, but refunds will be made as soon as possible. Further progress updates relating to your child’s trip will be provided through the school.

Resources for parents/carers

We have added the following resources for families and children:

Psychological Services COVID-19 helpline
Advice and support for school staff, professional, parents, carers and young people. Available Monday - Friday, 10am-3pm. (Leave a message)

Phone: 01698 455800
Email: enquiries@slcpsych.org.uk