Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice

Schools and nurseries

Updated 13 August

Information update – Schools reopening in August 2021

Our schools and nurseries are looking forward to welcoming children and young people back on 16 August 2021. Following the First Minister’s announcement on Tuesday 3 August, there are some changes to the health and safety arrangements for your child’s return to school on Monday 16 August 2021.

We wish to let parents/carers know about the preventative measures we have taken and will continue to take to mitigate against the spread of the coronavirus. The good news is that there is some relaxation of the measures which can take place from the start of the new school session.

The safety and wellbeing of children, young people and staff is paramount and our aim is to continue to provide a safe learning environment for everyone. Below are some of the key changes that will occur in preparation for our schools and nursery classes re-opening in August 2021. The Scottish Government guidance which is based on current scientific advice is now available: Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on reducing the risks in schools - gov.scot. This will support a safe return to school for children, young people and staff.

Return dates

Teachers and staff return to school on Thursday 12 and Friday 13 August 2021. These are in-service days which provide time for staff to prepare in advance of children and pupils returning to school/nursery.

Children and young people return on Monday 16 August 2021 and your child’s school will confirm start and finish times using the usual channels of communication.

Testing before schools re-open

All staff and secondary aged pupils are strongly encouraged to restart their twice-weekly at home Lateral Flow Device testing prior to the start of the new term and to enter their results, positive or negative, into the NHS portal. LFD test kits are available free from schools and local pharmacies. 

Physical Distancing/Bubbles

Previous arrangements for creating smaller groups in schools commonly known as ‘bubbles’ are no longer required. However, we will continue to encourage appropriate physical distancing, where possible, to further minimise any risk. This means we will avoid bringing children and young people together in large groups and, for example, this means there will be no large assemblies for an initial period.

One metre physical distancing between adults, and between adults and children and young people, is still a requirement in the school estate. However, as schools already have physical distancing arrangements that work well and do not limit capacity, it is expected that staff will continue with the two metre distancing arrangements at the start of the term, where possible.

Self-isolation rules

We welcome the changes to the self-isolation rules. The approach of requiring whole classes or groupings of pupils to self-isolate as close contacts is no longer necessary in normal circumstances. 

Therefore, there will no longer be a need to isolate whole groups of children and contact tracing will be undertaken by Test & Protect (T&P). If someone is identified by T&P as being a close contact the following new rules apply:-

  • Children aged 5 to 18 years will not have to isolate for 10 days, so long as they remain asymptomatic and have a negative PCR.
  • Under 5’s will not have to isolate so long as they remain asymptomatic but there is no mandatory requirement for them to have a negative PCR.
  • Adults who are double vaccinated and have a negative PCR will no longer have to isolate if they are a contact of a positive case.

Face-coverings

Face coverings should continue to be worn by adults wherever they cannot keep a 2m distance from other adults and/or children and young people (unless exempt) :-

Adults

  • All adults in communal areas of primary schools and early years establishments.
  • Parents and other visitors including parents at drop-off and pick-up.
  • Early Learning and Childcare staff do not need to wear face coverings when interacting with nursery children.

Pupils

  • All pupils in secondary schools are expected to wear a face-covering during class and in communal areas.

School transport

  • In line with the current arrangements for public transport, only young people aged 12 and over and adults are required to wear face-coverings on school transport. (previously aged 5 and above).

Safety measures to keep us all safe

Health and safety sits at the heart of our plans, with risk assessments and infection prevention and control measures in place. Hand sanitisers will continue to be available at the entrances and in all appropriate areas across schools. Secondary schools will have hand sanitisers available in all classrooms and in primary schools all classrooms with sinks will enable children to handwash regularly. 

Enhanced cleaning routines will continue to be implemented and there will be clear signage throughout school buildings to reinforce the infection prevention and control measures in place. 

Parents/carers are still asked to avoid congregating at school gates and there are still some restrictions in place in the meantime on entering school buildings, which we realise is not easy, but schools across Scotland are being asked to maintain current arrangements for a while longer.

The Scottish Government will review the position again towards the end of September with an expectation that will be a further relaxation of other Covid-19 mitigation practices

Vaccinations

We are now seeing the vaccine offered to everyone aged 16 and over and, in line with JCVI guidance, it has also been offered to some young people from key groups who are aged between 12 to 15 years.

All 16-17 year olds can now get their COVID-19 vaccine appointment by text or email by registering here - https://www.nhsinform.scot/vaccineregistration.

What will happen if there is a positive Covid-19 case in a nursery or school and what should I do?

  • Whole classes (‘bubbles’) will no longer be asked to self isolate if someone in the class tests positive for COVID-19.
  • Your child would only be identified as a contact if they have had prolonged close contact with the case (someone who tests positive for COVID-19)– e.g. same household, overnight stays.
  • There will be no requirement for you or your child to self-isolate unless your child develops symptoms or you are contacted by Test and Protect.
  • All close contacts of the case who need to take specific actions will be identified, contacted and advised by Test and Protect to follow the latest guidance on self-isolation and testing. The guidance was updated on 9 August 2021 and usually the following will not need to isolate:

  • adults who are fully vaccinated, whereby 14 days has passed since the second vaccination, who do not have symptoms and who do not develop symptoms and who have not tested positive;

and

  • children and young people aged under 18 who do not have symptoms and who do not develop symptoms and who have not tested positive.

Further information on the latest self-isolation requirements can be found on the NHS Inform website or Translations (nhsinform.scot) for accessible, easy read formats or other languages.

Regular testing

  • Regular testing even when you don’t have symptoms can help keep you and your school/nursery community safe.
  • Adults in your family and primary school age school-aged children, can access free test kits through the Universally Accessible Testing programme, which is available to everyone in Scotland. Free at-home LFD test kits are available for collection from COVID test centres or pharmacies, or delivery by ordering online.
  • If you have a child at secondary school, they can access free LFD tests from the school to allow them to test twice-weekly at home as long as they have no symptoms. Please contact the school directly to ask about this if your child is having problems accessing tests.
  • Please encourage your child to test twice-weekly, and to record all positive, negative or void results on the online reporting portal.

Book a test if you or your child develop symptoms

  • Please be vigilant for symptoms of COVID-19. If your child develops any symptoms of COVID-19 they must not attend school/nursery. They should stay at home, self-isolate and get tested for COVID-19. Find out more on NHS Inform.
  • All other household members of your child (including yourself) must also stay at home and follow the latest guidance, which can be found on NHS Inform. In the event of a positive result, the Test and Protect service will contact you to provide tailored advice on what to do.
  • Book a test at NHS Inform for your nearest COVID-19 test site. There are drive-through, walk-through, and mobile testing units across Scotland which are open from 8 am until 8 pm, 7 days a week. A full list of sites can be found at Gov.Scot. Or you can order a home PCR test kit online, or by calling 119. A test will then be delivered to your home. To return you can either drop the test at your nearest priority post box, or if you are unable to go out, you can also call 119 to book a courier collection from your home.

How to stop COVID-19 spreading

There are things you can do to reduce the risk of you and anyone you live with getting ill with COVID-19. DO:

  • Get vaccinated if you haven’t already done so and are eligible. Vaccination is our best defence against COVID-19 causing anyone to become seriously unwell. If anyone who is eligible in your family or home have not yet been vaccinated, then they should arrange vaccination as soon as possible. This could also help you avoid having to self-isolate in the future. Information on how to arrange a vaccination can be found on NHS inform.
  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze and put used tissues straight in the bin and wash your hands.
  • Open windows/doors regularly to ventilate your home
  • Be vigilant for COVID symptoms and self-isolate when you have COVID symptoms or have been advised to by the Test and Protect service.

Further information

General Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions and information
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection | NHS inform
For local information and details of the services available in Lanarkshire: www.nhslanarkshire.scot.nhs.uk/novel-corona-virus-covid-19/

Thank you

The past 18 months have been an unprecedented and challenging time for everyone.  However, we would like to take this opportunity to express sincere thanks and appreciation to parents, families and staff for all you have done to support children’s learning during recent times.

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