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Guidance if your child has been shielding

For people who were asked to shield over the spring and summer months it's been very difficult. Children who were shielding may have found the restrictions on what they could do particularly hard. We are not asking people to go back to the same form of full shielding as we know just how hard and detrimental to mental health and physical wellbeing that could be. However, now schools and childcare settings are open again, you might have some worries about what this means for people in your household who are on the shielding list.

My child is on the shielding list, can they attend school or ELC settings?

As coronavirus levels rise, advice on whether children who have been shielding should be at school has changed, depending on the COVID-10 protection level your area is in.

Levels 0-3 

Children should normally be able to attend school or ELC settings, unless you’re told otherwise. 

Level 4

The general advice is that children and young people who are on the shielding list should not attend their normal nursery, childminder or school. However, you should consult your child’s healthcare team, who may advise that an individual risk assessment could be undertaken with the nursery or childminder or school, and arrangements put in place which might allow your child to continue to attend.

You can find out more about shielding guidance at the Scottish Government website.

I’m worried they’ll be at risk if they go back?

There is close monitoring to give an early warning if there are any spikes in infections in each local area. Your child’s school will have plans in place if there is a rise in local infections, and the advice at level 4 will apply. This may involve clinically vulnerable children and young people having to learn from home and using a mix of online and remote teaching. Speak to your child’s school to learn more about the plans they have in place.

Will my child have to wear a face covering at school?

Children in nurseries and primary schools will not be expected to wear face coverings or personal protective equipment (PPE) at school. Any child or adult that has been advised or wants to wear a face covering or any PPE will be supported to do so. However, in secondary schools adults and pupils must wear a face covering in certain areas (unless they have a reasonable excuse not to). For more details, see our page on face coverings

What if my child is still unable to attend school?

Schools have provisions plans in place so that children who can’t come into school won’t miss out. These may include some online and remote learning. Contact your school for more information about this.

What other plans are in place?

Read our pages on the reopening of schools and preschool childcare for more information on what they will look like when they reopen.

Someone in our household is on the shielding list, is it safe for my child to go back to school?

If someone else in your household has been shielding or has been told by their GP that they should continue to be careful, you may be concerned about your child returning to school, particularly if you are in a level 3 or 4 area. If this is the case, talk to the school about any worries you have. They can help you decide what’s best for your child and your family.

My child is on the shielding list, can they be looked after by friends, family or a nanny?

If you need other friends or family to help look after your child while you are at work, the people that help you should keep their contact with people from other households to a minimum, stringently follow the FACTS advice, and avoid sharing food and utensils. Whilst in the house, if possible, they should avoid touching hard surfaces and also regularly wipe surfaces down with anti-bacterial cleaner. Keep windows open and have fresh air flowing through the house, as much as possible.