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Scottish schools and coronavirus

Although we’re now moving to a new phase of the pandemic, unfortunately coronavirus hasn’t gone away yet. Here you can find out about the measures in place.

For the latest guidance, visit the gov.scot and NHS Inform websites.

On this page you can find out about:  

HOW ARE SCHOOLS KEEPING EVERYONE SAFE?

What are schools doing to keep everyone safe?

All schools are following guidelines which are aligned with wider society to keep pupils and staff safe. The guidelines have been updated to reflect the fact that we’re in a new phase of the pandemic, with better protection from the virus thanks to vaccines and improved treatments. As always, this decision has been informed by a range of scientific advice and clinical evidence and by experts in education, early learning and children’s services. 

Schools are still being cleaned regularly, and are asking everyone to continue washing their hands. Classrooms should be well ventilated, and other precautions may also be put in place – each school building is different, so for more details on what your child’s school is doing you can contact them directly.

The legal requirement to wear face coverings – applying to shops, certain other indoor settings and public transport – has been converted to guidance. In order to maintain consistency between that position and the schools guidance, this means that face coverings in communal areas of schools are no longer mandatory, but we continue to encourage their use. 

All restrictions on day trips, events and allowing parents and other visitors into schools have been removed. This will help to create a much more ‘normal’ experience for children, families and staff.

You can find out more about what schools are doing to keep everyone safe on the gov.scot website.

What can my child do to help keep themselves and everyone else safe?

All children and staff should follow good hygiene practices:

  • frequent washing/sanitising of hands for 20 seconds and drying thoroughly, and always when entering/leaving the building, before/after eating and after using the toilet
  • avoid touching their faces including mouth, eyes and nose
  • using a tissue or elbow to catch a cough or sneeze.

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

Like everyone else in Scotland, children are no longer required to wear face coverings. However, we’re all being asked to continue to wear them if we can, especially in indoor settings and on public transport, to help prevent the virus and other respiratory illnesses spreading. Our page on face coverings has more information.

Will staff and pupils be tested for coronavirus?

Testing programmes have ended, meaning that schools and ELC settings no longer have the facility to order LFD test kits, and staff and pupils are no longer asked to test themselves for COVID-19. This recognises that we are moving into a new phase of living with COVID-19, and the reduced levels of risk that now exist

What if my child has been shielding?

The Chief Medical Officer is continuing to advise that people on the Highest Risk List can follow general population advice unless advised otherwise by their GP or clinician. Taking up all vaccinations offered remains the most important thing everyone, including those on the Highest Risk List, can do to protect against severe illness from the virus. 

Further information and advice is available at the gov.scot website.

Can I visit my child's school?

Restrictions on parents and carers visiting settings have now ended. However, schools may have different rules on this so please get in touch with your child’s school to find out more.

Your child’s school will continue to encourage as much involvement from parents as possible, even if they can’t enter the school.

WHAT HAPPENS IF MY CHILD HAS CORONAVIRUS SYMPTOMS OR THERE’S AN OUTBREAK?

What should I do if my child has coronavirus symptoms?

It’s still important to be vigilant for the symptoms of COVID-19  and other respiratory illnesses  amongst your own family. 

  • Children and young people with mild symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat, or slight cough, who are otherwise well, can continue to attend their education setting.
  • Children and young people who are unwell and have a high temperature should stay at home and avoid contact with other people, where they can. They can go back to school, college or childcare, and resume normal activities when they no longer have a high temperature and they are well enough to attend.

This guidance reflects the fact that children and young people generally have a higher likelihood than adults of regular instances of respiratory symptoms from non-COVID illnesses.

Adults who have symptoms of COVID-19 and who have a fever or are too unwell to carry out normal activities will be asked to ‘stay at home’ whilst they are unwell or have a fever. They will no longer be advised to take a PCR test.

The NHS Inform website has more information.

Should I tell the school or ELC setting if my child as coronavirus symptoms?

Yes, it’s important to let the school know if your child is not attending and why. It’s also important for schools and ELC settings to record any COVID-19 symptoms among pupils and staff, as this can give early warning of any possible clusters of COVID-19 cases.  

What happens if my child comes into close contact with someone who tests positive? Do they need to isolate?

Children and adults no longer need to isolate or take daily tests if they come into close contact with someone with coronavirus symptoms. However, if your child feels poorly and has a temperature they should stay off school until they feel better. (See 'What should I do if my child has coronavirus symptoms?' above.)

You can find out more on the NHS Inform website.

What if there’s an outbreak of coronavirus at my child’s school or ELC setting?

All schools will be on the lookout for potential outbreaks and will have plans in place if this happens.

Will schools need to close again?

If at any point the evidence shows that it’s not safe for children to be in school on a full-time basis, whether at a national or local level, steps will be taken to reduce the risks. Schools, local authorities and the Scottish Government will continue to monitor the evidence and health advice closely.

WHY IS MY CHILD SPENDING SO MUCH TIME OUTDOORS?

Why is my child spending more time outside during the school day?

Schools have been keen to make better use of the outdoors as evidence has shown that there is less chance of catching coronavirus when outside. However, there are other benefits too. When children spend time playing and learning in the outdoors they're more active, engaged and likely to have better concentration when returning to their classrooms. 

Won’t my child get sick if they're outside in all weathers?

It's not true that being outside in cold weather will make you more likely to catch cold or flu. Schools may ask you to provide warm clothing or waterproofs so your child can be comfortable and relaxed and get used to being outdoors in the rain. The outdoors will help them to be more active and have a healthier lifestyle as they grow up. 

Many schools have spare outdoor clothes that can be accessed or you may be able to get financial help through a clothing grant.

Will my child still be able to learn if they have lessons outside?

Learning across all subjects and stages can be delivered outdoors with great effect. It allows your child to develop and build their skills and knowledge, and can help your child to make sense of the world around them. The outdoors encourages children to think creatively and build up resilience, awareness of risks and can help with problem solving.  

Teachers can also take the class to different spaces – school grounds, local parks or further afield for visits to national parks, outdoor education centres, beaches and mountains.  

I’d like my child to learn more outdoors but my school are not providing the opportunity. What can I do?

Every school wants to develop their curriculum to meet the needs of its children and community so if you have any concerns or ideas you would like to see happening then speak to your child's teacher or contact the school.  

HOW WILL MY CHILD GET TO AND FROM SCHOOL?

How will my child get to and from school safely?

If your child uses public transport they no longer have to wear a face covering if they're aged over 12, however, it's still strongly recommended that they do. Although they no longer have to physically distance on public transport, it’s a good idea for them to keep a safe distance from other passengers anyway.

Your school will provide you with local guidance on how your child can get to and from school safely.

Why is it so good to walk, wheel, cycle or scoot to school?

It’s been proven that children who do some form of exercise before school, especially a walk, do better in class because they arrive feeling refreshed, fit and ready to learn. So by walking, wheeling, skipping, scooting or cycling instead of going by car, your kids can start the day feeling active and energised.

And leaving the car at home is better for the planet too. During peak morning traffic times, one in five cars on the road are taking children to school, contributing to congestion, air pollution and carbon emissions. So how about converting some of these rides to strides?
 
For tips and resources on making the journey to school active, safe and fun visit the Living Streets website.