<
 
 
 
 
×
>
You are viewing an archived web page captured at 01:58:02 Feb 02, 2022, which is part of the National Records of Scotland Web Archive. The information on this web page may be out of date. See all captures of this archived page. Archived web pages you visit here may leave cookies in your browser. These are not owned, controlled, or used by NRS. NRS do use cookies, including Google Analytics, to monitor site usage and performance. These can be managed in your browser settings. Find out more about cookies.
Loading media information
hide

Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on reducing the risks in schools

Guidance to help schools ensure a low-risk environment for learning and teaching.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on reducing the risks in schools
Overview

Overview

This version of the guidance supersedes those in place during the 2021 to 2022 academic year to date.

Following greater evidence and awareness regarding the risks and impacts of the Omicron variant, it reverses some of the enhanced measures introduced in December 2021 and provides minor amends elsewhere.

In particular, it adjusts measures in a manner that aims to support wellbeing, learning and teaching. It sets out that local authorities and schools should continue to apply all those mitigations that remain in place.

The First Minister announced on 18 January 2022 that the remaining statutory measures in response to Omicron would be lifted. We are now in a situation where restrictions on wider society have been relaxed. Read more: www.gov.scot/coronavirus.

The Advisory Sub-group on Education and Children’s Issues  (‘the sub-group’) as well as senior clinicians have provided advice on these changes based upon the latest clinical and public health assessment of the situation. Consistent with previous advice, the sub-group acted on the principles that: i) mitigations in schools should be retained for no longer than is necessary based on the state of the epidemic and evidence about risk, and ii) that there should be a presumption against placing a greater restriction on children and young people than on the rest of society as the vaccination programme progresses.  Following that advice, Ministers decided that lifting some of the mitigations at this stage is important and necessary as part of a wider shift in the approach across society

All children, young people and staff should continue to implement and strictly observe these mitigations. 

Key changes to previous iterations of the guidance include:

  • Adjustment of the approach to minimising contacts, including easing the need for groupings indoors (paras 24-25)
  • Ease the restrictions on school visitors, including a return to parent councils and other activities that were temporarily precluded from operating on the school estate (para 26-32)
  • Ease the restrictions on school visits and trips in order to reflect wider mitigations across society (paras 33-35)
  • Remove the requirement for staggered timetables (start, finish, break etc) (para 37)
  • Appropriate edits across the annexes A and E to ensure consistency with the above.

Local authorities and schools should implement these changes as soon as is practicable in line with local circumstances. In addition, as advised by the sub-group, attention should be paid to maximum compliance with all current measures (such as appropriate physical distancing, one-way systems, asymptomatic testing, and the correct use of face-coverings) to help to reduce transmission.

The table below summarises the current approach for key mitigations:

Mitigation

Status

Risk assessment

Retain

Encouragement of vaccination

Retain (note updated eligibility following JCVI advice)

Environmental cleaning

Retain

Hand and respiratory hygiene

Retain

PPE in specific circumstances

Retain

Face coverings in communal areas

Retain

Face coverings in secondary classrooms

Retain

Physical distancing for adults

Retain

One-way systems

Retain

Staggered drop-off and pick-up

Retain

Restrictions on assemblies

Retain

Support for people in the highest risk groups

Retain

Support for pregnant staff

Retain

2x weekly at-home asymptomatic testing

Retain

Outbreak management

Retain

Self-isolation, contact tracing and testing for adults 18+

Unchanged

Self-isolation, contact tracing and testing for U18s

Update in line with latest advice

Minimise contacts/groupings

Remove

Ventilation

 Retain

Restrictions on school visitors

Remove (but with some ongoing requirements)

Restrictions on Drama, Music, PE and Dance

Not required

School Transport

Retain 

Limits on school trips

Remove (but with some ongoing requirements)

Readiness and assurance

Retain

Residential accommodation

Retain

In the event of a significant outbreak, schools may be expected and supported by their local health protection teams (HPTs) to introduce further mitigations (as HPT advise) for a temporary basis and while that outbreak is managed. Where that is the case, local HPTs will support schools in that process and help ensure that any temporary mitigations are necessary, sufficient and proportionate dependent upon local circumstances.

The mitigations in detail section (annex A) sets out detailed guidance on the application of mitigations and other safety measures. It has been updated to take account of evolving knowledge and experience of dealing with the pandemic, and to remove out-of-date material. Otherwise this material remains largely in line with previous versions of the Reducing Risks guidance and schools and local authorities will be familiar with much of the content.

Mitigations will continue to be kept under constant review, and if data and evidence suggest that the approach to any specific mitigations should be updated then advice will be provided to that effect.

Risk assessment

It is a legal requirement that local authorities and headteachers ensure that risk assessments are conducted and regularly reviewed and updated (including at points when the guidance is updated). In implementing this guidance, it is imperative that schools and local authorities continue to take a balanced approach, and take every appropriate step to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children, young people and staff in schools. Full guidance on the risk assessment process is in the mitigations in detail section (annex A).


Contact

Email: CERG@gov.scot  

First published: 25 Mar 2021 Last updated: 1 Feb 2022 -