Key messages from updated School Guidance published by Scottish Government on 17 December 2021:
Minimising contacts in indoor spaces through the use of bubbles/groupings should be re-introduced where practicable.
Schools should continue to avoid assemblies and other types of large group gatherings.
Supply staff and other professional visitors can continue to visit schools, in order to support children and young people, or the running of the school.
Parents/carers may attend school premises where this is agreed with the school and is considered necessary to support children and young people.
Parents/carers may attend school premises to spectate at outdoor school sport events, providing all activity is consistent with relevant Scottish Government guidance on health, physical distancing and hygiene.
Parent Councils should not meet on school premises.
Arrangements for school visitors should be communicated clearly to staff and the wider school community. All visitors should be encouraged to have a negative lateral flow test before entering a school.
It is vital that schools continue to promote twice-weekly at-home LFD testing, and that staff and pupils are encouraged to record their results, whether positive, negative or void, including over the holidays and before returning to school in January.
The UK Government has updated their online reporting portal so that household accounts can be created. This allows parents/carers to record results for more than one child without having to re-enter data multiple times. Reporting online now only takes a few minutes if participants use their phones.
Based on the latest evidence, enhanced self-isolation measures were introduced for all household contacts of any Coronavirus strain from Saturday 11th December.
Those requirements are that household contacts of all cases should now isolate for 10 days. This applies to everyone in the household, irrespective of age, and the self-isolation period cannot be reduced by testing negative or being vaccinated.
Test and Protect will, through the contact tracing system, identify those contacts where there is a higher risk of transmission and ask them to self-isolate and take a PCR test.
This approach means that blanket isolation of whole classes will continue to be minimised. Fewer children and young people are likely to be asked to self-isolate, and when they do it will be for a shorter period of time while they await their PCR result.
Any adult or child who develops symptoms of Covid-19 (high temperature, new continuous cough or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste) must self-isolate immediately in line with NHS Guidance.
Note: People living in the same household, for example any siblings, must also isolate while awaiting the outcome of the test result of the case (adult or child).
Any adult or child who tests positive using a Lateral Flow Device (LFD) must self-isolate immediately and book a PCR test within 48 hours to confirm the result.
As above, people living in the same household, for example any siblings, must also isolate while awaiting the outcome of the test result of the case.
Any adult or child who tests positive using PCR tests (including following a positive LFD test) must isolate for 10 days and in line with NHS Guidance.
Test and Protect will gather details of high risk contacts through an online form that is provided to positive cases simultaneously when results are received and, dependent on the priority of the case, via a follow-up phone call.
If the positive case is aged over 18 and 4 months, they will be asked by Test and Protect, using the online form, to identify all contacts using the same definition:
Household members (children, partner, etc) and any other adults who were within 2 metres of them for more than 15 minutes; who they saw more than once for shorter times that add up to 15 minutes; or who they were face to face with (within 1 metre) for any amount of time. This includes people in their household, but could also, for example, include colleagues they have worked closely with, or socialised or shared a car with.
All of these adults are classed as high risk contacts and should be named on the online form. The naming of contacts is not dependent on vaccination status but the isolation and testing requirement is. This is covered in sections below.
Adult cases are not now asked to share with Test and Protect the details of anyone under the age of 18 (eg pupils from their classes), unless they live in the same home, or they have stayed overnight in the same home. This is because these non-household child and young person contacts are considered to be low risk based on a range of factors, including vaccination rates, evidence about transmission from children and young people, and the low risk of direct health harms to children, particularly when set against the significant harms that can result when otherwise healthy children and young people are asked to self-isolate and miss school.
When a child or young person tests positive, the person contacted by Test and Protect and asked to fill in the online form will be the person who requested the test eg the parent of a child, or a young person who has requested a test for themselves.
If the case is aged under 18 they are asked only to share the details of contacts who are at high risk of transmission. These include people they live with or who have stayed overnight in their home. They are asked to share the details of the parent or guardian of anyone under 16 or in care that they do name.
Child and young person cases are asked not to share contacts from outside the home such as teachers, classroom contacts or friends unless they have had unusually close or prolonged contact with them e.g. provision of close personal care or overnight stays. This is because these non-household child and young person contacts are considered to be low risk, as set out above.
There are a number of ways to get a PCR test:
Following the publication of JCVI advice on 29 November 2021, everyone over the age of 18 is eligible for a COVID booster and 12 to 15-year-olds are eligible for second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
In response to rising cases of the new Omicron variant, the Scottish Government announced an acceleration of the vaccination programme with a focus on Covid boosters. The latest information on eligibility and access to appointments and drop-in vaccination is available on NHS Inform.
Information is available on NHS Inform along with access to the self-registration portal. Public Health Scotland has produced an information leaflet for 16-17 year-olds and materials for 12-15 year-olds are also available.
Drop in clinics are available across mainland health boards with 12 to 17 year olds eligible to attend those offering Pfizer.
Those without online access can call the National Helpline on 0800 030 8013.
Over 95% of people at highest risk are now fully vaccinated and 96% have received their first dose. Only a very small number of people cannot receive the vaccine due to their condition or treatment. Otherwise, anyone on the highest risk list and their family members who haven’t had the vaccine are encouraged to do so as soon as possible.
In addition, around 83% of people on the Highest Risk List have received their third dose or booster vaccination.
Vaccination figures are updated on the Covid-19 Daily Dashboard.
Due to the new variant, it’s more important than ever that everyone who can has their booster vaccination.
It is essential that everyone continues to follow public health advice and protective measures, and that strict adherence to mitigations is strongly encouraged for staff and pupils at highest risk.
Mitigations which remain in place for now are not just to give added protection to the population as a whole, but also to give protection and assurance to those at highest clinical risk.
It is important to protect each other through getting the vaccination, getting tested, and following the remaining rules and guidance.
Education & Schools
Kilncraigs, Greenside Street, Alloa, FK10 1EB
Tel: 01259 450000