Return to School FAQs
Information on return to school : Wednesday 18th August
All Clackmannanshire schools will return in August, parents, carers and pupils are being urged to make sure they are familiar with the guidance in place to keep everyone one safe.
What arrangements will remain in place when school starts in August?
Most arrangements to reduce the risk of Covid-19 will remain in place with no modification or only minor modification when schools start in August.
What arrangements will change when schools start in August?
Some changes will be made, including new advice on:
- Self-Isolation, Contact Tracing and Testing
- Groupings and Bubbles
- School Transport
- Drama, Music, PE and Dance
What is the advice on vaccination?
All schools will encourage staff who have not received both doses of vaccinations to seek vaccination as soon possible.
From Friday 6 August, young people aged 16 and 17 were invited to register their interest through the online portal at NHS Inform, and will then be sent an appointment via SMS or email. In addition drop-in clinics will be available for 16 to 17-years-olds.
Anyone who doesn't register an interest or attend a drop-in clinic, once open, will be sent an appointment invitation through the post. It is expected that everyone in this age group will have been offered a vaccination appointment by the end of September.
All information regarding vaccination including consent forms will be circulated by the NHS.
What should I do if my child develops symptoms?
Children and young people who develop symptoms must not attend school/ELC. They must self-isolate immediately. Book a PCR test for your child and all household members. Your child can only return to school/ELC if a negative PCR result is received, and your child is no longer displaying symptoms of COVID.
What should I do if my child tests positive using a LFD?
Children and young people must not attend school/ELC. The result of the LFT should be recorded online and a PCR test should be booked. Please inform your child’s school/ELC if your child tests positive.
What should I do if my child tests positive using a PCR test?
Children and young people must not attend school/ELC and should follow the self-isolation guidance. Please inform your child’s school/ELC if your child tests positive and the date when self-isolation ends.
If I, as parent/carer test positive for COVID, can my child(ren) attend school/ELC?
No, in line with Public Health advice, all household members should self-isolate immediately and book a PCR test. Your child(ren) can only return to school/ELC if the PCR test result is negative AND they are not displaying symptoms of COVID. Children under five are exempt from testing and can attend school/ELC as long as they do not have symptoms.
What will happen if my child displays COVID symptoms whilst in school/ELC?
Parents/carers of children and young people who develop symptoms in schools/ELCs will be contacted and asked to collect their child along with all school aged siblings. They must self-isolate immediately and book a PCR test. Children under five are exempt from this unless symptomatic.
Which Close Contacts will Test and Protect contact?
Only those close contacts aged under 18 who are at the highest risk of being exposed to infection will be contacted directly by NHS Test and Protect. This high risk group includes household contacts, overnight (sleepover) contact, or other clear, prolonged close contact.
What should I do if my child is identified as a Close Contact by NHS Test and Protect?
Current Public Health advice for children and young people (0-17), if identified by NHS Test and Protect as close contacts is:
- Book a PCR test and self-isolate until the result has been received.
- If the Covid PCR test result is positive your child must continue to self-isolate.
- If the Covid PCR test result is negative and your child remains without symptoms you can end self-isolation and your child/ren can return to school/ELC (even when your child continues to live in the same household or have continued contact with the Covid positive case).
- If your child has a negative PCR test following identification as a close contact, then those in secondary education should continue to test twice weekly using LFDs available from their school.
- If your child has a negative PCR test following identification as a close contact, parents of primary pupils may wish to encourage their children to test twice weekly using the universal testing program.
- If your child has had a positive PCR test within the last 90 days and is not displaying symptoms, it is not necessary to undertake an additional PCR test and you child can return to school.
- Children under five who are identified as close contacts will be encouraged, but not required, to take a PCR test before they resume daily life, including return to ELC and school.
What should I do if I develop symptoms or test positive?
Staff, children and young people who develop symptoms or test positive must still self-isolate immediately. Staff, children and young people will be strongly encouraged to inform their school of any positive test when reporting absences.
Is there any change to testing?
- Staff who are fully vaccinated should ensure they continue to test twice weekly using Lateral Flow Tests (LFTs), which can be accessed via their schools.
- Children and young people in secondary schools should ensure they continue to test twice weekly using LFTs, which can be accessed via their schools. Parents may also wish to encourage younger children in primary schools to test twice weekly using the universal testing offer.
- After 6 weeks, once all staff have had the opportunity to be fully vaccinated, and subject to evidence around implementation of the updated self-isolation policy for children and young people, the asymptomatic testing programme will be reviewed.
From 9th Aug Adults (18+) who are fully vaccinated and are identified as close contacts of positive cases should:
- Self-isolate immediately and book a PCR test. They should continue to self-isolate while awaiting their results;
- If the test is positive, they should continue to self-isolate in line with NHS guidance. This states that they should remain at home and should not go to work, school, public areas or use public transport. They should not go out to buy food or other essentials;
- If the test is negative and the close contact remains without symptoms, they may end self isolation and resume their daily lives, even if they have ongoing contact with the index case (e.g. a household member).
- Close contacts should remain vigilant and if symptoms newly develop at any time, they must follow NHS guidance, self-isolate immediately and book a PCR test.
From 9th August, people older than 18 years and 4 months, who are not yet vaccinated or who have only had a single dose of the vaccine, should:
- Self-isolate immediately for 10 days from symptom onset in the symptomatic person and book a PCR test;
- If the test is positive, they should continue to self-isolate in line with NHS guidance.
- If the test is negative, still continue to self-isolate in line with NHS guidance. This is because a test cannot indicate whether someone is incubating the disease, and therefore may go on to develop it after a test is taken.
From 9th August, under 18s who are identified as close contacts of positive cases should:
- self-isolate immediately and book a PCR test. They should continue to self-isolate while awaiting their results;
- if the test is positive, they should continue to self-isolate in line with NHS guidance.
- if the test is negative, and the child or young person remains without symptoms, they may end self-isolation and resume their daily lives (including returning to school the following day), even if they have ongoing contact with the index case (e.g. a household member).
- If an under 18 close contact has had a positive PCR test in the last 90 days, they do not need to do another PCR test to be exempt from self-isolation provided they remain asymptomatic.
- Please note a standard letter will be issued by the centre regarding self-isolation protocols which should be forwarded to all families.
Will whole classes still be required to isolate? - Contact Tracing
- The approach of requiring whole classes or groupings of pupils to self-isolate as close contacts will no longer be followed in normal circumstances. In practice it is still likely that whole primary classes may have to isolate until they have received a negative PCR test.
- However, to ensure that any potential lower risk contacts in the school environment are provided with public health advice on vigilance for symptoms and other key matters, schools and ELC settings should send “warn and inform” letters to staff, parents/carers and young people in relevant classes or year groups when they are made aware of a positive case. Those lower-risk potential contacts in the school/ELC environment will not be advised to self-isolate or seek a PCR test.
- A ‘warn and inform’ template letter will be made available to all establishments to support this approach.
- The expectation is that schools will continue to need to identify close contacts of positive cases within the school setting. Procedures for dealing with positive notifications or symptoms in school remain the same.
Will pupils still be kept in groupings or bubbles?
- Groupings (sometimes referred to as “bubbles”) are no longer required to be maintained in schools. These should be removed as soon as possible and in any case within 4 weeks of the start of term.
- Schools should, however, continue to avoid assemblies and other types of large group gatherings. The recommendation in Clackmannanshire is that no more than two classes should be indoors together.
- Consideration should be given to continuing with staggered starts, breaks , lunchtimes and finishing times, provided that this does not affect the learning experience for pupils. The recommendation is that the same model as previously should continue for 6 weeks, including lunch provision.
- Arrangements for whole school staff meetings should continue for the first six weeks.
Is physical distancing still required?
- Physical distancing between adults, and between adults and children and young people, should remain in place.
- To ensure alignment with wider society and planned changes in ELC, this requirement has now been updated to physical distancing of at least 1m. As schools should already have 2m physical distancing arrangements that work well and do not limit capacity, it is expected that most schools will wish to retain these 2m distancing arrangements for logistical reasons. It is therefore not anticipated there will be a logistical requirement to make changes to physical distancing arrangements in the school environment. Retaining 2 metres between adults in schools who do not yet meet the criteria for exemption from self-isolation will also help to reduce the risk that they are identified as a close contact.
- Maintaining distancing between secondary school pupils is encouraged where possible.
Are visitors allowed in schools?
- Visitors to schools should be agreed in advance and arrangements appropriately risk-assessed. Supply staff and other visitors e.g. visiting teachers, psychologists, nurses, social workers, youth workers, outdoor learning specialists, HEI tutors and those providing therapeutic support, can move between schools where necessary. This should be agreed in advance and continue to be limited to those that are necessary to support children and young people or the running of the school until otherwise advised. Consideration should be given to the provision of this support by virtual means as appropriate.
- In Clackmannanshire, peripatetic staff can visit a maximum of four schools per week with no more than two schools per day for the first six weeks. In exceptional circumstances, if there is a need for more schools to be visited by an individual this can only be undertaken once a separate risk assessment has been completed.
Can parents/carers go into schools with their children?
- Parents/carers may accompany children onto school premises where this is agreed with the school and strictly necessary to support children and young people, for example where there are concerns about individual children making a successful transition from ELC to P1. Any such visits should be risk assessed and agreed in advance as being necessary by schools. Otherwise, where virtual arrangements for parental engagement are already in place and working well, these should continue to be used.
What are arrangements for school transport?
- The position on face coverings and physical distancing on dedicated school transport will align with the expected position on public transport.
- This has been updated so that only young people aged 12 and over are required to wear face coverings. This means that children aged 5-11, who were previously asked to wear face coverings, no longer need to do so.
- Physical distancing between passengers who travel on dedicated school transport is not required.
Are there any restrictions on drama, music, PE and dance?
Schools should note that, in line with the move to Level 0 and beyond, children and young people can now engage in all drama, music, PE and dance activity in schools, indoors and outdoors
What are the rules on ventilation?
- There is a requirement for all teaching & learning spaces to have the CO2 levels assessed before the October break. The Property Team are currently sourcing devices to do this and will be responsible for ensuring this is carried out. Please follow any guidance issued as a result of this.
What is the advice for people in the highest risk group (previously those on the shielding list)?
The Chief Medical Officer's advice to everyone on the list, at Level 0 and Beyond Level 0, is to follow the same advice as the rest of the population.
Everyone on the highest risk list is encouraged to ask members of their household over 12 to use at-home Lateral Flow Test.
Other Points to note
- Pupils should still be discouraged from bringing any non-essential property into school.
- Soft furnishings/resources should still remain out of use wherever possible.
- Displays should not include fabrics or other soft materials, but paper displays are fine.
- Extra curricular activities can resume provided normal mitigations are in place.