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Return to School FAQs

Return to School FAQs

Return to Schools and Early Learning & Childcare Settings FAQs  

The aim of these FAQs is to answer questions you may have regarding your child/ren’s attendance at school and Early Learning & Childcare (ELC) settings since schools re-opened in August. These FAQs are updated regularly as new questions come in to the service.

If you have any specific queries relevant to individual schools or ELC settings, please contact them. For all other Clackmannanshire wide queries please email  

Does/do my child/ren need to wear a face covering at school?

Face coverings should now (unless exemptions apply) be worn in secondary schools, by adults and pupils aged 12 years and above moving around the school, such as in corridors and communal areas where physical distancing is not possible.

All pupils in secondary schools will be provided with a reusable mask.

Please see our Face Coverings web page for more detail.

Do secondary school pupils have to wear face coverings in the classroom?

Face coverings should not generally be required in classrooms or other learning and teaching environments. However, face coverings will be worn by adults in circumstances where they cannot keep 2m distance and are interacting face-to-face for a sustained period (about 15 minutes or more) with other adults and/or young people.

My child/ren normally get the bus to school. Do my children need to wear a face covering on school transport?

In line with Scottish Government guidance, Face coverings should now (unless exemptions apply) be worn on dedicated school transport by all children aged five and over, bringing it into line with guidance for public transport.

Further information is available on our school transport FAQs web page.

My child has difficulty wearing a face covering, what should I do?

We understand that some children and young people may have physical or emotional concerns around wearing a mask. Parents and carers should discuss this with their individual school.

My child is at primary school and I’d like them to wear a face covering. Is that OK?

All staff and children and young people can wear face coverings where they wish to do so.

My child has been coughing in school and has been sent home but I don’t think there is anything wrong with him/her.  Does he/she have to be tested?

Our advice is for a test to be requested. We can request a test for a child with parental consent. If parents do not want their child to be tested, then all adults and children in that household would be required to self isolate for 14 days.

If children in school deliberately ignore the distancing measures, how will this be dealt with?

The safety of our pupils and staff is our first concern, therefore, we will deal with any behaviour issues on a case by case basis in line with the national positive behaviour policy.

My child/dren travel on public transport to school. Will they require to wear face coverings?

In line with Scottish Government guidelines, pupils will be required to wear face coverings if they are travelling on public transport.

My child/ren normally get a taxi to school. Will escorts be provided with PPE?

Escorts and drivers will be expected to wear/use PPE (masks and hand sanitisers) and any other PPE will be provided based on risk assessments.  Enhanced cleaning will be in place for vehicles. 

Will staff be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE)?

Staff in our schools and ELC settings will not generally need to use PPE. If a staff member has to be less than 2 metres away from a child eg. during a 1 to 1 meeting or to give first aid they will use suitable PPE which may include a face covering and/or gloves.

Will there be physical distancing in the schools and ELC settings?

In line with Scottish Government advice young people will be encouraged to maintain distance where possible, particularly indoors. Wherever possible, efforts should be made to keep children and young people within the same groups for the duration of the day.

What size groups will my child/ren be in when they attend nursery?

In line with current Scottish Government ELC guidance, children will be cared for in groups of up to 30 children.

The children will stay in the same group and these groups will not mix with one another. Children will be supported by the same adults during their time in ELC; this is to reduce the spread of infection.

What does the plan look like for eligible 2, 3 and 4-year-olds who will be attending school nursery in August?

Each establishment provided families with an initial offer by letter in June for planned hours in August. We are working towards providing 30 hours of early learning and childcare, known as 1140 hours and your child’s ELC establishment will update you as soon as possible. 

ELC staff in schools return on 10th August and some of the extended year ELCs are open now.

My child/ren is/are entitled to Free School Meals. Will this continue? If so, will it be a packed lunch or a hot lunch?

All primary school children entitled to a free school meal, including all children in P1-3, will be provided with a packed lunch

All other children should bring a packed lunch from home. Lunch bags/boxes should be washable or disposable. These should be kept with the child and taken home every day to be washed. Packed lunches are also available to buy.

We would discourage children from going home at lunch due to the staggered nature of lunch times.

In secondary schools, grab bag/packed lunch will be provided for those eligible for free school meals.

These arrangements will be in place for the foreseeable future.

As lunchbreaks will be shorter pupils should comply with their school’s decisions on leaving the school grounds at lunchtime.

If pupils choose to leave the school grounds they must adhere to all public health advice and regulations, for example face masks in shops.

In ELC settings packed lunches will be provided.

The aim is to return to a full hot meal service in all establishments as soon as it is safe to do so. Schools and ELC settings will keep you informed of these arrangements.

My child/ren are not entitled to free school meals but normally have a school dinner. Will school dinners be available?

Children in primary who are not eligible for a free school meal should bring a packed lunch from home. Packed lunches are also available to buy.

My circumstances have changed. How can I apply for the free school meal and footwear and clothing grant? 

The application form for free school meals and footwear and clothing grant is now online. Your child’s school can help you with the application form from 10th August.

Will Breakfast Club and After School Club start again?

Breakfast Clubs will be provided in primary schools where possible. Your school will provide information on this.

Will schools be allowed to close if there is an outbreak of the virus or staff need to self-isolate?

We will follow the Scottish Government and Public Health guidance at all times to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all children, young people and staff.

How will physical distancing work with children who have additional support needs?

Individual schools will provide specific advice for parents/carers of children who have additional support needs.

What will happen if my child needs first aid at school such as an injury at playtime? Will they be cared for at school?

Yes, schools have responsibility to look after children who need first aid at school. Appropriate PPE will be used in line with Scottish Government guidance.

What should I do if my child is due to attend school but displays symptoms of Covid-19?

Under no circumstances should any child displaying symptoms of Covid-19 attend school or ELC. This is crucial to keep the other children and staff safe.

The main symptoms are a high temperature, a persistent cough and the loss or change of smell or taste. If in any doubt children should not attend their ELC setting or school.

What happens if we are contacted by the Test and Protect service?

If you are contacted through the Test and Protect scheme you will be required to self isolate.

If you go on to develop symptoms of coronavirus, other members of your household must self-isolate immediately at home for 14 days and you must book a test online or call 0800 028 2816.

At this point you must not send your children into school. Please inform the school as a matter of urgency.

You can find out more about the Test and Protect scheme on the NHS Inform website. Schools will follow the procedures for Test and Protect.

If a child/teacher/school staff member falls ill with Covid-19, how will this be checked/confirmed?

Schools and ELCs will have in place contingency plans to deal with positive cases of Covid-19. The Test and Protect process will be followed. In addition, schools and ELCs will have arrangements in place to isolate potentially infected areas, and arrange for the appropriate level of cleaning, in line with Health Protection Scotland guidance.

There has been a lot of discussion on how it is safer to be outside because the virus does not thrive in the fresh air. Is this something the Council is looking at?

Being outdoors enables children and young people to thrive and learn in a natural environment. Outdoor learning is something we are looking at as part of our plans for the reopening of schools and ELC settings. 

How will cleaning be managed? Will this be done outside school hours to optimise pupil attendance?

Cleaning will be completed in line with the current Scottish Government guidance, including an enhanced cleaning regime. The main cleaning activities will take place outside school hours, but some cleaning of communal spaces and toilets will take place during the school day in line with the guidance.

What if my child is reluctant to go back to school/nursery and what supports will be in place for my child’s mental health and well being?

The mental health and wellbeing of our young people is a top priority as we know that children need to feel happy, safe and secure in school to make the best progress in their learning. Worries about going back to ELC/school are normal emotions for children to be experiencing right now.

Our Educational Psychology Service (EPS) has provided establishments with information to help them support children to feel happy, safe and secure about the transition, and further information for parents can be found at the Education Service online health and wellbeing hub.

In addition, the EPS offer a telephone consultation line, 9.30-12.30, Monday to Friday on 01259 226 012.

Due to Covid-19, what will happen to the practical, work-based learning elements of Foundation Apprenticeships (FAs) over the next year?

Skills Development Scotland is working with partners to adapt the SVQ elements of FAs which require a work placement. They aim to provide alternative learning units - in some cases a project unit will replace a work placement with an employer, for example. This will not affect all FAs only those previously including employer provided work placements and some work placements will still be able to go ahead if they are low risk or can be done remotely.

The framework for each FA qualification is being looked at by working groups and more information will be available over the next few weeks. 

How will my child/ren be supported to catch up with the loss of learning which has occurred over the last few months?

We have a number of initiatives in Clackmannanshire to support young people catch up with a loss of learning. Education Services will be focussing on:

  • Extra teaching and support
  • Health and wellbeing counselling
  • Youth work and CLD support
  • SQA courses
  • Support for children with additional support needs
  • Increased partnership working with MCR Pathways, Columba 1400 and THRIVE Outdoors

Is it likely that next year’s SQA exams will be delayed or postponed if pupils have not caught up with coursework?

We will be guided by Scottish Government and SQA guidance. You find all the latest updates and information about this year’s SQA examination process and appeals process on the SQA’s website.

What about residential school trips - will my child's school be offering those?

At this time, due to increased risks of transmission involved with such trips, the Scottish Government does not recommend school trips which include an overnight stay away from place of normal residence - even for primary aged children.

Planning for such trips should not start until later in the school year, when there will be greater understanding about the virus and viral transmission.

Decisions to reinstate school trips including an overnight stay will be dependent on there being low levels of Covid-19 infection in the population and on systems being in place for close monitoring, rapid testing and tracing of suspected cases.

More information is available via the Scottish Government website.

What happens if the virus recurs?

If the virus gets worse after restrictions have been lifted, schools may need to close again, possibly even at short notice. These decisions will be taken based on national, expert advice and Scottish Government guidance, and your child's school or ELC will make you aware of the specific arrangements.

Is the Council looking to plan or already planning a strategy for the winter, when the spread of viruses and illness is greater, and how will it monitor schools in this regard?

We will follow the Scottish Government's guidance and advice as it evolves and changes in line with the available scientific evidence.

Further Guidance

National information, Q&As and other material on education recovery, parental communication and home learning can be used to complement any communications locally and at school level. This includes Parent Club’s dedicated Covid-19 web pages, the National Parent Forum (website and weekly newsletter), information from GTC Scotland’s “Teaching Scotland” magazine, Education Scotland’s “Scotland Learns” and Parentzone Scotland websites and other sources.

More information

You will be able to find more information on the following websites: