Publication - FOI/EIR release

Scientific advice for return to school: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Published:
13 Aug 2020
Scientific advice for return to school: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202000049471
Date received: 31 May 2020
Date responded: 20 Jul 2020
Information requested

"The Scottish Government has advised that the return of teachers and children to school is not risk free. This raises significant concerns. Under FOI legislation I ask for sight if the scientific and medical advice rendered to the Scottish Government on this matter. For avoidance of doubt this request also includes advice on which the Government has chosen not to rely on. What is the medical level of risks to teachers and pupils?

In addition I would be obliged to obtain confirmation of the number of school related Covid19 incidents have taken place including infections, deaths and suspected covid19 infections and deaths. I would be grateful to receive this information for North and South Lanarkshire or NHS Lanarkshire territory if this is what may be available. By school related I mean all schools workers and pupils. 

I also ask for sight of the protocols to manage, children with medical needs, disruptive children or children with recognised behavioural issues. I would assume that PPE will be mandatory in such circumstances. There must surely be centralised advice on this matter."

Response

Some of the information you have requested is available in the following published documents. Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website(s) listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.

Regarding the first part of your request, the following information is available publicly:

- Information regarding scientific/medical advice was published on 26th May
- https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-schools-early-learning-and-childcaresettings---scientific-evidence/

- Information is also available through the UKS SAGE website -
https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies-sage-coronaviruscovid-19-response

- The COVID-19 Advisory Group publish their minutes on the SG website which may be of interest -
https://www.gov.scot/groups/scottish-government-covid-19-advisory-group/

In addition attached are two additional documents.
1. CMO Advisory Group ELC 20th May 2020
2. COVID-19 ERG response 08/05/20

In considering these documents for disclosure we have taken account of the strong public interest in the reopening of schools. Taking this into account I have determined that these documents can be disclosed in their entirety.

As a consequence of the significantly reduced prevalence of COVID, further scientific advice has been sought in light of the adoption of a planning assumption to return schools to full-time face to face learning in August 2020. That advice has now been published at -
https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-advisory-sub-group-on-education-andchildrens-issues/#history

Regarding the second part of your request, while our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. However, you may wish to contact North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire Council who may be able to help you - https://www.northlanarkshire.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=12655 and
https://www.southlanarkshire.gov.uk/info/200176/sharing_information_with_you/295/freedom_of_information_act/2
This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

Regarding the third In relation to your questions re children with additional support needs and PPE, the following information is available publicly :

- guidance published on 15th May - in particular the section on hygiene measures including PPE -
https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-physical-distancing-in-education-andchildcare-settings/pages/who-this-is-for/
- guidance published on 5th June - specifically the sections on Health and safety and Additional support for learning - https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-support-for-continuity-in-learning/

Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website(s) listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG