Coronavirus (COVID-19): Advanced Learning Recovery Group minutes - 10 August 2021

Minutes from the group's meeting on 10 August 2021.

Items and actions


The chair (Jamie Hepburn - Minister for HE, FE, Youth Employment and Training) welcomed all to the meeting.

All agreed the minutes for the previous meeting (27 June 2021) are accurate.

Action: to be published on the SG website.


Public Health Context (update): Diane Stockton: Education Recovery and COVID-19 Vaccination Surveillance, Public Health Scotland.

In discussion, the following points were discussed:

  • vaccination of the 17-21 year old cohort and what’s being done on this to encourage uptake for community based learners, particularly young people? Action: SG to work more with the CLD sector on this
  • PHS work on ‘vaccine confidence’ in terms of how to engage with different parts of the population to encourage vaccine uptake. Action: SG vaccine colleagues to engage PHS on their ‘vaccine confidence’ work
  • avoiding digital exclusion for young people by replicating a system where those who hadn’t registered online for vaccination got a blue envelope
  • SG Communication’s work and timing on a campaign specifically aimed at vaccine uptake for students
  • what we have learned from the data on COVID-19, in terms of our policy interventions for dealing with a 3rd wave of the virus
  • sector ask for support from SG on vaccine pop-up centre discussions with health boards. Action: SG will take this point up

Update on guidance (both sets) – Will Quinn, ALS Covid Recovery

Beyond Level 0 Guidance is published online. Discussion points covered:

  • clarity on PCR testing before returning to campus, and the option to book this on the portal for Scottish and Welsh domiciled students. England and Northern Ireland are not part of this scheme
  • CRG role in developing further the C02 use and air quality monitoring recommendations (comparing this to forthcoming schools guidance), albeit the teaching environment and vaccine protection in schools is obviously quite different. Action: SG officials to review the Guidance on this point

Operating in beyond Level 0 – discussing preparation plans – Craig Robertson, SG Deputy Director

Good weather and schools holidays has led to decline in COVID-19 cases, so we should expect the reverse going into August/September when these 2 factors are less prevalent.

Cases numbers (on their own) no longer being a reliable indication of the physical harm as the majority of cases in younger people indicates less severe viral infection and hospitalisations.

EAG advice for the sector to be more cautious and encourage a hybrid of online and in person learning, and prioritising the use of well-ventilated rooms.

The importance of other pyscho-social and behavioural aspects to our discussions on the adequacy of ventilation, and the factors that impact this.

Local incident management of outbreaks might necessarily lead to increased self-isolation than is currently advised in our guidance for beyond Level 0.

On next steps

Cabinet Secretary will shortly write out to FE/HE principals regarding the implementation of the Guidance, and preparedness of the sector to respond, including managing outbreaks in the future.

CRG will move into a phase where the practical application of the Guidance is considered in more detail to ensure compliance, and to meet Minister’s expectation on this.

Ensuring guidance is applied consistently across the sector doesn’t get in the way of responding to local circumstances.

The specific issue of face covering guidance (and consistency with national measures) being less clear than the sector would like or need for guidance delivery is to be effective. Action: SG will take this point up.

AOB and end of meeting

The chair brought the meeting to a close.

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