The chair Jamie Hepburn - Minister for Higher Education (HE), Further Education (FE), Youth Employment and Training - welcomed all to the meeting.
All agreed the minutes for the previous meeting (29 June 2021) are accurate.
Action: to be published on the SG website.
Beyond Level 0 guidance (update): Keith Fernie, Scottish Government, Advanced Learning and Science.
- the minister thanked everyone for the development of operational guidance, to be published this week
- the group was asked to note that the guidance is a living document and will be subject to ongoing review and change
- action: it was agreed that the group will see the guidance prior to, and be notified in advance of its publication online
- Public health context (update): Diane Stockton – Education Recovery and COVID-19 Vaccination Surveillance, Public Health Scotland.
- Expert advisory sub-group (EAG) – blended learning: Carol Tannahill, Chairperson of the sub-group, Marion Bain, deputy chief medical officer.
The presentations provided a high level summary on ‘modelling the epidemic’ and the revised EAG advice on the blended learning model.
In discussion, the following points were covered:
- options of a phased return for the new term in response to the timeline of vaccination for young people
- any plans to reduce the time between doses of the vaccine – and whether the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has been asked to consider this for younger people
- PHS work on increasing the take up of the vaccine amongst young people and the role that institutions have to play on this
- the prospect of having pop-up vaccination centres, and working with the National Union of Students, in particular, to encourage uptake of the vaccine
- the public health specifications for quarantine, and the challenge of ensuring relative consistency for student accommodation and hotel rooms
- hotel capacity in Scotland potentially available for people quarantining from red list countries
- the need for providers to properly risk assess controlled learning environments and how they respond, for example, on ventilation
- the notion of promoting ‘personal responsibility’ and how this applies across the sector
- to consider mainstreaming resource currently deployed on mitigation going forward, such as surface cleaning and hand hygiene
Next Steps – linked to the Expert Advisory Sub-Group: Nic White, Scottish Government, Advanced Learning and Science
- revised guidance will be prepared for Level 0, with the prospect of the same for the other levels in the future
- action: a ‘task and finish’ working group will be formed to work on and develop the revised guidance for Level 0
AOB and end of meeting
The chair brought the meeting to a close.