Coronavirus (COVID-19) Advanced Learning Recovery Group minutes: 3 May 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Advanced Learning Recovery Group on 3 May 2022.

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 (19 April 2022) are accurate. 

Action: Minutes to be published online.


Dr Shifa Sarica (Public Health Scotland) presented the latest national public health data and Nabeil Salama (Covid-19 Analysis Division) updated the group on modelling.

The following discussion points were raised:

  • concerns were raised about the use of the word ‘epidemic’ and how this change in terminology may hinder messaging. Members were reassured that this was due to data reflecting a national rather than global picture
  • unions commented that they would welcome further insight into Covid related deaths among different occupational and socio-economic groups, and any trends that were observed
  • officials were asked for their initial assessment of the risk posed by the new BA.4 and BA.5 variants. PHS reassured members that the new variants represent only a small number of cases: BA.2 remains the dominant variant
  • Youth Link Scotland enquired whether SG had any concerns about third dose coverage among 17-21 year olds, and whether there was any specific SG strategy to target this age bracket. PHS confirmed that messaging on this covers all ages, and they were not aware of any concerns or marketing campaigns. Action: officials to reflect on how to promote vaccines for this age category
  • CLD members highlighted the value of using data on all age groups and those with additional vulnerabilities in order to make sense of how the virus impacts different settings. Action: Officials to follow up on this
  • institutions requested more regular reporting/better statistical data on Harms 3 and 4, citing their responsibility to the wider community. Actions: a) officials to follow up on this, and b) institutions to highlight what data is the most useful

Christopher Doyle from the Scottish Government Clinical Priorities Unit gave a presentation on the impact of long Covid. In particular, the SG’s strategic approach and the ongoing development, resourcing and implementation of services for people with long Covid.

The following discussion points were raised:

  • CLD noted the importance of lived experience in shaping policy and the potential role the sector could play in sharing data on this
  • in response to the above, Chris confirmed that SG is collaborating with the third sector in order to engage them and other interested organisations on this issue
  • there was an ask by members for the work of the EAG in terms of their discussions/notes on this issue to be reflected back into the group to enable a more detailed conversation on long Covid
  • unions asked for guidance on the practical steps that could be taken to help those with long Covid who want to continue to learn or work but need support to do so
  • the adult learning sector is very keen to try to support those with long Covid and emphasised the need for a more holistic approach
  • Youth Link Scotland asked what steps the SG is taking to track or assess the extent to which long Covid has inhibited people returning to volunteering. Action: SG officials to follow up on this


CLD members requested that SG put ventilation back on the agenda, citing unresolved issues around funding for organisations that want to update their ventilation systems. Action: SG officials to follow up on this.

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