Coronavirus (COVID 19): Advisory Sub-Group on Education and Children’s Issues minutes: 14 July 2020

Minutes from the fourth meeting of the COVID-19 Advisory Group held on Tuesday 14 July 2020.

Items and actions

1. Joined by the Senior Medical Adviser in Paediatrics, the sub-group discussed the prevalence of the virus in children, particularly infants. The sub-group noted the low prevalence in children, the mild response of almost all children who had tested positive for the virus, and the specific concerns for children within BAME communities and those with exceptional health needs.

2. The sub-group discussed the contents of their advice notes on physical distancing in schools and on school transport. These are due to be published imminently. The discussions noted the current levels of infection in Scotland, and it was agreed that the advice was dependent on continuing low levels of community transmission. The size of groups and gatherings, use of face coverings, handwashing and other mitigations, and requirements of children with additional support needs travelling to school were also discussed.

3. The sub-group considered further its commission relating to physical distancing in early learning and childcare settings.  Additional advice was provided for this commission which will be further developed before being shared with Ministers in the coming week.

4. The work of Public Health Scotland and Directors of Public Health, and their key role in  monitoring, surveillance, test and protect, and outbreak management was shared with the sub-group.  Public Health Scotland experts provided an overview of emerging enhanced surveillance plans, including for school staff, children and young people. The proposals will help build understanding of the epidemiology and transmission of COVID-19 in educational settings.  The importance of the well-established test and protect system in reassuring educational staff was highlighted.  

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