Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on reducing the risks in schools

Non-statutory guidance to ensure a safe and supportive environment for learning and teaching during the coronavirus pandemic.

69 page PDF

1.1 MB

69 page PDF

1.1 MB

Contents
Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on reducing the risks in schools
Protection levels 3 and 4

69 page PDF

1.1 MB

Enhanced and targeted protection in Levels 3 and 4

In addition to the suite of protective measures outlined throughout the core guidance, the following, enhanced protective measures should also be applied for schools within a local area that has been designated as at Protection Level 3 or 4.

These measures have been designed to enhance protections in areas where evidence suggests there may be higher potential risks as prevalence increases, including for those people who are at the highest clinical risk.

It is important to note that these measures are in addition to, not instead of, the protective measures set out in the main guidance.

Protection Level 3 – Enhanced protective measures

  • all staff and pupils should wear a face covering in classrooms during lessons in the senior phase
  • parents or guardians should discuss with their GP or clinician whether children with the highest clinical risk should still attend
  • the majority of workplaces can be made safe for staff. To ensure this remains the case, employers should ensure that individualised risk assessments for school staff members with the highest clinical risk are in place and updated appropriately, and staff should speak to their employer to ensure all appropriate protections are in place.
  • decisions on appropriate protections should be informed by individual risk assessments, and may include protective measures in the workplace, mitigations such as working remotely (e.g. at home or in different settings), or carrying out different tasks within their usual workplace. If protections cannot be put in place, they can discuss whether they need a fit note with their GP or clinician.

Protection Level 4 - enhanced and targeted protective measures

  • the current advice is that children on the shielding list should not attend in person. However, there will be further consideration of how individualised risk assessments can be used to maximise school attendance, and remove barriers to access to regulated childcare services, for children who continue to shield during Level 4 restrictions. It is expected that these should be informed by the secondary care (hospital) clinical team caring for the child or young person.
  • the majority of workplaces can be made safe for staff. To ensure this remains the case, employers should ensure that individualised risk assessments for school staff members with the highest clinical risk are in place and updated appropriately, and staff should speak to their employer to ensure all appropriate protections are in place.
  • at Level 4, to provide additional assurance, the Chief Medical Officer will issue a letter which is similar to a fit note that will last for as long as the local area is under Level 4 restrictions. This letter can be used in the few cases where, following updating of risk assessments and discussions with employers, it is not possible to make a workplace safe for staff. Being in receipt of one of these letters does not automatically mean that staff should not attend work if appropriate protections are in place. Staff should use the period covered by the letter to discuss any concerns further with their employer or an occupational health adviser, and if, following individualised risk assessments, action results in adequate protection in the workplace then they may continue to attend work.
  • decisions on appropriate protections should be informed by individual risk assessments, and may include protective measures in the workplace, mitigations such as working remotely (e.g. at home or in different settings), or carrying out different tasks within their usual workplace.
  • schools should be prepared to engage with enhanced testing responses to COVID-19 outbreaks in schools, where recommended by the Incident Management Team
  • physical education within school settings should only take place out of doors. Schools should consider what types of activity and clothing may be most appropriate in view of weather conditions. While physical education should continue to be considered a priority, if weather is extremely bad then schools may use their judgement as to whether it is safe for children to be outside.
  • pausing of the provision of non-essential activities or clubs outside the usual school timetable. This does not include regulated childcare operating from school premises

Contact

Email: CERG@gov.scot