Coronavirus (COVID-19) reducing risks in schools guidance: CRWIA - January/February 2022
This Children's Rights And Wellbeing Impact Assessment (CRWIA) accompanies the ‘reducing risks in schools guidance’ which was updated to enhance measures following the emergence of the Omicron variant and refreshed on 1 February 2022 to revert to the pre-Omicron protections.
CRWIA Stage 1
Screening - key questions
(Hyperlink will only work within SG)
1. Name the policy, and describe its overall aims.
Updates made to the 'Reducing risks in schools guidance' and associated mitigations in January/February 2022 as part of the ongoing response to COVID-19 within schools in Scotland.
This policy aims to continue to support a safe school environment for all children, young people and staff from January/February 2022, while balancing competing risks and benefits. This assessment considers only school settings, as Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) and childcare sector settings are being considered separately. It sits alongside the Reducing risks in schools guidance itself which sets out detailed guidance on the application of mitigations, and has been updated to take account of evolving knowledge and experience of dealing with the pandemic. This version of the CRWIA relates to the updated guidance published on 17th December (enhanced measures following the emergence of the Omicron variant) and the subsequent updated published on 1st February that reverts to the pre-Omicron protections.
Updated Reducing risks in schools guidance (versions 7.0 – 7.4) has been developed in consultation with the COVID-19 Education Recovery Group (CERG) and with the advice of the Advisory Sub-Group on Education and Children's Issues. Version 7.0 took effect from the start of the January term in 2022 and sets out that local authorities and schools should continue to apply the mitigations that are currently in place as well as reintroducing some key measures that had previously been relaxed.
In summary, following the emergence of the Omicron variant, the key mitigation changes related to:
I. a strengthened approach to minimising contacts
II. tightened restrictions on school visitors
III. updated guidance on ventilation and CO2 monitoring
IV. updated text on asymptomatic testing
V. updated approach to self-isolation for household contacts
VI. confirmation of education sector staff to be exempted from self-isolation under the critical workers category
VII. tightened restrictions on school visits and trips
VIII. A continuation to provide essential in-person support for particular groups (including vulnerable children and young people) in the event of temporary school closures at a local level
Version 7.4 takes effect from 1st February and reverts to the previous set of protections – i.e. key changes relate to:
I. An adjustment of the approach to minimising contacts
II. Easing the restrictions on school visitors
III. Easing the restriction on school visits and trips in order to reflect wider mitigations across society
IV. Removing the need for staggered timetables
2. What aspects of the policy/measure will affect children and young people up to the age of 18?
The Articles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the child wellbeing indicators under the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 apply to all children and young people up to the age of 18, including non-citizen and undocumented children and young people. These are also set out in the UNCRC Simplified Articles publication.
All elements of this policy will affect children and young people in Scotland who are registered at a local authority, independent or grant-aided school. They are generally between 5 and 18 years of age. The main consideration will be the impact of mitigations for the safe return to school in January 2022 for all pupils.
3. What likely impact – direct or indirect – will the policy/measure have on children and young people?
'Direct' impact refers to policies/measures where children and young people are directly affected by the proposed changes, e.g. education, child protection or looked after children (children in care). 'Indirect' impact refers to policies/measures that are not directly aimed at children but will have an impact on them. Examples include: welfare reforms, parental leave, housing supply, or local transport schemes.
The measures within this policy will all have a direct impact on all children and young people in Scotland who are registered at a local authority, independent or grant-aided school. The main themes to consider will be:
- The impact of mitigations for the safe return to school on pupils' health and wellbeing;
- The impact of mitigations for the safe return to school for disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils;
- The impact of mitigations for the safe return schools on all groups of pupils, but particularly those who are at highest clinical risk from COVID-19, or living with someone who is at highest risk.
4. Which groups of children and young people will be affected?
Under the UNCRC, 'children' can refer to: individual children, groups of children, or children in general. Some groups of children will relate to the groups with protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010: disability, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation. These groups have also been considered in the associated EQIA. 'Groups' can also refer to children by age band or setting, or those who are eligible for special protection or assistance: e.g. preschool children, children in hospital, children in rural areas, looked after children, young people who offend, victims of abuse or exploitation, child migrants, or children living in poverty.
All groups of children and young people will be affected by this policy. Particular consideration will be given to some groups, including those:
- with additional support needs who may not be receiving the additional support they usually receive whilst learning at school;
- learners at highest clinical risk from COVID-19 and/ or who have underlying health conditions; and
- who experience disadvantage – this could include socio-economic factors, looked after children, child victims of abuse, sexual exploitation, children whose ethnicity impacts their clinical risk to COVID-19, young carers, children whose first language is not English, children in poverty, children who are asylum seekers or refugees.
5. Will this require a CRWIA?
Explain your reasons.
Yes. This policy area requires a CRWIA to be completed due to the impact of all areas of the policy on all children and young people in Scotland.
Tick relevant section, and complete the form.
CRWIA required: X
CRWIA not required:
Learning Directorate: Covid-19 Education Recovery Group Secretariat
Date: February 2022
Deputy Director or equivalent:
Sam Anson, Deputy Director, Covid Education Strategy and Recovery Division
Date: February 2022
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