Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): school age childcare services guidance

Non-statutory guidance to support a safe and supportive environment.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): school age childcare services guidance
Visits to the setting by parents/carers

Visits to the setting by parents/carers

At its meeting on 21 September, the Advisory Sub-Group on Education and Children’s Issues discussed its advice on visitors to settings. It agreed that visits by parents could be allowed in a broader range of circumstances. A note of the discussion can be found here. Visits must necessary and proportionate, agreed in advance, risk assessed and with the permission of the manager or head teacher.

Table 7: visits by parents/carers

Level 0 and below

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Level 4/Stay local

Parents/carers may accompany children onto SAC premises where this is agreed in advance with the setting and is considered necessary to support children. Where it is considered beneficial, parents/carers may also attend settings for individual parental visits related to the wellbeing, progress and behaviour of children.

Parents/carers may attend appropriate outdoor events at settings such as sports days or celebration events, providing all activity is consistent with relevant Scottish Government guidance on health, physical distancing, and hygiene.

Telephone calls, online meetings and ‘virtual’ visits should be the norm for meetings with parents. However, where it may be in the best interests of children for a parent or carer to attend in person, this should be considered on a case by case basis, for example in relation to child protection issues, addressing additional support needs or where a parent has a disability which affects communication over the telephone or online. 

 

Where virtual arrangements for parental engagement (such as virtual tours) are already in place and working well, these can continue to be used.

Visitors should maintain physical distancing from other adults who are not part of their household and should aim to physically distance from children who are not part of their household as far as is feasible, recognising that some children will find this difficult.

 

Risk mitigation measures should be clearly communicated to visitors. This may include, amongst other things, the displaying of notices around the setting.

The ability to maintain physical distancing should determine the number of visitors that can be accommodated.

If the visit takes place indoors ensure that the meeting space is well ventilated, face coverings are worn by adults and that there is a supply of alcohol based hand rub available to visitors at the entrance to the setting.

Visits should be with the permission of the manager, who will be best placed to judge what is appropriate in local circumstances (including in the context of cases within the setting’s community).

Parents should be encouraged to take part in the universal testing offer prior to entering the setting.

The number of staff meeting with parents/carers in each visit should also be kept to a minimum.

Where parents have been identified as a close contact but are exempt from self-isolating because they have been double vaccinated and have had a negative PCR test, the visit should be delayed to minimise the risk of transmission into the setting.

Additional arrangements for sharing information between staff and families should be agreed to ensure that clear lines of communication are available where face to face contact is not routinely taking place, for example this might include (where appropriate) video messaging, phone calls or text messages, photographs or email. When settings communicate using these additional measures they must also consider the General Data Protection regulations (GDPR), and update their existing privacy policies where necessary.

Supporting transitions in other ways

Education Scotland have developed two resources to support transitions during COVID restrictions: 

Wherever possible when a child is settling into the service, this should be undertaken with the parent or carer in an outdoor area away from other children. It is important that relationships are developed and the settling in period reflects the needs of the children.

Providers should consider how they will support staff, parents and children to familiarise themselves to the revised layouts and movement patterns described above. For children with additional support needs (ASN), settings must work in partnership with parents, lead professionals, children and young people to establish what support and plans need to be put in place to meet their needs. Enhanced transitions may be considered for all children, including those with ASN, such as through visual representations and plans of physical distancing in their settings. View the guidance on support for continuity in learning.

Providers may wish to consider the following approaches:

  • a map could be distributed and also displayed in the setting detailing entry/exit points and new circulation patterns, for use by children, staff and parents
  • social stories and videos could be shared with children in advance to explain what will be new and what the childcare session will be like
  • drawing on learning from the retail sector, clear signage and colour coding on walls and floors could be implemented prior to return to help with wayfinding
  • appropriate visuals will be particularly important for children. These will need to be clear and child friendly to enable them to be understood by as many children as possible. These could include signs that display meaningful symbols. Any signage that involves direct interaction from children will need to be cleaned regularly and additional methods of communication should also be considered

Visits to the setting by specialist staff

The advice for specialist visitors is specific to protection level. Specialist visitors include allied health professionals, local authority quality improvement officers, Education Scotland and Care Inspectorate inspectors and improvement advisors, and specialist coaches and instructors, and other bodies to delivering their legal duties to the setting:

Table 8: visits to the setting by specialist staff

Level 0 and below

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Level 4/Stay local

No restrictions on visits by specialist staff

Visits by any specialist staff can take place where it supports the health, wellbeing, care or development of children.

 

Visits by any specialist staff should take place only where it is demonstrably necessary to support of the health and wellbeing of children (for example in relation to child protection issues or addressing additional support needs) and it is not possible to provide this support remotely.

Specialist visitors should not attend more than one setting in the same day.

 

Telephone calls, online meetings and ‘virtual’ visits should be the norm for regular and other meetings with specialists.

Visits should be with the permission of the setting manager or head teacher

Visits should take place outdoors wherever possible.

Tradespeople can visit to carry out essential repairs or maintenance to support safe or effective running of the setting or to support future capacity building. They should remain physically distanced from staff and children.

Visits by specialist staff and tradespeople should be included in the setting’s risk assessment.

Specialist visitors should maintain appropriate physical distance from staff in the setting.

If the visit takes place indoors, ensure that the physical distancing requirements can be strictly adhered to, the meeting space is well ventilated, face coverings are worn and that there is a supply of alcohol based hand rub available to visitors at the entrance to the setting.

Visits should be with the permission of the manager or head teacher.

Where practicable, specialist visitors should look to reduce the number of settings visited and to limit their contact time with children. They should also be encouraged to take regular lateral flow tests.

Lead-in time for adapting to change in protection level: as soon as protection level changes


First published: 5 Mar 2021 Last updated: 11 Oct 2021 -