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


During term-time, school age childcare services regularly care for children from a range of different schools. In many cases, the children are transported to the school age childcare service using private service operators, while other services rely on school buses to transport children, particularly in rural areas.

Dedicated transport used by the service should be regarded as an extension of the premises and physical distancing measures between children attending the service are not necessary (subject to continued low levels of infection within Scotland).

National transport guidance

Read the latest guidance on how to remain safe when walking, cycling and travelling in vehicles or on public transport during the coronavirus outbreak. This includes information on the support that Transport Scotland and Sustrans are providing to local authorities on improving routes to better enable physical distancing.

Providers should ensure that local arrangements and advice to staff, parents, carers and children and young people for travelling to and from their setting is consistent with the latest national guidance. Elements that could be considered include:

  • parents/carers who are selfisolating while they wait for the results of their PCR test, or who have received a positive PCR test should not leave the house to bring children to or from settings. They should make arrangements for someone else to do this on their behalf or, if that’s not possible, children should stay home with parents/carers
  • encouraging staff, parents, carers and children and young people to plan their journey to and from the setting, and to minimise pressure on public transport and the road network through walking or cycling where possible
  • encouraging children and young people and parents/carers to follow physical distancing when travelling to and from the setting as advised in the above guidance
  • encouraging staff and children and young people to wash or sanitise hands before and after travelling
  • options to minimise the number of staff and children and young people travelling at peak times, for example through staggering start and finish times
  • when travelling on public transport or in a taxi or private hire vehicle or when in a bus or railway station, passengers over the age of five must wear a face covering unless they have a condition for which a face covering would be inappropriate

Drop off and pick up 

The arrangements for parents to drop off and collect children require careful consideration, to ensure that large gatherings of people can be avoided, and physical distancing between adults is maintained. Physical distancing between staff and other adults (including parents) must be adhered to at all times.

Following the review of physical distancing in Scotland, the First Minister announced in her statement to parliament on Tuesday that physical distancing measures will be slowly eased to enable us to operate in a less restricted way. When areas move down to Level 0 on 19 July, where there isn’t already a 1 metre rule in place, the physical distance requirement in indoor public places will reduce from 2 metres to 1 metre. The Advisory Sub-Group on Education and Children’s Issues will be providing advice on whether it’s appropriate to make this change in childcare settings and guidance will be updated in due course to reflect that advice. In the meantime, settings should continue to adhere to the 2 metres physical distance between adults.

Where possible parents should not enter buildings. 

Some approaches that school age childcare providers should consider include the following:

  • parents and carers (and siblings where they are required to accompany parents) should be strongly encouraged to wear face coverings at drop off and pick up
  • staggered and allocated drop off/pick up times (so that not all children arrive onsite at one time)
  • parents/carers and other family members should be discouraged from gathering outside the setting and should maintain appropriate physical distancing, as far as practicable, when dropping off children. Appropriate markings may be introduced outside the entrance to the setting to support physical distancing
  • consideration of additional access points and children’s routes to play and activity spaces when they arrive at the facility in conjunction with the building owner or manager where appropriate. This could include children heading straight to the area in which their group are working, which could be indoors or outdoors, after washing their hands
  • for those arriving by car, parents may be encouraged to park further away from the setting and then walk with their children to avoid congestion, or alternatively use active travel routes where feasible
  • staff and parents should only share a vehicle with those from their household or extended household. If they have no other option, they should follow the safe travel guidance at the Transport Scotland website which provides advice on how to share vehicles safely
  • when staff drop off or pick children up from school careful consideration should be given to ensure children are safe and that there is appropriate staffing to escort children following physical distancing
  • particular consideration should be given to meeting the individual needs of families where children have complex needs or disabilities
  • the advice is not to use public transport in a level 4 area. If the use of public transport is essential, encourage staff and parents to plan their journey to and from their setting, and to minimise pressure on public transport. They should also be encouraged to plan other forms of transport to minimise pressure on the road network and consider walking or cycling where possible.
  • where parents are dropping off children and it is not possible to maintain physical distancing between adults, staff should wash hands after the child is safely in the service
  • encourage staff, parents to follow physical distancing when travelling to and from your setting, as advised in the latest guidance on how to remain safe when walking, cycling and travelling in vehicles or on public transport during the coronavirus outbreak

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