Education Information Coronavirus (COVID-19) framework: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

1. What assumption was given to the number/percentage of children returning to Primary Schools in Scotland on 1 June 2020?
2. What assumption was given to the number/percentage of children returning to Primary Schools in Scotland on 13 August 2020?
3. Also please confirm what assumptions are made with regard to staggering of any children attending primary schools at any one time?

I would like to understand what the confidence range for R would have been on 1 June 2020 if:

4. -Incorrect Assumption 1 had been corrected by applying a discount factor of 50% to the staggered number of children attending school on 1 June 2020; and
5. -Incorrect Assumption 2 had been corrected by applying 11,500 persons rather than 18,000 persons having COVID-19 in Scotland.
6. Is it correct that Annex A applies to ELC and primary schools only? If so, where is the SG's science for its position for secondary schools?
7. why given the importance of accurate data and the SG intending children to return in a staggered manner from 11 August 2020 has the SG not bothered to model on the basis of 11 August 2020?
8. How then can any “effects” be “examined”?


The answer(s) to your question(s) are as follows:
Questions 1-3
The modelling presented in Annex A of the paper is conducted on a consistent basis to that used in the Scottish Government’s Coronavirus (COVID-19): framework for decision making - further information document, published on 5 May. This assumes “full” reopening of both primary schools and Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) settings. Consequently, it does not include an assumption of staggered attendance. However it does implicitly assume that the same preventative measures as were in place in Denmark when their schools reopened – incl. some physical distancing – are also in place. This is because the model uses actual observed data from such changes in other countries to apply to Scotland to show the potential impact here. If different approaches were in place, then a different observed - and hence modelled – outcome would likely result.

Questions 4 and 5
This modelling has not been undertaken as such approaches had not, at that time, been implemented in any other comparable nation.

Questions 6-8
Annex A models full reopening of primary schools and ELC settings on 1 June, based on latest data and forecast trajectory of the virus in Scotland as at 8 May. The model relies on observed data from other countries, which it applies to the Scottish position. At that point in time, no other comparable country had reopened secondary schools in any meaningful way, so no such observable data for the impact of this could be imported. Modelling work at UK level which informed SAGE (published here: clearly shows the relative scale of impact of reopening ELC, primary and secondary schools (where the latter has a larger modelled impact). That work also shows that approaches short of full reopening – for example attendance on a rota basis – reduces the potential impact on Rt.

The modelling undertaken in support of the routemap is published on the Scottish Government website. The latest update describes the process of moving through phases based on international equivalent comparisons which accounts for educational options where they arise internationally.

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