- 30 Apr 2021
Date received: 6 Apr 2021
Date responded: 30 Apr 2021
1. Please provide the definition of 'widespread transmission' that the Scottish Government is using when deciding whether children aged 6-11 should wear face coverings in line with WHO and UNICEF's advice.
2. Inverclyde's rate of Covid-19 is currently 15.4 per 100k with a test positivity rate of 0.6% (source: Public Health Scotland, 6 April 2021). Does this meet the Scottish Government's definition of 'widespread transmission'?
3. If the answer to Q2 is no, can children aged 6-11 in Inverclyde (and indeed in any other area of Scotland which does not meet the definition of 'widespread transmission' in Q1) stop wearing face coverings?
Q1. The Scottish Government does not use a single definition of widespread transmission in determining face covering policy. Face coverings policy is informed by a wide range of sources. These include WHO advice, but also advice from SAGE, the Scottish Chief Medical Officer and other clinical professionals such as the National Clinical Director.
Section 17(1) of FOISA (information not held) requires the Scottish Government to notify you if it does not have some of the information you requested. I therefore note that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for because the decisions on implementing face policy are not solely driven by definitions of widespread transmission.
Q2. Following the response to Q1, there is no definition of widespread transmission to be met in Inverclyde and so an answer to this question cannot be given. Similar to the above, sources of advice on policy relating to children wearing face coverings include WHO advice, but also advice from SAGE, the Scottish Chief Medical Officer and other clinical professionals such as the National Clinical Director.
Per our obligations under Section 17(1) of FOISA (Information not held), I note that the Scottish Government does not hold the information you have asked for.
Q3. Specific guidance exists for settings focused on primary age children, which cover most children from 6-11. They are not required to wear face coverings in school. Children and young people over the age of 5 are required to wear a face covering on dedicated school transport, in line with the current arrangements for public transport more generally. Provisions for the use of face coverings by children and young people in schools is covered in the Early Learning Centres and Schools guidance. An Equalities Impact Assessment on the return to in-school learning, including the impact of wearing face coverings on children and young people, is available here.
All face covering policies remain under constant review to ensure that an effective and proportionate approach to the pandemic is taken.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House