3. Decision making
Throughout the pandemic decisions on closure and re-opening of schools and childcare services have been informed by scientific advice and discussion and agreement through a number of groups.
The Scottish Government COVID-19 Advisory Group was established in March 2020 to apply the advice coming to the four nations, from the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE) and other appropriate sources of evidence and information, and use it to inform local decisions in Scotland during the pandemic.
Later in 2020 the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Advisory Sub-Group on Education and Children's Issues was convened as a sub-group of the COVID-19 Advisory Group. It was established to provide increased resource on scientific advice for education and children's issues.
The COVID-19 Education Recovery Group (CERG) was established in April 2020 to support government decision making by providing insight into the practicalities around re-opening schools and childcare. It is jointly chaired by the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills and the CoSLA Spokesperson for Children and Young People, and members includes representation from local government, professional association, parents, and young people.
The Working Group on ELC and Childcare Sector Recovery was created to provide support to the childcare sector through the relevant representative bodies, in response to the needs brought about by COVID-19. The group's work sits within the wider architecture of the CERG and the Critical Childcare and ELC workstreams and is designed to ensure that the private, third and childminding sectors are able to input into the work of the workstreams. The Working Group on ELC and Childcare Sector Recovery membership is drawn from the representative bodies from across the childcare sector (Care and Learning Alliance, Early Years Scotland, National Day Nurseries Association, Scottish Childminding Association and The Scottish Out of School Care Network) together with the Care Inspectorate, COSLA and Scottish Government
The Scottish Government, in common with all UK nations, also takes advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) in relation to vaccination policy and delivery across Scotland.
Evidence / Public Health Scotland recommendations
As set out in Minutes and evidence reports on transmission of COVID-19 by the Advisory Sub Group on Education and Children's Issues the body of evidence continues to point to household transmission as the primary driver for COVID infections in children. Coupled with the continuing low risk of harm to children from COVID-19 infection, and the fact that severe health outcomes for all age groups are far less likely to arise while vaccination rates are high and the current variant is less severe, the clinical advice and data support the move to routine measures in schools and ELC settings.
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