Routine protective measures in schools, early learning and childcare (ELC) settings and daycare of children's services: impact assessments

Impact assessments of revised schools guidance and guidance for the Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) sector which seek to ensure routine protective measures are a proportionate and appropriate response to competing harms.

9. Conclusion

The updated Strategic Framework and revised strategic intent published on 22 February represent the next step in our evidence-based and considered strategic approach to managing the virus across wider society in the long term.

This impact assessment summarises key benefits and support aimed at reducing negative outcomes in schools and ELC settings for different equality groups from the new guidance on routine protective measures. It should be read alongside the Routine Protective Measures guidance, as well as the equality impact assessments produced for earlier versions of the Reducing Risks in Schools guidance.

We know that all children and young people, staff and families across Scotland have been impacted by the pandemic in the past two years, and that this particularly affects those with protected characteristics or who are experiencing disadvantage.

The body of evidence on the current state of the epidemic continues to point to household transmission as the primary driver, the risk of harm to children from COVID-19 infection continues to be low, and 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. After detailed consideration expert advice from the Advisory Sub-group on Education and Children's Issues, is that it would be appropriate at to move to routine protective measures in schools and ELC settings in a proportionate and responsible manner. This includes face coverings, physical distancing and asymptomatic testing, which should follow the general guidance for wider society.

Findings from this impact assessment and others should continue to inform and support the schools and ELC sectors as we strengthen our resilience and recover from the coronavirus pandemic We can look forward with increased confidence and anticipate a calmer phase of the pandemic because of the progress we have had made through vaccinations, treatments and the response of people, communities and businesses over the last two years.

Scottish Government will continue to review and update this document where required. Any future iterations will reflect an increased understanding of these impacts as the amount of data and research available, continues to grow.

This impact assessment should be read in conjunction with a Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment (CRWIA), developed in parallel.



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