Latest service updates, advice for businesses, health information and support for parents
Update – 1 April 2021
With schools breaking up for Easter, please read this letter to parents from the Director of Public Health at NHS Lanarkshire.
Letter to parents and staff - 1 April 2021
Update - 2 March 2021
We are working on the detail around the part-time return to classrooms for all secondary school pupils from Monday 15 March, as outlined by the First Minister today. All primary school children will also return on a full-time basis (P1-P7) from 15 March.
We'll be in touch with staff, parents/carers and pupils as soon as we have more information.
Update - 19 February 2021
All children attending early years establishments (those eligible will continue to receive 1140 hours), pupils in primaries 1 to 3 and a small number of senior pupils on a limited basis will return to schools and centres from Monday 22 February 2021.
Children who are in the shielding category should remain learning at home (this includes children and young people in additional support needs (ASN) schools).
All children should return to centres and nurseries as normal including partner providers.
All children should return to school as normal including children in additional support needs (ASN) schools. School transport will be in place for those who are eligible. For those in composite classes, only children in P3 should attend school and those in P4 will be taught via online learning. All children in P1-3 will receive universal free school meal provision on return to school.
Schools will be in touch with young people directly to outline when they should attend school to complete critical practical work in relation to qualifications. There will only ever be around 5-8% of the secondary school roll in school at any one time (excluding vulnerable children and key worker children). Arrangements will be made locally but for those who are eligible for school transport, this will be in place twice a day (morning and afternoon) and pupils should attend normal pick-up points. Those who are eligible for taxi transport, normal arrangements will resume from Monday 22 February.
All secondary school pupils must maintain two-metre social distancing in school and on school transport, as well as adhering to normal restrictions outside of school.
School meals will be available for purchase (free for those who are eligible). In addition, at-home lateral flow testing kits will be available to senior phase pupils twice a week through their school and schools will be in direct contact to outline arrangements for distribution.
Head teachers will be in touch directly with parents/carers of ASN children and young people in S4-6 to work with them to agree arrangements for in-school support should it be required. For those who are eligible for transport (taxi or ASN transport), the school or transport operator will be in touch to make arrangements.
Schools continue to remain open to provide learning and support for vulnerable children and children of key workers only.
In line with Scottish Government guidance, breakfast clubs are currently only available to vulnerable children and children of key workers.
Letter from Professor Jason Leitch, National Clinical Director
Parents/carers of children attending early years establishments and primary school should read this letter from Professor Jason Leitch, National Clinical Director.
Arrangements for education
Update - 19 January 2021
All children and young people will continue with online learning until mid-February (there will be a further review by the Scottish Government on 2 February 2021).
In line with Scottish Government guidance, all schools, including primary, secondary, LCSC and additional support needs, as well as family learning centres and nurseries (local authority and partner providers), will be open only for children of key workers and vulnerable families.
Government guidance also stipulates that childminders can stay open to all children and should operate in accordance with Level 4 guidance.
Under these arrangements, schools are closed for most pupils, who will instead be provided with a programme of remote learning, based on digital experiences and supplemented with other resources, where applicable.
Teachers will be in direct contact with pupils who will be able to access online learning through GLOW and Teams. In addition, this will be supplemented by the council’s Digital School offering, which is currently available to primary and secondary schools.
All content on the digital school will be regularly updated to ensure pupils have access to quality materials based on the curriculum.
Further information will come directly from your school in relation to the digital offering.
If you are a key worker and are unable to work from home, all schools, family learning centres and nurseries will be open for children and young people during existing times, when they will receive in-class learning.
The in-school service is only available to children of key workers and vulnerable children and although schools are not considered high-risk environments, it is important that we try and keep the numbers of both pupils and staff within school buildings as low as possible to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus.
Please note that only key workers who are physically attending their workplace or who cannot fulfil their critical functions when they are working remotely from home may qualify for places. If another parent/carer/family member is able to care for your child at home, then your child must stay at home. Key worker support should only be accessed where you have no other alternative.
A packed lunch will be provided to children who normally receive a free school meal and lunch halls will be open as normal for other pupils to purchase hot snacks and drinks or for packed lunches.
This service is only available to children of key workers and vulnerable children. If another parent/carer is able to work from home, then your child must stay at home. Key worker support should only be accessed where you have no other alternative. Parents/carers who are key workers only should complete the online key worker support form or the MS Word version and send to the dedicated mailbox: firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated guidance in relation to key workers and parents/carers has been issued by the Scottish Government. First and foremost, the advice remains that people should stay at home to minimise the risk of spreading the virus.
The guidance outlines that whole workforces or entire groups of staff should not be designated as key workers. In particular, those workers in category 3 of the guidance, should be clear that the work they carry out (private, public or third sector) requires to be done to ensure the country keeps running throughout the pandemic.
You will have already been contacted separately by members of our central team to confirm details of school or centre attendance.
Following the updated government guidance, the team is currently reviewing all applications and will only be in touch with you if your role as a key worker does not meet the updated guidance.
Schools have information about who key workers are and who is expected to attend. Please note that you may be asked to provide evidence from your employer of your key worker status.
Children who were previously categorised as shielding must not attend, and under no circumstances should any child with symptoms of coronavirus present at a school or early years’ facility.
Access to schools and early learning centres for vulnerable children
As previously noted, under the Scottish Government arrangements, vulnerable children are expected to attend school and early years settings. Prior to Christmas schools identified children and young people in that category and arrangements will now have been made for their attendance.
The continued care and support for these pupils throughout this current lockdown period is a priority for local authorities and it’s important that we apply the definition outlined by the government while balancing the overarching policy aims of reducing the number of children, young people and staff who need to attend school in person as far as possible.
A full list of criteria in respect of children who may be deemed vulnerable is available on the Scottish Government website
Vulnerable children support
Direct contact by their lead professional (social worker, health worker or school link) will be made with families of vulnerable children. If you are unable to contact your lead professional (social worker, health worker or school link) to discuss attendance at school, please email the designated mailbox email@example.com or social work emergency service on 0800 121 4114 (public holidays, weekends and out of office hours).
Transportation has been provided this week for those who are eligible for free school transport. However, the service will review demand next week and provide an update on arrangements. If your child is normally eligible for free transport to school, they will continue to receive this but the mode of transport may change for the duration of this lockdown period. You will be advised by your head teacher of any changes to your child’s transport arrangements.
Additional Support Needs
Schools are providing a bespoke learning package for individual children and young people who attend an ASN school.
Head teachers/heads of centre or lead professionals will be in contact with parents/carers of children and young people with additional support needs to communicate arrangements and plans.
Free school meals
The Free School Meal Paypoint Voucher System will restart from Friday 15 January to cover the following:
- All P1-3 pupils who receive free school meals through Universal Entitlement.
- P4-P7 and S1-S6 pupils currently in receipt of free school meals, registered as at Monday 17th March 2020.
Parents and Guardians of pupils who receive a free school meal will be sent out a voucher code for £15 each week (£15.00 per child per week) either by SMS or Post depending on the information held on record. Please note the first payment is slightly higher (£24) to cover all school days as of 6th January 2021.
To find your nearest PayPoint store please visit http://www.paypoint.co.uk/paypointlocator
These payments have been approved up to 29/01/2021 pending further advice from the Scottish Government.
Level 4 – what this means for your child
All schools and early learning centres remain open only to children of key workers or vulnerable families.
You will be aware that there are some changes to schools and centres, with lots of measures in place to try and keep pupils and staff as safe as possible.
If your child is in secondary school, please remind them to wear face coverings in communal areas of the school, entering and exiting and in classrooms if in S4-S6 year groups. Children and young people travelling on school transport should also wear face coverings. Children and young people should socially distance where possible in secondary school and measures are in place to minimise movement around the school. People are reminded to maintain social distancing outside school buildings.
Ventilation in schools – we are adopting government advice to maintain good ventilation in schools and where possible, doors and windows are being kept open to increase natural ventilation and circulate fresh air and to reduce unnecessary contact with doors. Although we will be increasing the temperature in school buildings as winter is upon us, children and young people are being asked to ‘wrap up’ to keep warm as doors and windows will continue to be open in the colder months.
For those children who are on the official shielding list – when they receive a letter from the Chief Medical Officer – they should not attend school. Their school will be in touch with classwork through digital learning.
If your child is asked to self-isolate because they have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for Covid-19, then they should remain at home for 10 days in line with the letter sent from NHS Lanarkshire. Your school will be in touch about classwork through digital learning.