Pupils face the prospect of wearing their used PE kit for most of the day as schools return.
Under the latest Scottish Government guidance changing rooms are classed as an area of “increased risk of transmission.”
Schools are being asked to make sure the facilities are well-ventilated and that surfaces are cleaned afterwards if they are used at all.
When changing rooms are not being used young people “should be encouraged” to wear kit on PE days. They should then wait until they are back at home before they change.
A letter to parents at Aberdeen’s Oldmachar Academy said that children should wear school uniforms when they return. This does not apply on days when they have PE.
It also said that first to fourth year pupils have PE classes at least twice a week. Some in this bracket have more if they are studying the subject at National 5 level.
In fifth and sixth year, pupils studying Higher PE face wearing PE kit for most of the day. Other senior pupils do not have PE classes.
One parent said: “Obviously I know the schools and councils have to put safety first. It just seems strange when people can go to football matches but kids can’t change into PE kit at school.”
Councils to follow guidance on use of changing facilities
Schools in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Moray and Highland all return following the summer break on Tuesday.
All four local authorities have confirmed they are following the advice set out by ministers. Some will wait until the new term begins before making any decisions.
It is likely that at least some pupils could be in their PE kit for most of the day.
A spokesman for Aberdeenshire Council said: “The council is encouraging schools not to use changing rooms if possible because of the risk of transmission and to consider alternative arrangements in their risk assessments.
“Where it isn’t possible for alternatives to changing rooms to be used then the school seek to ensure mitigations are in place, including ventilation, small group numbers and cleaning regimes.
“Schools may be encouraging pupils to wear their PE kit on days when they have PE lessons and, where possible, wait until they go home to change.
“This is because it can be difficult to ensure adequate ventilation in some school changing areas as it would be inappropriate to open doors and windows whilst pupils are changing before and after PE lessons.”
‘We await further guidance’
Councillor M Tauqeer Malik, Aberdeen City Council’s education operational delivery convener, said: “In keeping with updated national guidance on the return to school, all schools will review arrangements in keeping with that guidance at the start of the new school session and update risk assessments accordingly.
“School leaders will share updated arrangements with families as soon as they have been confirmed.”
A Moray Council spokesperson said: “In line with current Scottish Government guidance, schools across Moray will continue to implement the mitigation measures necessary to keep staff and pupils as safe as possible. We await further guidance from the Scottish Government and will communicate any changes when we are able to do so.”
A Highland Council spokesman said: “Schools continue to assess the suitability of space to reflect the individual layout of each building.”