Back to school is not yet back to normal. Here’s all you need to know about the new safety guidance from the Scottish Government.
While we’ve all celebrated a small taste of freedom, pupils going back to school will still have to follow some restrictions for at least the first six weeks of term.
Here’s the lowdown on the new national guidance.
Will pupils still need to wear masks?
Secondary school pupils should still wear masks at all times, but this will be reviewed after six weeks. As before, masks are not required for pupils in primary school.
Will teachers and adult staff wear masks?
All adults in primary schools should wear masks in communal spaces and when moving around the building. Masks should also be worn where physical distancing is not possible. In secondary schools all adults are required to wear masks.
Is physical distancing still recommended?
Physical distancing of at least 1m between adults remains in place, and also between adults and children. Children do not have to keep socially distanced from each other – but it is encouraged for secondary school pupils. For primary school pupils, the ‘bubble’ system has been scrapped.
Are pupils getting PE again?
Some great news for back to school. Under new guidance, PE, drama and dance classes are back on. However, many schools are asking pupils not to change into gym clothes to help with social distancing. Contact your school for individual advice.
How often are pupils washing their hands?
The guidance around hygiene remains in place. Pupils should wash their hands with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds when they arrive at school, before and after eating, after going to the toilet, and at regular times throughout the day. Hand gel is not encouraged for children under five and soap and water is always preferred.
Will there still be staggered drop-off and pick-up times?
Yes, for now. Schools will stick to many safety measures such as one-way systems and staggered start and finish times to help avoid crowds building. Large assemblies will also not take place. This guidance will be reviewed six weeks after back to school.
Can adults now visit the school?
Adults still can’t visit schools or enter the playground in most circumstances. However, if absolutely necessary schools will sometimes allow parents to help Primary 1 pupils settle in the classroom. Meanwhile the majority of school trips are still on hold.
Are schools still ventilated and deep cleaned?
Yes, deep cleaning and ventilation remains in place at all schools, and councils will also be asked to monitor carbon dioxide levels more closely.
What are the rules for school buses?
For at least the first six weeks of term, pupils over 12 travelling on school buses should still wear masks.
What if my child is shielding?
Under new guidance, all children who were shielding should now come back to school unless their doctor advises not to.
What should I do if my child has symptoms or we get ‘pinged’?
It’s still essential to look out for symptoms of Covid-19. However, more targeted contact tracing has put an end to entire classes being sent home. Children under five will not have to isolate unless they have symptoms, and they don’t have to take a PCR test, although this is encouraged. Young people aged five to 17 can end their isolation when they get a negative PCR result, as long as they don’t have symptoms.
Are there any new rules in the guidance?
All schools will be asked to encourage their communities to get vaccinated. Information on arranging tests and vaccinations can be found on the NHS Inform website.
When will back to school guidance be reviewed?
The restrictions around mask wearing in secondary schools, deep cleaning, staggered start/finish times and school transport will all be reviewed in six weeks’ time. Other safety measures remain in place for now but it’s safe to say we are one step closer to normal.