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Aberdeen City Council’s back-to-school plan confirms masks, one-way systems and distancing will remain

Aberdeen City Council headquarters Marischal College
Aberdeen City Council headquarters Marischal College

Aberdeen City Council has laid out its plans for pupils returning to school after the summer break.

In a letter sent out to all parents and carers today, the local authority says Covid control measures will initially remain the same as last term.

Based on the latest government guidelines, secondary school pupils will need to wear face coverings on school transport and in school when they return on August 17, until at least the end of September.

Primary children, however, will no longer be required to wear face coverings when they are using school transport.

One-way systems in school buildings, physical distancing and staggered entries and departures will remain in place alongside enhanced cleaning.

The letter adds that due to changes to contact tracing, schools will be able to relax some arrangements put in place to maintain “bubbles”.

Parents and carers will be updated again at the end of September following the publication of new national guidance.

Continue testing

The council is encouraging all school staff and pupils to continue testing with lateral flow tests twice a week, starting prior to the beginning of term.

Chief education officer Eleanor Sheppard writes: “Ideally, tests would be taken on Wednesday and Sunday evenings, ready for the first day of school.

“If involved in the programme please make sure that you record your results online,
whether positive, negative or void.”

It also offers guidance on where pupils can access test kits, including ordering online and collecting from a test site.

Changes to self-isolation

During a statement on Tuesday, Nicola Sturgeon confirmed changes to self-isolation arrangements from August 9.

From the start of term, whole classes will no longer have to self-isolate for 10 days if one person tests positive for Covid.

Instead, just those who are believed to be at the highest risk of being exposed to the infection will have to isolate and take a PCR test. If the pupil then tests negative they will be able to return to school.

Any pupils who test positive or display symptoms will still be asked to self-isolate for 10 days.

Ms Sheppard adds: “Families will still be advised of positive cases in their child’s class and we ask that you remain vigilant to the symptoms of Covid in order to limit any risk to our children and young people.”

Vaccine roll-out

Some school-aged children with severe neuro-disabilities, Down’s Syndrome, underlying conditions resulting in immunosuppression, and those with profound and multiple learning disabilities may be eligible to receive the vaccine “very soon”.

The letter confirms that those aged 12-15 who are eligible for the Covid vaccine will be invited to receive their first dose from Monday, August 9.

These vaccination appointments will be at Orchard Brae School.

GP records have been used to identify those who will be offered the vaccination at this stage.

Parents and carers who do not receive an invitation by the start of term, but believe their child is eligible, should contact the support line on 0800 0304 713.

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