Children’s Services strengthens COVID-19 mitigations as end of term approaches 

Facemask and school pencils

Shetland Islands Council is strengthening the mitigations currently in place in school and early learning settings, reintroducing measures which had been recently relaxed, before the end of this term.

All staff, children and young people are being reminded to adhere to a number of measures to limit the potential spread of COVID-19.  These include:
•    Updating and regularly reviewing school risk assessments and individual risk assessments for staff, children and young people that require them;
•    The 2 metre physical distancing requirements for all staff in settings;
•    The use of face coverings for school staff and secondary pupils;
•    The use of hand sanitisers throughout the school day;
•    Daily hand sanitisation for all children and young people on arrival at school;
•    One way systems throughout schools;
•    Enhanced daily cleaning during the school day and further cleaning undertaken daily at the end of each day;
•    Parents/carers continuing to be advised to avoid contact with other parents, children and young people at the school entrance, on the way to school, and after school as well as wearing face coverings;
•    Careful monitoring to ensure the appropriate level of ventilation and adequate air flow throughout the building with CO2 monitors deployed, monitoring the level of CO2, and temperature in classrooms; and
•    Access to asymptomatic, lateral flow, testing kits for all school and early learning and childcare staff and secondary aged learners.
Further to this, between Monday 20th December and Friday 14th January, the service has decided to:
•    Re-introduce the one setting per day principle for all school and early learning and childcare staff;
•    Suspend face-to-face parents’ evenings planned between those dates;
•    Revert to essential visitors to all schools and early learning and childcare settings.
Essential visitors, for example educational psychologists and outreach staff, allied health professionals, nurses, social workers, youth workers, Skills Development Scotland Advisors, and those providing therapeutic support, will be able to continue to visit schools, but for essential purposes only, and under the appropriate mitigations. 
All these measures align with the national guidance on reducing the risks of Covid-19 in schools. 

George Smith chairs the Council’s Education and Families Committee:  “It is important to keep our schools and early learning settings open, but this must be done in a safe way for children, young people and staff. These mitigations are important and proportionate at this time and will be kept under review as more becomes known about the impact of the Omicron variant.”

Published: 16th December 2021