COVID-19 School and Early Years Update

Schools & Early Years Update

Updated 18 April 2022

Coronavirus (Covid-19): Routine Protective Measures Guidance for Schools

Information for Parents and Carers

The Scottish Government has issued non-statutory guidance on reducing the risks of Coronavirus (Covid-19) in schools and early learning and childcare services.   This guidance sets out routine protective measures that will be in place to manage Covid-19 effectively.  These routine measure come into effect across the country from Monday 18 April and will be introduced in educational establishments across East Dunbartonshire from Tuesday 19 April.  The full guidance can be found here:

Coronavirus (Covid-19): guidance on reducing the risks in schools

Coronavirus (Covid-19): early learning and childcare services

Schools and centres will continue to undertake risk assessments, to ensure that routine measures are implemented, reviewed and adapted, as required.  Establishments will continue to take a balanced approach, considering every appropriate step to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children, young people and staff. 

Routine Protective Measures

Test and Protect

It was confirmed earlier this month that people with Covid-19 symptoms will no longer be asked to take lateral flow tests from 18 April.  This change forms part of the wider Test and Protect Transition Plan, which sets out how testing will become more targeted, with the aim of reducing serious harm from Covid-19.

The changes to Test and Protect mean that from 18 April:

  • Most people without symptoms will no longer be asked to take Covid-19 tests.
  • Free lateral flow test devices (LFDs) for the purpose of twice weekly routine testing will no longer be available for the general population, but will continue to be free for specific purposes such as clinical and social care.
  • Until the end of April, people with symptoms should still isolate and get a PCR test.
  • Vaccinated close contacts of someone with Covid-19 should continue to test daily for seven days with lateral flow tests.
  • People who have symptoms of Covid-19 (new continuous cough, fever/temperature and/or loss of taste or smell) will still be able to book PCR tests in the usual way until the 30 April.  From that date, test sites will close and people with symptoms will no longer require a test.
  • The Public Health advice for people who feel unwell will be to stay home until they feel better, to reduce the risk of infecting other people.

NHS Letters

Parents and Carers will no longer receive information letters from the NHS to advise that their child may have been a close contact of a person with Covid-19.   However, schools and centres will continue to share reminders and updates as part of routine communication in newsletters etc.

Outbreak Management

Schools and centres are considered to be low risk settings for outbreak management, due to the relatively lower vulnerability of children to harm arising from Covid-19 infection, and the high vaccination coverage of the working age adult population. Going forward, if there is an outbreak of Covid-19, the setting will be supported to manage this by the Local Authority and Public Health, as required. 

Ventilation

In line with Government requirements, all educational establishments have access to CO2 and temperature monitoring, along with well-established procedures and routines in place to maximise natural and mechanical ventilation.

Hygiene

Schools and centres will continue to support children and young people to maintain good hand and respiratory hygiene.  Enhanced environmental cleaning will remain in place as part of routine protective measures.

Face Coverings

The legal requirement to wear a face covering in most indoor places and on public transport is due to be replaced with general safety guidance for people who are managing a workplace or organisation.  In practice, this means that the wearing of face coverings will not be mandatory, but it will remain encouraged in indoor communal areas in line with wider workplace guidance.  

In addition, face coverings will not be required in classrooms, including for learners in the senior phase sitting exams.  Any individual who wishes to wear a face covering in school will continue to be supported to do so.

Physical Distancing – Keeping a Safe Distance

Within routine protective measures, physical distancing is now known as “keeping a safe distance”.  In keeping with wider society, physical distancing will no longer be required in schools or on dedicated school transport.  However, schools and centres will continue to take a cautious approach and to encourage personal responsibility, recognising that it is safer to keep a distance from other people.

Scottish Child Payment (Bridging Payments)

The Scottish Child Payment Bridging Payments bring together the COVID hardship payments and the family Pandemic Payment into one payment, made four times a year.

These payments are available for each child who gets free school meals because of low income.

We will continue to make the payment for all those children in Early Years who are entitled to free school meals through the eligibility criteria, but not those who receive the universal provision.

If you have younger children, you may also be eligible for the Scottish Child Payment. If you have not already done so, you can find out more including details of how to apply on the Scottish Child Payment page on mygov.scot website

If the child or young person has already applied and been in receipt of School Clothing Grant payment for the 2021-2022 academic year, there is no need to re-apply.

The payments will be made automatically by bank transfer to the account we currently have on file.

If your bank details have changed since you received a previous payment, please contact the Council as soon as possible: either phone 0300 1234510 or email customerservices@eastdunbarton.gov.uk
If your child or young person is not currently in receipt of free school meals but may be eligible, you can still apply here. 

You might also get the payment if you’re experiencing financial hardship. For example, if:

  • You’re waiting for your first Universal Credit payment
  • Your immigration status means you cannot get help from the government

Summer 2022 Payments

The Scottish Child Payment Bridging Payment is available to eligible school age children and young people awarded free school meals for the 2021/2022 academic year, excluding the universal free school meal provision. If you have not already done so, please ensure you submit your application for the current academic year by 23 June 2022 to qualify.

Parents of all eligible children and young people who apply for free school meals before 23 June 2022, and qualify, will receive the Summer Scottish Child Payment Bridging Payment.

Parents of all eligible children and young people who have applied and have been approved before 30 May 2022 will receive their payment by 23 June 2022.

Parents of all eligible children and young people who apply after 30 May 2022 and before the deadline of 23 June 2022, will receive their payment by the end of July 2022.

This payment will consist of the £130 Scottish Child Bridging Payment and the Free School Meal Payment to cover the school summer holiday period, this will be a total one off  payment of £282 per eligible child to cover the summer 2022 holiday period. 
 

Easter 2022 Payments

The Easter Scottish Child Payment Bridging Payment is available to eligible school age children and young people awarded free school meals for the 2021/2022 academic year, excluding the universal free school meal provision. If you have not already done so, please ensure you submit your application for the new academic year by 1 April 2022 to qualify.

Parents of all eligible children and young people who apply for free school meals before 1 April 2022, and qualify, will receive an Easter family pandemic payment and Easter Free School Meal Payment.

Parents of all eligible children and young people who have applied and have been approved before 28 February 2022 will receive their payment by 2nd April 2022, this will include the Easter Free School Meal Payment.

Parents of all eligible children and young people who apply after 28 February 2022 and before the deadline of 1 April 2022, will receive their payment by the end of April 2022, this will include the Easter Free School Meal Payment.

December Payment Dates 2021/22

The winter pandemic support payment is available to eligible school age children and young people awarded free school meals for the 2021/2022 academic year. Please ensure you submit your application for the new academic year to qualify.

Parents of all eligible children and young people who apply for and are awarded free school meals before 22 December 2021 will receive a winter family pandemic payment.

Parents of all eligible children and young people who apply before 30 November 2021 will receive their payment by 22 December 2021.

Parents of all eligible children and young people who apply after 30 November 2021 and before the deadline of 22 December 2021, will receive their payment by the end of January 2022.

Payment Dates 2022

In 2022, four equal payments of £130 will be made at Easter, Summer, October and Christmas. The payments will be made in line with the start of the school holidays.

Temporary Restrictions Fund for Childcare Providers

Between February and May 2021, the Scottish Government ran a Temporary Restrictions Fund for childcare providers. It aimed to support the following groups affected by COVID-19 restrictions:

·    Providers of daycare for children (operating at any registered capacity)
·    Childminders currently providing childcare to 12 or more children
·    Out of school care providers

There were three rounds, with the third and final round closing on 4 May 2021. Councils operated the fund for the Scottish Government with providers having to register and apply on the bisaccount.Scot website .