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Education / SIC reassures parents over extension of remote learning

MORE information on changes to school and childcare arrangements will be provided to parents, carers and staff in Shetland, with education officials keen to give “reassurance and support” around remote learning for children.

Schools in Shetland will now remain closed to the majority of children until 1 February following an announcement from first minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday (Monday), with learning taking place online instead.

It comes amid a rise in Covid cases across the country, although Shetland and other island areas are to remain in level three while the rest of the country goes into lockdown.

Previously schools in Scotland were to be closed to most pupils through to 18 January, with the exception of children of key workers and vulnerable children.

All key worker applications that were made locally for children to attend school and early learning and childcare settings to 15 January have been reviewed, and parents and carers have been notified of the outcome.

Shetland Islands Council (SIC) said the “vast majority of key worker applications have resulted in places being approved, following locally established criteria for determining eligibility, which is in line with national guidance in this area”.

Children’s services will be in touch again with parents and carers who are key workers to clarify the period of school closure from 18 to 29 January.

Parents and carers of children who have been identified as benefitting from being in school for additional support have also received letters from children’s services, prior to the festive break.

Chairman of the SIC’s education and families committee councillor George Smith said: “A huge amount of work has gone into preparing for the start of the new term and the enforced period of remote learning, and schools are ready to support all their children and young people and parents at this challenging time.

“The health and safety of all staff that are working in schools and nursery settings, supporting children of key workers and vulnerable children, will continue to be paramount to our planning.

“I cannot thank school staff enough for all that they have done throughout the pandemic and all that they will continue to do in these very challenging times.

“I am also delighted about how the key worker process has been managed by staff in children’s services and the support being offered to vulnerable children.”