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Education / SIC reminds parents and employers that the ‘safest place for children is at home’

PARENTS and employers are being asked to do what they can to support the in-school provision for key workers’ children amid continued evidence of community transmission of Covid in Shetland. 

Shetland Islands Council’s children services director Helen Budge has asked parents to consider whether the “need for their child to attend school is critical – whether, for example, permitted informal childcare would be available – and for employers to do all they can to support their staff to work from home wherever possible”.

Schools across Scotland are closed to the majority of children until at least the start of February, with pupils undertaking remote learning.

Children of key workers and vulnerable bairns can access in-school learning.

The council said there has been a 109 per cent increase in the number of applications for children of key workers compared to during last year’s lockdown, with some schools seeing up to half of their school roll being allocated a place.

Parents and carers of children invited into school because of their support needs will receive a letter next week from the director of children’s services outlining changes to their arrangements across the rest of the time that school buildings are closed.

Budge said: “It is obviously important that we support key workers.

“The government defines these within three categories, with priority for those directly involved in supporting the response to Covid, including health, care, and emergency or critical provision.

“However, the third category is more loosely defined, and it may be that parents are applying for their child to attend school without exploring all other childcare options.

“At the moment, the safest place for children is at home. The government has told us that we need to keep the numbers in school to an absolute minimum, to prevent transmission of infection.”

Scottish Parliament election, 6 May 2021