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Education / Council tightens Covid measures in schools and early learning

COVID mitigations are being strengthened in local schools and early learning settings, Shetland Islands Council has confirmed.

This includes reverting to essential visitors only from Monday (20 December) to 14 January, while during this time a “one setting per day” principle is being reintroduced for staff.

It comes after the more transmissible new Covid variant Omicron was detected in Shetland.

There will be the reintroduction of some measures, which had been recently relaxed, ahead of the end of term on Tuesday (21 December).

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 two 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 (20 December) and Friday 14 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, such as 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 only for essential purposes only and under the appropriate mitigations.

The council said all these measures align with the national guidance, which can be found here.

Shetland Islands Council’s education and families committee chairman George Smith said: “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.”

Meanwhile Shetland Library said it is not going ahead with its weekly Bookbug session for young children at Mareel today (Thursday) due to the Covid situation.

Yesterday (Wednesday) saw a record number of Covid cases confirmed in the UK – but warnings were made that more records will be broken as Omicron spreads across the country.