Face masks will stay but bubbles and isolation of whole classes will go when children start returning to school next week.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon outlined some of the key changes to Covid guidance for schools as she confirmed the further easing of restrictions in Scotland in her latest briefing on Tuesday.
The main changes she announced were:
- Children aged 12 and over will still have to wear face coverings in school for at least the next six weeks
- Whole classes will no longer be required to isolate, with a more targeted approach to identifying close contacts
- Those aged five to 17 identified as close contacts will have to take a PCR test and can end their isolation if negative
- Secondary school pupils and school staff will be asked to take a lateral flow test before returning to school, then twice weekly
- All schools must have access to CO2 monitors to identify necessary ventilation improvements before the October holidays
- An additional £10 million has been granted to councils to aid this ventilation work
- Most other mitigations – including staff distancing of one metre between each other and pupils – will remain for at least six weeks of the new term
- Schools to encourage staff to take up vaccine offer
- All drama, music, PE and dance activity permitted indoors and outdoors.
The Covid school rules arrived just eight days before pupils return to schools in Angus, the first area to resume classes in Scotland after the summer holidays. Dundee pupils go back on August 17 and Fife and Perthshire youngsters return on August 18.
Ms Sturgeon said the new isolation requirement would result in fewer pupils missing school and for shorter periods.
She also said ventilation was one of the most important ways to reduce the risk of virus transmission and improving it will be vital to ensure schools are as safe as possible.
Other measures to stay for at least the first six weeks of term include:
- enhanced cleaning
- hand sanitising
- one-way systems
- drop-off and pick-up restrictions
- staggering start/finish and break/lunch times
- no assemblies
- visitor restrictions – but parents permitted on school premises with agreement of school where it is strictly necessary to support pupils, eg. where there are concerns about P1 transition.