On 24 March 2021, the Scottish Government published Guidance on reducing the risks from COVID-19 in schools effective from 12 April 2021.
This guidance will be updated further from 26 April 2021, when as part of the Scottish Government's Strategic Framework for the easing of restrictions, all local authorities return to the levels approach.
For Falkirk this means:
From Monday 19 April
- all pupils will return to early years establishments and schools full-time
- pupils will continue to learn together in groupings wherever possible
- school transport will operate in line with national and local guidance
From Monday 26 April
Subject to Scottish Government's Strategic Framework updated guidance and advice from the Director of Forth Valley Public Health, the following additional service provisions will resume:
- full school meal service
- breakfast clubs
- school lets
- out of school childcare clubs based in schools
Adopting a precautionary approach
It is imperative that schools continue to take a precautionary approach which balances the importance of the educational and developmental wellbeing of our young people against the safety and wellbeing of children, young people and staff in schools.
We work in partnership with Forth Valley Public Health to ensure our plans for 19 April are founded on sensible and measured approaches which balance the need for continued caution with the desire to press on with as normal schooling as possible.
All of the "easing" remains conditional on continued success with virus suppression and that is by no means guaranteed so things may yet change before mid-April.
Schools will update and implement reasonable and proportionate operational control measures to support and sustain the full time return to learning in school for all pupils in Falkirk.
If children/young people are displaying COVID-19 symptoms
It is essential that children and young people do not attend school if they are displaying symptoms of COVID-19.
Everyone who develops symptoms of COVID-19 – a new, continuous cough; fever or loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste - should self-isolate straight away, stay at home and arrange a test via the appropriate method.
Face coverings for pupils
Are mandatory for all secondary aged pupils (S1-S6) and must be worn at school.
All pupils must wear face coverings on school transport.
Parental access to schools
Parents are reminded to ensure 2m physical distancing when dropping off or collecting children from school and to wear a face covering.
Parents are also reminded that they should not access schools without a prior appointment.
COVID-19 asymptomatic testing programme for secondary pupils
Along with the other protective measures we are implementing to keep our school community safe, regular testing of staff and all secondary pupils will help to further reduce risks for staff and children and young people in our schools.
Testing is voluntary. No-one who is otherwise permitted to come to school will be prevented from doing so just because they do not wish to participate. However, we are strongly encouraging all senior phase pupils who are attending school to participate wherever possible.
The current restricted school meals service available to all pupils will continue from 19 April 2021. Resumption of a full meal service is under consideration from 26 April 2021 subject to continued success with virus suppression.
School transport will operate as normal from 19 April 2021.