Returning to School Safely

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2nd Vaccine Dose & Asymptomatic Testing

Families are being urged to get young people aged 12-15 their second dose of the COVID vaccine as early as possible in the New Year, while secondary pupils are being advised to take at-home COVID-19 tests before they return to school to limit the spread of Omicron.

Drop-in vaccination sessions will be available for this age group from today, January 3rd 2022, while those who have already been given a date for their second jag can call the 0800 030 8013 helpline to bring their appointment forward and get protection from the virus earlier.

Following JCVI advice, this age group can get their second vaccination from 12 weeks after their first dose. NHS Inform and local health board websites will provide further details of where drop-in sessions are available in each area.

The guidance on testing is that secondary pupils without symptoms should do a lateral flow device (LFD) test the night before, or on the morning of, the return to classes following the festive break. After that, testing should be done twice weekly.

Staff in schools and early learning and childcare settings should follow the same advice. All LFD test results – positive, negative or void – should be recorded via the online portal.

Anyone who receives a positive LFD test result, those with symptoms, or those identified as close contacts should immediately self-isolate and book a PCR test.

– Graeme:

Vaccination and testing together are of critical importance to minimising the disruption of Omicron to young people’s education in the new year – an utmost priority of this Scottish Government.

I would strongly encourage families across Angus to get 12-15 year olds vaccinated with their second dose at the earliest opportunity, with NHS Tayside now having opened drop-in clinics.

I would further stress the importance of testing before the return to school and on a regular basis going forward – let’s all work together to get through this an onto a brighter 2022.

– Health Secretary, Humza Yousaf

Additional vaccinator capacity across Scotland means we are now in a position to offer second doses to the 12-15 age group earlier than previously planned. Eligible young people can get their second doses from next week, and before they return to school in many cases. I would urge them to take up the offer as early as they can, to receive greater protection from the virus.

The festive season saw a major effort to get adults boosted by the bells. But we need to keep up momentum and make sure everyone is protected from the virus, particularly with the emergence of the new Omicron variant.

– Education Secretary, Shirley-Anne Somerville

It is our absolute priority to keep schools safely open and minimise further disruption to learning. To achieve that, we need the help of the whole school community. Taking lateral flow tests before returning to school, and continuing to test regularly will help prevent outbreaks of the virus.

We are grateful to schools for their continued efforts to stress the importance of asymptomatic testing. Parents of secondary pupils can also help by encouraging their children to make testing part of their weekly routine – and, importantly, to report all results online, whether positive, negative or void.

Safety guidance for schools was updated in December in light of Omicron and it is crucial that all the mitigations are strictly followed. These include physical distancing, one-way systems and the correct use of face coverings.

By testing regularly and following the mitigations, pupils and staff can all play their part in keeping themselves, their families and their schools safe.

– Chief Medical Officer, Professor Sir Gregor Smith

With Omicron spreading so rapidly, it is vital that we all do what we can to limit its transmission. Rapid lateral flow testing helps us to find infectious cases that might otherwise have been missed, as around one in three people with COVID-19 does not show classic symptoms.

That’s why it is really important that secondary pupils and school and early learning and childcare staff take lateral flow tests before they return to classes and settings after the break, and that they keep testing regularly throughout term.

They should also take LFD tests before they meet up with others outside of school or ELC settings.

Pupils and staff who are eligible for vaccination should get their jags, and, where appropriate, boosters as soon as they can to receive greater protection from the virus.

Those aged 12-15 are being offered second doses of the vaccine from this week and I would urge them to take up the offer. Drop-in sessions will be available for this age group from today (January 3 2022), while those who have already been given a date for their second jag can call a helpline to bring their appointment forward and get protection from the virus earlier.

Background

If parents or pupils haven’t already been provided with LFD kits by their schools, they can be accessed in a range of different ways before returning to school. Information on accessing test kits

Anyone under the age of 18 who has previously tested positive for COVID must wait 12 weeks from infection to be given their second dose

Guidance on reducing COVID risks in schools

Guidance on reducing COVID risks in ELC services

Guidance on reducing COVID risks in school age childcare services

Guidance on reducing COVID in settings in childminder services