All West Lothian schools and Early Learning and Childcare settings will re-open to pupils from Wednesday 12 August, with arrangements in place to ensure safety for both pupils and staff.
Education Executive have approved the plan to support a safe return to school for all children, young people and staff, based on national guidance from the Scottish Government using latest scientific advice.
The plan is expected to cost almost £2 million, excluding further additional teaching costs. Blended learning remains the back-up option if infection rates start to rise once more.
Executive councillor for education David Dodds said: "The wellbeing of West Lothian children and staff is our main focus, and returning to full-time education in August will have a positive impact in terms of wellbeing, educational progress and attainment.
"There will be a number of changes to normal school life to keep everyone safe and ensure risks associated with Covid-19 are managed. Thanks to all the staff who have been working tirelessly so this can happen, with many coming into work during the holiday period.
"Individual risk assessments have been carried out for each school, who will be in contact with their community to advise of local arrangements in place, such as staggered start times, breakfast club arrangements etc.
"Recovery plans are in place to help address lost learning and support the mental health and wellbeing of pupils."
Key points for parent/carers from the re-opening plan include:
- No pupils or staff should attend school if they show any of the main symptoms of Covid-19, when they should follow the Test and Protect procedures. The most common symptoms are a new continuous cough, fever/high temperature and loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste.
- Physical distancing and face coverings for pupils will not normally be required in school or on dedicated school transport.
- Secondary schools will encourage distancing where possible, especially with senior pupils as an additional precautionary measure.
- Adults working in schools, such as teachers, should maintain two metres distancing from each other and pupils, and wear face coverings when this is not possible, such as for extended face-to-face interactions.
- Any pupil or staff member who wishes to wear a face covering can do so.
- Enhanced hygiene measures will be in places such as hand washing and cleaning in schools will take place to reduce the risk of transmission.
- Public health messages, such as avoiding touching your face or discouraging contact such as hand greets and hugs, will be reinforced.
- Children will be encouraged to travel to school by foot, bike or scooter where possible.
- Mitigation measures such as hand sanitising, more ventilation and improved cleaning regimes will be used to minimise risk.
- Pupils will be kept in the same groups where possible and large gatherings of children in schools, such as assemblies, will be avoided. More outdoor activities are planned.
- Pupils who are clinically vulnerable will be able to return to school unless they receive specific medical advice not do so.
- Requests for additional protections will be supported where possible for Black and Ethnic Minority pupils and staff due to evidence of increased risk.
- Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) settings will resume from 12 August offering all eligible children up to 1,000 hours over 50 weeks.
- Individual plans will be put in place for Additional Support Needs (ASN) pupils based on their individual needs.
- School meals will be served as normal, except lunch and break times will be staggered to minimise contact between groups of pupils. Pupils can bring in their own snacks and lunches from home. All pupils will stay on campus over lunches unless a parent/carer requests they return home.
- Breakfast clubs will resume for eligible pupils, with each school confirming their local arrangements.