Highland Council to outline Covid testing and other details of phased return to schools in letter
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Parents and senior phase pupils will receive letters this week giving more information about the return of some pupils to Highland schools next week.
Yesterday Nicola Sturgeon announced that P1-P3 pupils, those in early learning and childcare (ELC) and a limited number of senior pupils, who will return for essential practical activities for certification, would go back to classes from Monday.
Highland Council says a lot of progress has already been made towards the planned return and letters will be issued to explain the phased return.
It says that further guidance and clarification received from the Scottish Government will be reviewed by officers and will inform decisions for the return of pupils from applicable groups, as planned, on February 22.
Cllr John Finlayson, chairman of the council’s education committee, said: “In-school learning is a vitally important element of the mental and physical wellbeing of all our young people and I am delighted that the phased return can take place from next week as planned.
"In time, as testing continues and the vaccination rollout progresses, I hope that more of our young people are able to make a similar return to school in the coming weeks.”
Letters will also set out arrangements for the introduction of a Covid-19 asymptomatic testing programme, directed and led by Scottish Government advice, for those working in or attending Highland schools from next week.
Lateral Flow Device (LFD) testing kits have begun to be delivered to schools in Highland and head teachers have attended briefing sessions outlining the initial arrangements for testing to support the phased return to school.
The letters will contain the latest information and guidance to school staff, parents and pupils on the testing programme, along with support on how to carry out the tests. For those who choose to participate in the testing programme, LFD kits will be distributed by schools directly from Monday.
LFD tests have been selected for the programme because they do not require laboratory processing and can provide a quick result in around 30 minutes.
The programme has been designed to complement and run in parallel with other protective measures to ensure that the risks for staff, children and young people attending Highland schools are minimised as far as possible.
In addition, the scheme will also help to identify Covid-positive asymptomatic individuals in school environments at the earliest possible opportunity to ensure that they and their close contacts can self isolate immediately, therefore minimising the likelihood of them passing on the virus.