Coronavirus (COVID-19) parents information

We would like to reassure you that the situation regarding COVID-19 is being monitored very closely in the Borders, both by NHS Borders from a clinical perspective and ourselves with our responsibility to our children, young people, staff and the wider community.

  • NHS Borders is the lead agency locally, led by the Joint Director of Public Health and fully supported by us.    
  • Overall, the position is being co-ordinated by a range of professionals across Scotland, the UK and beyond. This includes Scottish Government, Health Protection Scotland and NHS24.

Public information and advice

General advice

How serious is COVID-19?

  • COVID-19 can cause flu-like symptoms, including fever, cough and difficulty breathing.
  • The infection is not serious for most people, including children.
  • There is currently no vaccine.
  • Most people get better with enough rest, water to drink and medicine for pain.

How likely is someone to catch COVID-19?

  • You can only catch it if you have been close to a person who has the virus.
  • The chance of being in contact with the virus is currently low in the UK.
  • If you have travelled to areas where many people are infected, your chance of catching the virus is higher i.e. China, Italy or other affected area

How can I stop the virus spreading?

The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus and practice good respiratory and hand hygiene:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If handwashing facilities are not available, use an alcohol based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60 per cent alcohol.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Advice for parents and carers of school children 

  • All schools, early learning and childcare settings and other educational settings have been issued with detailed guidance by Health Protection Scotland.
  • This includes the latest advice on a range issues including how we can help prevent the spread of respiratory infections and what we should do if someone confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19 has been in a school or other educational setting.
  • If this should happen, the Health Protection Team at NHS Borders would work with us and school staff to manage the situation. They would also make any decisions around potential school closures under guidance from the Scottish Government.
  • All education settings are being asked to be particularly vigilant about Infection control procedures. It is recommended that children and young people, staff and visitors wash their hands:
    • Before leaving home
    • On arrival at school/setting
    • After using the toilet
    • After breaks and sporting activities
    • Before food preparation
    • Before eating any food, including snacks
    • Before leaving school/setting.

What should a pupil who becomes unwell do?

  • Any pupil who has returned from a Category 1 risk area for COVID-19 within the last 14 days should self-isolate and not attend education for 14 days, even if they feel well. They, or their parent/carer, should also contact their GP, NHS24 (111) or the Helpline 0800 028 2816. Information about affected areas is available on the Health Protection Scotland website
  • Any pupil who thinks they have been in contact with someone infected with COVID-19 should not attend education even if they are well, but should first contact their GP or NHS24 (111) for further assessment and advice.
  • Parents and carers of any pupil who fits either of the above categories should contact their school’s headteacher.
  • The above guidelines apply to all of our teaching and other staff.

What about school trips and outings?

  • Advice and guidance about the procedure to be followed about school trips and outings will be provided by the Scottish Government.
  • Details of all educational trips and residentials being planned over the coming months have been gathered to help us plan for any potential impacts.

Will exams be postponed?

The exam period is a very important time for senior pupils across Scotland and the SQA is working closely with Scottish Government to plan for any potential impacts.

Advice for fostercarers

The information provided in this page should be followed by fostercarers who have children and young people in their care who are attending school. They should contact the Family Placement Team directly should they have any additional queries or concerns.

Summary

  • We fully appreciate that this is a difficult situation for individuals and families across the country, but would like to reassure you that our priority is to support the health and wellbeing of our children, young people and minimise any disruption to their education.
  • We will keep you updated with any further relevant information, as well as any other messages that NHS Borders or the Scottish Government provide.