Phased return arrangements
The Scottish Government has confirmed the following arrangements for the phased return of young people to school from 22 February 2021:
- Early Learning and Childcare, P1, P2 and P3 pupils return full time on Monday 22 February
- Where pupils are in composite classes spanning beyond P1-P3, only pupils in these three year groups should attend
- Very limited S4, S5 and S6 pupils have been asked to attend school to complete practical work essential for national qualifications, on a part-time basis
- For senior pupils, 2m social distancing will apply at all times, including on school transport, and face coverings must be worn at all times on school transport and within school buildings
- All other pupils, with the exception of invited children and those of key workers, will continue with remote learning
- A second phase of the return of pupils to school will be outlined in two weeks’ time by the Scottish Government, however it is unlikely that this will be implemented before 15 March.
We are following the Scottish Government’s guidance in respect of the phased reopening of schools and all necessary measures remain in place, as they were pre-Christmas, to ensure that schools are as safe as possible for young people and staff.
In all our local arrangements our focus has been on meeting the needs of our young people as best we can within the national framework.
Transport arrangements for P1-P3 pupils
Arrangements for P1-P3 pupils who are eligible for free school transport are being finalised and schools will confirm the details to parents directly before the end of the weekend.
Please note that the route number and timing of pick-up/drop-off may be slightly different to normal. Pick-up/drop-off locations are unchanged.
Transport for invited children will continue to be provided.
Arrangements for S4-S6 pupils attending school
Secondary schools have communicated directly with those senior pupils being invited into school to undertake practical work from 22 February.
This is purely to enable the completion of practical coursework and is not being assessed. Any assessments will follow in due course.
Information on transport for those eligible and who have booked places will be communicated by schools directly before the end of the weekend.
Please note that social distancing is being applied on school transport for secondary school pupils and must be adhered to. Face coverings must also be worn at all time, unless the pupil is exempt.
Transport of pupils with additional support needs
Due to the need for social distancing for senior pupils on all school transport, some amendments are being made to transport arrangements for pupils with additional support needs where this would normally be shared.
Any parents affected by these changes will be contacted directly.
From 22 February, those senior pupils attending secondary school will be encouraged to take part in the COVID-testing programme, with at-home test kits to be provided.
These twice-weekly tests will be made available to all senior pupils once they return to school.
All school and Early Learning and Childcare staff and those employed to provide or support school transport will also be encouraged to take part in the testing programme.
Further information and consent forms will be provided to pupils on their first day in school, or before electronically where possible.
Scottish Borders' key worker and invited children arrangements
Schools are also still open for children of key workers and other invited children
Key worker criteria
We apply the same key worker criteria as we did between March and August 2020.
Access to childcare and schools will be provided where all adults in the household are key workers and are working on relevant days and no alternative childcare is available.
Any young person who attended childcare hubs during between March and August to receive welfare support and who needs this can attend and should have been booked through the online system.
All Enhanced Provisions are open as normal for all pupils.
All transport for pupils accessing these facilities will run as normal.
Childminders and informal childcare
Childminders and informal childcare arrangements can continue for all families.
Pupils previously shielding
The Scottish Government advice is that children and young people who are on the shielding list should not attend school, college or regulated childcare services such as nurseries.
A separate page with FAQs is available.