The advice this week from the Scottish Government continues to be to Stay at Home to Protect yourselves and others.
Published on Thursday 21st of May was the plan to phase out of lockdown hopefully from Thursday 28th of May.
It was further announced that schools in Scotland will return with a ‘blended model’ of educational delivery on 11th of August.
All of this depends on the R number – the rate of transmission of Covid19 remaining well below 1. It is estimated that for three weeks it has been between 0.7 and 1.0. This is primarily due to Scotland being in lockdown for 9 weeks which has prevented onward transmission of the virus.
Education and Childcare
It is hoped that more children will be able to access child care and in order to aid this the Scottish Government has relaxed the guidance around funding to local authorities focussed on education and childcare.
The funding relaxations are as follows:
- Relax current guidance on Pupil Equity Funding in order that headteachers can support our most vulnerable children
- Apply flexibility to schools and Local Authorities in receipt of Challenge Authority and Schools’ Programme funding
- Relax grant conditions in respect of funding for Regional Improvement Collaboratives, allowing resources linked to this initiative to be repurposed to the Covid-19 response
- Allow Local Authorities to deploy early learning and childcare funding flexibly to deliver critical provision for children and families.
The aim is that local authority funding will be targeted at those families and children most in need. The lockdown limitations of Covid19 have hit those families on low incomes the hardest.
The Scottish Government is putting £9 million of funding for 25,000 laptops or tablets – with internet access provided – for disadvantaged children as part of the first phase of provision to support learning outside school.
Maree Todd MSP, the Scottish Government Minister for Children and Young People said:
“In reopening schools, ensuring the safety of children, young people and staff and giving parents the confidence that schools are safe is the overriding priority.
“These arrangements will not represent a complete return to normality by August. We don’t know how long schools will have to work this way, just as we don’t know how long Coronavirus will be a threat.”
The blended learning will involve school based and home learning.
Scotland’s Route Map
The phasing out of lockdown will depend on the R number remaining low and the effectiveness of the Test,Trace,Isolate, Support strategy (aka Test and Protect) which will be functioning in all Health Boards in Scotland by May 28th.
During the Q & A session of the First Minister’s statement to the Scottish Parliament LibDem MSP Liam McArthur, secured confirmation that local numbers of the tests being done would be made available. An issue The Orkney News covered on Wednesday – Lack of Transparency of Local Covid19 Tests Undermining Public Confidence
Liam McArthur said:
“I am pleased that the First Minister recognised that in her response to me earlier today, and look forward to more details about testing activity being made available, at a localised level. That would be an important step in the right direction as we continue to tackle this virus.”
The Route Map uses the World Health Organisation’s Six Key Criteria for easing the restrictions we are currently operating under and has produced a phased approach. Not all sectors will be at the same phase at any one time. And at all times physical distancing, personal hygiene and the wearing of face coverings will continue for the foreseeable future.
World Health Organisation: Six key criteria for easing restrictions
1. Evidence shows that COVID-19 transmission is controlled.
2. Sufficient public health and health system capacities are in place to identify, isolate, test and treat all cases, and to trace and quarantine contacts.
3. Outbreak risks are minimized in high vulnerability settings, such as long-term care facilities (i.e. nursing homes, rehabilitative and mental health centres) and congregate settings.
4. Preventive measures are established in workplaces, with physical distancing, handwashing facilities and respiratory etiquette in place, and potentially thermal monitoring.
5. Manage the risk of exporting and importing cases from communities with high-risks of
6. Communities have a voice, are informed, engaged and participatory in the transition.
Progress through the 5 Phases will only be possible if the R number remains low and the public continue to act with sense and consideration for others.
Lockdown – This is where we are at now
Phase 1 – what we may be able to move to from May 28th
Phases 2, 3 and 4
Reporter: Fiona Grahame