School Closure Information

25 March

Coronavirus: Key Workers

Following the recent measures enacted by the UK and Scottish Government in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Shetland Islands Council has clarified the definition and categories of ‘key workers’ in a local context, to help ensure that essential services can function while minimising the risks of travel and contact, and that key workers providing critical services can access the support they need, such as childcare.

The first presumption is that all those who can do so will work from home.  Keeping that in mind, the Council has prepared a list of those services and functions (attached) which fall into ‘key worker’ categories, to allow local businesses, industry and the third sector to determine their own prioritisation of their business-critical staff at this time.

Three categories of key worker have been identified at a national level:

·       Category 1 – Health and Care workers directly supporting COVID response, and associated staff; Health and Care workers supporting life threatening emergency work, as well as critical primary and community care provision; energy suppliers (small numbers have been identified as top priority already); staff providing childcare/learning for other category 1 staff

·       Category 2 – All other Health and Care workers, and wider public sector workers providing emergency/critical welfare services (e.g. Fire, Police, Prisons, Social Workers, etc.), as well as those supporting our critical national Infrastructure, without whom serious damage to the welfare of the people of Scotland could be caused

·       Category 3 – All workers (private, public or third sector) without whom there could be a significant impact on Scotland (but where the response to COVID-19, or the ability to perform essential tasks to keep the country running, would not be severely compromised).

Locally, some services are deemed only to have ‘key worker’ status where dealing with situations which pose an immediate threat to human wellbeing, animal welfare or the functioning of other key services.  This does not presuppose that it is business as usual for other services, and all services, businesses and sectors should take every measure possible to ensure that unnecessary travel and contact is minimised or eliminated, and follow official guidance at all times.

22 March 2020

Critical childcare for key workers

During the current coronavirus pandemic, Shetland Islands Council has clarified the definition of ‘key workers’ for whom childcare provision can be provided, to allow their parents to continue to work.

Key workers are in those in posts which ensure that essential services can be delivered and cover tasks within the local community which support the vulnerable and aid community resilience. To support prioritisation of places, there are three categories of key worker:

Category 1 – Health and Care workers directly supporting COVID response, and associated staff; Health and Care workers supporting life threatening emergency work, as well as critical primary and community care provision; Energy suppliers (small numbers identified as top priority already); staff providing childcare/learning for other category 1 staff.

Category 2 – All other Health and Care workers, and wider public sector workers providing emergency/critical welfare services (e.g Fire, Police, Prisons, Social Workers, etc), as well as those supporting our Critical National Infrastructure, without whom serious damage to the welfare of the people of Scotland could be caused.

Category 3 – All workers (private, public or third sector) without whom there could be a significant impact on Scotland (but where the response to COVID-19, or the ability to perform essential tasks to keep the country running, would not be severely compromised)

If one parent is a key worker and the other is not, it is expected that the non-key worker should provide childcare. Children should be at home if it is at all possible.

Shetland Islands Council is working with private providers to ensure critical childcare is available for essential workers available at the following settings:

·       Hame Fae Hame

·       Peerie Foxes

·       Isles Haven Nursery (3-5 year olds)

·       Islesburgh Out of School Club (5 years +)

In addition to this, some childcare will also be provided through the Council’s partner childminders.   In rural areas, it may be possible to provide bespoke childcare, based on demand.

If you are a worker in any of the above categories and require childcare to allow you to attend your place of employment, please email ELC@shetland.gov.uk to request a Critical Childcare Registration Form.

 

19 March 2020

All schools in Scotland are now closed and are not set to reopen after the Easter Break.  More information will follow when available.

16th March 2020

This is where you will be able to find information on the current school closure.  Here is a letter from Children’s Services Department:-

Dear Parent and Carer

When the decision was made to close some of our schools for one week from Monday 16 March for operational and resilience reasons, Children’s Services committed to issuing further information to parents and carers at the start of this week, including information about learning that can be done at home, and electronic communication between children and staff during the closure period. 

We recognise that is a very unsettling time for families, and school staff, and we are committed to ensuring that learning can take place at this time at home.

More specifically, the following arrangements are already in place:

  • Many of our children and staff are already familiar with Glow and the Office 365 tools within it through their use of it in school. All primary pupils at Urafirth have a Glow username and password. More information on how we intend to use GLOW to support children’s learning should the school closures be extended will be shared later in the week.
  • If your child does not have access to an internet enabled device, please inform the school so alternative arrangements can be in place.
  • If you live in an area which is poorly served in terms of internet connectivity, then please contact the school.
  • Some schools have organised other forms of digital communication between schools and children during the closure period – at Urafirth we are developing Microsoft Teams with more information to follow.
  • All pupils have received their learning folders and have sufficient work to see them through until the end of term if needed. We will keep you updated on our online learning plans for P4 – 7 should they be required.
  • Finally, please find attached general advice that Children’s Services have received for supporting family life at this time, which may be of use to your family.

Please do discuss any concerns you have with your school in the first instance.

Guidance for parents and carers in the event of school closure due to Coronavirus

Your child will be learning from your response to the current situation. Seeing you staying calm and resilient will be crucial to helping them cope with the circumstances.

It is very important to maintain structure and routine for your child whilst schools are closed. The following 10 tips may help you to maintain your child’s health and well-being.

  1. Set times for getting up and going to bed for your child.
  2. Have regular times for meals.
  3. Build in time for fresh air and exercise as far as this is possible.
  4. Structure your child’s day so that they have a variety of activities and break times.
  5. Create a menu of activities that your child can do during the day.
  6. Make a daily plan of activities and share these with your child the night before so that you and your child know what is happening the next day.
  7. Review the day’s activities and talk about what they have done. A sense of accomplishment is important for children and young people.
  8. Make Monday to Friday different from the weekend by structuring the activities along the same timings as a normal school day.
  9. Decide when and for how long your child will have access to electronic devices and for what purpose.
  10. Maintain contact with friends and family through technology.

 

Remember that your child will be learning from your response to handling this situation. Seeing you staying calm and resilient will be crucial to helping them cope with the circumstances.

 

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