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Glasgow City Council

Education establishments - Advice and FAQs on COVID-19 handling

Updated Sunday 15 March 2020

Advice and FAQs on COVID-19 handling

Updated Sunday 15th March 2020

This advice has been put together to assist schools and nurseries through this challenging period. It will inevitably become out of date as new advice appears or we are asked questions on situations we haven't thought of. We will try to keep you up to date without overwhelming you. The date at the top of the page will change when new information is added.

This information does not cover advice on school closures. This is because we are not anticipating schools closing at this stage. We will work with the trade unions to develop clear advice and guidance on school closures and issue this as soon as we are able or it is appropriate to do so.

Advice and resources for helping young people understand coronavirus

Young Scot has published useful advice and help for school staff and parents to help discuss the situation with their children and young people - visit for more information and advice.

International School/nursery/staff Trips

All international trips scheduled to leave before the end of April 2020 should be cancelled/postponed. Schools should contact travel company/organisers to clarify their position on refunds, for example, it may be through ATOL given that this is advice from government.

Trips scheduled from 1st May to be reviewed. Further advice will be issued.

If the Council's insurance has to be contacted regarding a claim then the school should be doing this rather than individual parents and this email address should be used

Local School/nursery/staff Trips

There is currently no updated government/public health advice on local trips or residentials. You should review your risk assessment taking into account the up to date NHS advice. Of course, some parents may feel that the risk is too great and don't want their child to go, that would always be their decision.

Further information can be found here

Visitors to schools

Visits to schools can go ahead with visitors following the Health Protection Scotland advice.

Parents' Evenings

All Parents' evenings are cancelled.

School events

Recent government advice given on public gatherings of more than 500 is to relieve pressure on emergency services and not about the number of people in one area.

You need to decide which events go ahead and which don't based on the most current advice at the time of the planned event. For example, you may decide that having the school show without an audience because people don't want to come out would not be helpful and the decision to postpone the best option.

Recording of Attendance: pupils and staff

Pupils staying at home, either on a precautionary basis or because they are unwell, should be recorded in the usual fashion in line with Management Circular 5A. For example:

  • DCA - Exceptional Domestic Circumstances (authorised)
  • SEL - Self-certified (sickness with no Educational Provision)
  • NIS - Notifiable Illness (self-certified)
  • NIM - Notifiable Illness (medically Certified)

The latter would only be used when there was a firm diagnosis following a test. Not because the pupil has been advised by a medical practitioner to stay at home for 7 days.


Where employees contact the school/nursery to report absence you should be clear if the employee is:

  • Unwell, because they have had a confirmed diagnosis of Covid-19   or
  • Staying at home for 7 days following recent government guidance/NHS telephone advice because they have cough/fever symptoms.

Schools should record employee absence as normal on their weekly absence return submitted to CBS.  For Secondary schools, who input absence locally further advice will be issued next week. 

As indicated on the recent "Corporate Announcement" these absences will not be included in any attendance monitoring procedures.

Toilets and Soap dispensers

Please make sure soap dispensers and supplies of toilet rolls are kept maintained across the school/nursery. The advice on hand washing and the need for good hygiene to stop the spread of germs should continue to be reinforced.

Care inspectorate for nurseries

The Care inspectorate have advised us with the following. We have asked for clarification on their definition of 'suspected'. I suggest that in the interim this does not include notifying them of staff who have taken the decision to 'self-isolate'.

The addition, which applies to all services, is as follows:

  • Providers must notify the Care Inspectorate within 24 hours of any suspected or known case or outbreak of coronavirus COVID-19. This means one or more cases involving staff, people who use services, volunteers, visiting professionals, visitors or visiting contractors/suppliers that people within the service have had contact with.
  • Your notification must include confirmation that you have:
  • contacted your local health protection team as well as relevant NHS personnel (for example GP) for advice on any action you should take, and
  • informed the health and social care partnership or local authority.
  • You can find your local health protection team contact details on page 20 of NHS Scotland's guidance for non-healthcare settings here 
  • You can find further information and guidance on our website here which we are regularly updating.



What do I do if there are not enough staff? (Remember that there may be fewer children)

As ever, our priority must be to keep our schools and nurseries open to provide a service to families. We also do not want to put staff at risk. If you feel that it is not safe to keep your establishment open then as is the case at the moment, please contact a member of the Directorate to discuss.

Can I close my school?

Not without following the usual procedures. Please ensure you are familiar with
pdf icon Management Circular 10 (Emergency closure of schools and other educational establishments) [348kb]

What if a parent withdraws their child from their early years establishment - will they get their funded hours or a refund of my fees?

No, the usual rules apply if a child is absent. If the nursery closes because of our decision then again the normal rules apply (similar to snow days). If the closure became prolonged then we would provide further advice.

If schools/nurseries are closed following Public Health advice, where do staff go?

Staff should stay at home pending advice from Public Health. This would apply to short term closures, such as the recent one in South Lanarkshire. Fuller advice on school closures will be issued in due course.

Best website for council updates on COVID-19 - staff, parents and carers should be signposted to the COVID-19 GCC webpage. which will be updated with the most current information and developments - this can be cascaded via your normal school communication channels.

Potential letter home to parents from a primary headteacher

word icon Potential letter home to parents from a primary headteacher [94kb]

Example of contingency plan from a secondary school

A. Rationale

  • to ensure that, in the worst-case scenario of school closure and/or interruption to the SQA Exam Diet, we maximise the effectiveness of the use to which various forms of ICT and on-line provision can be put in order to preserve continuity of learning, especially for NQ pupils
  • to mitigate any risk in drawing up this Plan by ensuring that pupils do not experience increased levels of anxiety in the current circumstances

B. SQA Issues

  • revisit and update all estimates for NQ pupils
  • gather any appropriate additional evidence of up-to-date assessment
  • refresh the evidence base for all aspects of courses
  • adhere strictly to existing SQA timescales and deadlines
  • we need to exercise sound professional judgment in relation to the assessment burden on our young people and be wary and cautious of giving pupils further 'high stakes' assessments when these same pupils are still completing course assignments.
  • staff should make professional judgments about the quality, accuracy and contemporary nature of the evidence base being gathered. They should consider alternative ways of gathering the evidence and not simply revert to more prelims, although for
    some pupils, in some subjects, there may be a strong case for that approach as well.


C. Teaching and Learning

  • ensure every pupil has accessed her/his GLOW account and can log-in; conduct an organised check in relation to passwords and resets if required, starting with S4/S5/S6
  • ensure every pupil and member of staff has OneDrive tile on GLOW Launchpad, allowing for safe sharing/distribution of large files outwith school (possible implications for use of ICT rooms, although most pupils/staff should already have this)
  • Faculty Heads to discuss with staff means of loading additional work onto GLOW (use of Professional Learning Group time on Monday 16th March)
  • hold brief refresher session for staff in relation to Show My Homework (Monday 16th March); refresh pupil log-ins (Library lunch-time sessions)
  • possible use of Faculty Twitter accounts for loading of work
  • timescale for issuing of Revision Packs to be brought forward

D. Self-Evaluation and School Improvement Planning

  • process of review of SIP and formation of EPR to enter final phase in line with QA Calendar; staff to read "School inspection findings" Briefing Paper published 2019 by Education Scotland in preparation for formation on School Improvement Plan 2020 - 21; both tasks to be undertaken at home and coordinated by HT in event of worst-case scenario

E. Communication and Publicity

  • use of Group Call/Website/School App/Twitter account to inform pupils, parents, carers and other stakeholders about relevant issues if time-scale does not allow for communication within school. The city council communication channels will also be updated on a daily basis with the most current developments and parents and carers should be encouraged to follow/check these channels for city information.
  • 'additional GCC wide information is currently being collated and will be circulated next week outlining the range of on-line learning options for those staff and pupils with and without iPads.
  • while staff with iPads, tablets or laptops can be encouraged to take their devices home with them and while it would make good sense, there is no requirement for them to do so.
  • ensure every pupil and member of staff has OneDrive tile on GLOW Launchpad allowing for safe sharing/distribution of large files outwith school (possible implications for use of ICT rooms, although most pupils/staff should already have this). Use of Glow remains subject to existing data security restrictions regarding personal or sensitive information.

DHT to work with (school)  DLOL in preparation of Communication and Publicity Strategy. 

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