Find out changes to our services and advice in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronavirus: Schools, children and families

Return to schools

The 2021/22 school term began for pupils on 18 August. Following the First Minister's latest briefing on 3 August, it has been agreed that with the updated Scottish Government guidance, many of the COVID-19 measures in place at the end of term in June are to remain in place for at least six weeks. This is to enable monitoring of the impact of the return to school on COVID-19 case numbers.  We will continue to follow all Scottish Government guidance regarding schools and early learning and childcare settings to help ensure a safe and effective return to school for children, young people and staff.

Key measures in place during the first term include:

  • Physical distancing of at least one metre distancing between all staff, and between staff and pupils.
  • Removal of the requirement to maintain consistent groupings or 'bubbles'.
  • Face coverings to be worn (except where exemptions apply) by all primary and secondary school staff, and secondary pupils in the classroom, communal areas, when moving around the school and if visiting local shops at lunchtimes.
  • Young people aged 12 and over should continue to wear face coverings on school transport (including those who receive free school transport).
  • Children under the age of 12 (including those who receive free transport to and from school) no longer require to wear a face covering on school transport.
  • Enhanced cleaning, ventilation and hygiene measures.
  • Pupils should come to school dressed to take account of changing temperatures, as windows will be open when they are indoors.
  • Continued provision of asymptomatic testing for all staff and secondary pupils through the issuing of Lateral Flow Devices (LFDs) to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19.  
  • In line with the move to Level 0 and beyond, children and young people can now engage in all drama, music, PE and dance activity in schools, indoors and outdoors.
  • The guidance on school trips has been updated.
  • Parents of primary pupils may visit the school if considered necessary to support their child, with advance permission/agreement of the Headteacher and an appropriate risk assessment in place.
  • Children and young people who live with a person who is at highest risk should now attend school from Wednesday 18 August 2021, and follow the arrangements for reducing risks of transmitting the virus in schools, including hand hygiene and use of face coverings where appropriate.
  • Changes to the arrangements for self-isolation and contact tracing.

Covid-19 cases in schools, self-isolation and contact tracing

If your child or young person tests positive for COVID-19, or if they display symptoms (a new, continuous cough; a fever; or change in/loss of sense of smell or taste), then they should isolate as previously advised.

If your child is identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive, you should arrange a COVID-19 (PCR) test for them as soon as possible and not wait for any symptoms.

Self-isolation requirements (including contact tracing and testing) are being updated in line with the changes to self-isolation for the wider community.  This means that if your child is aged 5 or over and is identified as a close contact, then while they will initially be asked to self-isolate, they can return to school if they subsequently receive a negative PCR test result and remain symptom-free. If your child is under 5 years of age, then they do not need to isolate as long as they remain symptom-free.

Anyone with symptoms will be eligible for testing and further information on testing can be found on NHS Inform.  

Sources of advice and support

NHS Tayside's Test and Protect Team operates from 8am until 8pm 7 days per week. The contact number for the Tayside Contact Tracing Team is 01382 424061.

If you require further advice, please contact the National COVID-19 Helpline (0800 028 2816).

If you require support in order to self isolate, you can find details of assistance available on Tayside Cares and on our Self Isolation Support Grants page.

Free School Meal direct payments - Autumn 2021 holiday

Following the decision to provide direct payments for free school meals during the school holiday periods, these payments will continue to be provided over the Autumn 2021 holiday period for those families of school age pupils entitled to free school meals who receive a qualifying benefit.  The payment will be made on Friday 8 October 2021 for applications which were approved and processed prior to 27 September 2021.  Applications processed between 27 September and 8 October will not be paid until after 8 October 2021.

If you were in receipt of a qualifying benefit (listed below), your child received free school meals as at 8 October 2021, and you received a school clothing grant during school session 2021/22, you do not need to contact us - a payment will be made automatically to you. Education and Children's Services will contact parents directly where bank account details are not currently held.   If you are in receipt of a qualifying benefit for free school meals but did not receive a school clothing grant, please contact us at

N.B. Children receiving Free School Meals based on universal provision (P1 - 4), and those currently receiving free lunches in Early Learning and Childcare settings, are not eligible for this payment.  

Qualifying benefits are:

  • Income Support (IS)
  • Income based Job Seeker's Allowance (IBJSA)
  • Any income related element of Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit (CTC), but not Working Tax Credit, and your income is less than £16,105.
  • Child Tax Credit (CTC) and Working Tax Credit (WTC) and your income is less than £7,500
  • If you are between 16 and 18 years old and receive any of these benefits in your own right, you can claim free school meals for yourself
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Universal Credit where the monthly earned income does not exceed £625

Family pandemic payment for low income families

Along with the free school meal direct payments, families who qualify for these payments will also receive £160 per school age child (current P1 - S6 pupils) from the Scottish Government to support them through the autumn months. 

These payments will also be made by the Council on Friday 8 October 2021.

There will be no restrictions on how families choose to spend this additional payment. This payment can be disregarded for the purposes of benefits income.

N.B. Children receiving Free School Meals based on universal provision (P1 - 4), and those currently receiving free lunches in Early Learning and Childcare settings, are not eligible for this payment.  

An application for free school meal and assistance with school clothing/footwear must have been submitted before 8 October 2021 to qualify for this payment.

Remote Learning Hub

The Council's Education and Children's Services has established a Remote Learning Hub. The site has been created for parents, pupils and staff to access key information and guidance whilst working and learning from home during school closures. Specific sections have been created to allow for ease of use and to ensure you can access the information that is most appropriate for you. The Remote Learning Hub will be updated regularly with the latest information and added to ensure the content and messages are current. We hope parents, pupils and staff will find the site, and the information it provides, to be useful. We have also created a icon quick guide [536Kb] to remote learning and the support available for parents and carers when helping their children with this.

Returning from a country that's on the quarantine list

If your child has returned from a country that is on the quarantine red or amber lists, please do not send them to school until they have completed the 10 days quarantine period. See the Scottish Government guidance regarding international travel for further information,

Contact us 

If you have queries about provision for your children, please call 0345 30 111 00 or email