Question ref. S6W-02103
Asked by: Alex Cole-Hamilton, Edinburgh Western, Scottish Liberal Democrats
Date lodged: 9 August 2021
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will consider introducing a means by which neurodiverse school pupils could be exempted from the requirement to have a negative PCR test before returning to school, after being identified as a close contact of a pupil or teacher who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Current status: Answered by Humza Yousaf on 31 August 2021
As outlined in the Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on reducing the risks in schools guidance, published 16 August 2021, from 9 August our approach to contact tracing and self-isolation for close contacts aged under 18, including those attending schools, has changed. Close contacts aged under 18 who are identified by Test and Protect as requiring to do so will be asked to self-isolate and book a PCR test. If this is negative they can end self-isolation provided they remain asymptomatic.
Exemptions from PCR testing apply to close contacts who are aged under 5, or who for medical reasons are unable to be tested or are exempt. Parents or carers should seek advice from their GP or the local Health Protection team to obtain this exemption if their child is unable to get tested. For these groups, a PCR test will not be required to end self-isolation.
The approach to children aged under 5 reflects the lower risks of infection and transmission in this age group, and the fact that younger children may find it harder to tolerate testing. However, children under 5 who are close contacts remain encouraged to take a PCR test where possible.