East Lothian Council is continuing to support our children and young people during the national closure of schools.
You will be aware that, in order to meet the emergency learning and childcare needs of key workers, we are operating six Children’s Hubs.
The Hubs will provide emergency childcare for children with at least one parent who is a key worker and who don’t otherwise have another adult at home to care for them.
Demand for places is vastly exceeding availability. In Phase 1 of this process, we have used information provided by parents/carers to identify those who are key workers in accordance with definitions provided by the Scottish Government, with a particular focus on ‘Category 1’ workers.
Parents in this category who have been allocated places for their children were being notified individually of the arrangements being made for their children by 24 March 2020). It is anticipated that places for these identified children will begin on Wednesday, 25 March 2020.
We are also reviewing the requirements of vulnerable children and children with additional support needs.
Next, we will move to Phase 2 of allocating places where, if available in the Hubs, we may be able to allocate places to some parents who fall into other employment categories. If successful, these parents will be notified by East Lothian Council that a place can be provided in a Children’s Hub for their child by Friday, 27 March. These Phase 2 places will start on Monday, 30 March 2020.
We will notify parents if we are unable to provide childcare places in the week beginning Monday, 30 March 2020. It is essential that parents notify us if they no longer require a place.
Each Hub will be overseen by a leadership team including a Head Teacher, supported by teaching, other specialist and support staff. At the early stages, Hubs will be open from 9am until 3pm with extended day provision being planned from next week. We will also provide food for our children in the Hubs.
Free school meals
At this stage, free school meals for those eligible can be collected from one of the Children’s Hubs mentioned above. As we are seeking to make this as easy as possible – particularly for those living in outlying communities – we will be reviewing this process ahead of next week.
We are maximising the use of digital technology to support learning for children who are being cared for at home. This includes use of online tools which children and teachers can use to provide learning for children at home through Google G-Suite. Teachers are posting learning assignment tasks for children, including active learning opportunities which they can undertake with their families.
We hope there will also be opportunities to participate in live lessons and we are working to support staff on this. These tools can be accessed through tablets, smartphones and home computers. We have provided Chromebooks for children without access to such devices at home.
Connected Communities Bases
We are planning to run bases which will be used to support local community resilience arrangements to help the most vulnerable people living in East Lothian’s communities. Across the county, volunteers within our communities are already providing a significant amount of help and support for neighbours and fellow residents. The bases will provide resources that they can draw upon. Resilience groups will be contacted directly with details on how they can use these bases. Further information will be provided shortly.
A new volunteer registration service is being established to connect well and willing volunteers with their local resilience group efforts.
The volunteer registration service will help people in communities who are not already connected to a community group/organisation, to provide details of their willingness to participate in volunteering country-wide. Again, more details will be provided in due course.
Customer Access Points
For essential customer enquiries only, Customer Access Points will be operating at the following locations:
- Brunton Hall, Musselburgh – 10am to 12 noon and 2pm to 4pm (Monday to Friday)
- John Muir House, Haddington – 10am to 12 noon and 2pm to 4pm (Monday to Friday)
In the interests of everyone’s wellbeing, visitors will be asked to ‘self screen’ on arrival and maintain social distance.
All of our public toilets have been closed. Available staff are being redeployed to support building deep cleans. This approach will enable deep cleaning to be carried out at regular intervals.
Changes to waste and recycling services
From today (Wednesday, 25 March) collection of both the green and blue recycling boxes will resume across East Lothian, on normal calendar dates. We are also continuing to collect non recyclable waste fortnightly, as per calendars. Brown bins for garden waste collections remain suspended until further notice.
If this situation changes due to staff shortages during the current Coronavirus crisis, we will issue further updates via our website and social media. As of yesterday (Tuesday 24) all four of our Recycling Centres are closed until further notice.