Update from East Lothian Council Chief Executive Monica Patterson
Not only is another week about to draw to a close but also the current school session, the last few months of which have been unlike anything we have ever experienced before.
Following the Deputy First Minister’s announcement earlier in the week, we have written to parents and carers in East Lothian to update them on the planning assumption that all pupils will return to school from 12 August if it is safe to do so.
Clearly this is conditional and based on scientific advice. It has also been confirmed that the plans we were putting in place for blended learning will be a contingency in case they are required.
I’d like to thank all of our staff for their hard work in continuing to support families since the start of the pandemic. While there remains a lot of work ahead of us all, the way in which we have responded has been remarkable – from the establishment of Children’s Hubs, provision of free school meals, through to distance learning for children and young people. I thank each and every staff member who has been involved and hope you manage to have a well-earned break during the summer holiday.
With Phase 2 of easing the lockdown restrictions underway, the First Minister this week announced provisional dates for the relaxation of travel restrictions and the restarting of the hospitality industry. She stressed that these changes remained contingent on scientific and public health advice. Physical distancing of 2 metres continues to be required in Scotland. The Scottish Government continues to receive scientific advice and a further update is expected on 2 July.
The indicative Phase 3 dates are intended to give businesses time to prepare for reopening while adhering to public health and physical distancing measures to protect workers and customers. Final decisions on moving into Phase 3 will be taken in line with the statutory three-weekly review cycle, due on 9 July.
These would be in addition to some previously announced changes coming into effect on Monday which include the re-opening of street access retail, where guidance has been implemented.
The council will, of course, continue to follow the national advice and guidance and will put in place arrangements to make changes to/resume services as and when it is appropriate to do so.
All coastal and countryside car parks are now open for local use and I’d like to thank colleagues from a variety of services who have been working hard to ensure public safety in and around our communities and beauty spots.
At the present time it remains the case that people should continue to stay in their local area (broadly within five miles) as much as possible and should not travel further for leisure and recreation.
Thank you to everyone who is continuing to maintain services, support local businesses and our community partners at this challenging time.