Schools closed on March 23 and only reopened on August 12. The main elements of the council’s response to the crisis have been to provide childcare services to the children of key workers, to keep school meals free, to provide remote support and to help the most vulnerable families. .
Delivering meal vouchers through a text messaging system has been one of the most difficult aspects. “We definitely had some startup issues,” Mr. Brown said. “In the first week we did it, we got 2,000 emails where people didn’t have the correct cell phone numbers in the schools, but we fixed this problem in the third week. The system has been rebuilt to ensure that all 18,000 eligible applicants receive their vouchers.
Mr Brown also said relations with unions and other stakeholders during the crisis had been “excellent” and that the board followed all government directions.
School principals are also actively involved in managing the response to any coronavirus outbreak, including through daily tactical response team meetings to ensure vulnerable families and children receive a appropriate support for social work.
Regarding the efforts of education staff, Mr Brown added, “I’ve never seen anything like it. I really think in my role it has been extremely humbling to see the effort people have made and the fantastic work that has been done on behalf of children and families.
The advisers were also effusive in their praise.
Councilor Agnes McGowan asked if additional staff had been made available to help reduce the pressure on colleagues, and it was confirmed that 195 interns were offered one-year fixed-term contracts.
Councilor Paul Kelly asked for reassurance about face masks, saying the procurement should have been done at the national level rather than at the council level
He said: ‘What we need to avoid is a situation where some young people may have to use face masks for an extended period of time due to the cost which Mr Brown said the council acted early on and bought a million masks. Although current guidelines require children to wear their own masks at school, there was also a need for more stock.
“When we did the numbers, we have about 20,000 students in high schools who are either almost 12 years old or over 12 years old who wear a mask every day and over five years old on the buses have to come with a mask and we estimate it’s about 7,000.
He added that those many students would spend five million masks in a year if replaced every day, but it was established that the vast majority of students came to school with their own masks, but it was important to ensure this high level. of compliance has been maintained over the long term.
The committee unanimously decided to take note of the content of the report, the response to the Covid-19 emergency, the approach to restoring the service, the current orientations, the agreement of the schools of the pan- Lanarkshire and to endorse the excellent work of the staff.