As cases numbers rise there is confusion among parents over the question of when should schoolchildren in Scotland self-isolate.
New rules aim to make it less likely pupils are identified as close contacts and reduce the amount of school time lost when they are.
However, the number of children absent from Tayside and Fife schools due to Covid has soared since the start of term.
Here we set out when and for how long schoolchildren should stay at home according to the new guidance.
Guidance is slightly different for children aged under five and those aged five to 18.
Who are close contacts?
Disbanding of class bubbles has put to an end the need for entire classes and year groups to isolate when a child or teacher tests positive – unless directed by contact tracers.
Where a child or school staff member has the virus, close contacts will be asked by Test and Protect to isolate.
However, close contacts are now regarded as those in prolonged close contact, such as living in the same household or staying overnight.
So this makes it unlikely children will be asked to isolate even where a classmate at the same table has tested positive.
‘Warn and inform’ letters will, however, be issued to parents and carers of classmates advising to be vigilant for symptoms.
Under new guidance for schools from the Scottish Government, schools are less involved in the contact tracing process.
When should schoolchildren in Scotland self-isolate?
Children aged five to 18 should isolate if they or anyone in their household has any of the recognised symptoms of Covid – a new or continuous cough, a high temperature and a loss or change in taste or smell.
Where this occurs everyone in the household aged five and over should take a PCR test.
If they have a negative result children can return to school, even if someone else in the house tests positive.
However, a close eye should be kept on them and if they develop symptoms later they should isolate and book another PCR test.
Adults with a negative result and no symptoms can end their isolation if they have had their second dose of vaccine at least two weeks previously.
Anyone who tests positive should continue their isolation and will be given advice by Test and Protect.
Children under the age of five who are close contacts of a positive case are only required to self-isolate if they show symptoms. PCR tests for them are not mandatory but are encouraged.