We continue to provide critical services which are currently operating without issue.
Reopening of Schools
The Scottish Government have now confirmed schools will reopen full time for all pupils in August. In South Ayrshire schools will reopen on 12th August but in most schools the first three days will be a phased return. This is to allow us to test new arrangements such as safe pick up and drop off; one way systems; hand washing; break times; social distancing for adults and between adults and children. Schools will contact parents and carers to confirm who should attend on the 12th, 13th and 14th of August. All pupils will return full time from Monday 17th August.
The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) will make exam results available next week (Tuesday 4 August). Results have been determined in line with guidance from the SQA following the cancellation of SQA exams this year because of Covid-19. The basis for awards is a holistic review of a learner’s performance over the duration of the course and Education staff undertook significant work to ensure estimated grades reflect a fair and consistent approach for all our young people. Following quality checks, all estimated grades were submitted to the SQA on 29 May 2020. SQA may adjust estimates where they deem it necessary and therefore no information on estimated grades has been shared with pupils. Support is available for all pupils and schools will let them know the arrangements for speaking to staff about any concerns.
Digital Education Initiative
Next week we will receive 1200 Chromebooks from the Scottish Government as part of the roll-out of the digital education initiative. The ICT team are working with colleagues in Education to distribute the devices to the identified young people prior to pupils returning on 12 August.
Business Support Grants
We have now paid £22.7 million in business support grants to local businesses. We are working through the final 65 cases remaining cases, to ensure all information has been provided to enable us to verify applications. Applications for the scheme closed at 5.00pm on 10 July 2020.
In her Briefing of Thursday 30 July, the First Minister confirmed that Shielding will end, as anticipated, on 1 August 2020.
Free School Meals
As indicated in previous Briefings, the last deliveries of food boxes will take place on 6 August, at which point we will have delivered 50,088 food boxes to children who are eligible for free school meals.
Our Digital Services team have been working hard behind the scenes providing essential support to a range of services during the pandemic. This includes developing a range of online forms to ensure customers can access services digitally. These include creation of an online summer hub booking form to make it faster and easier for key workers to book childcare and a digital business grant form used by over 2075 applicants.
Ayrshire Cancer Support
Our employee charity partner, Ayrshire Cancer Support, are running their ‘Hope and Memories Walk’ campaign throughout August. Fundraising activities have been affected by Covid-19 and they urgently need funds to allow them to continue to deliver essential services to those affected by cancer in Ayrshire. The charity is encouraging people to Walk with Hope for someone who is going through their cancer journey, or in memory of someone we have lost. They are also encouraging golfers to take part in Golfathon 2020, playing 4, 3 or 2 rounds of golf in 1 day to help raise money.
Standards Commission For Scotland
The Standards Commission has issued its July update.
We continue to post information and updates through the local media, in hard copy, on a range of social media channels such as South Ayrshire Council Live Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and on our website.