16 December 2020

Public health message for parents

Susan Webb, Director of Public Health at NHS Grampian, has shared some advice for parents and carers as the Christmas holidays approach:


Dear Parents and Carers,


I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your hard work over this last term to reduce the risk of COVID-19 within our school communities. Life has certainly been different for our children since they returned to school, but I know from feedback that the positive benefits to their health and wellbeing of being in school has outweighed the sacrifices we have had to make to keep them safe. We have been working closely with schools since they re-opened in August and have overall been very impressed by the control measures that are in place across Grampian.  This has meant that, when cases have been in school, the numbers of close contacts have been much smaller than if no measures were in place, and the vast majority of schools have been able to stay open.  Thank you to staff, pupils and parents/carers for adapting to the new measures so well.


We still need your help. Over the last two months we have seen a rise in the number of new cases of COVID-19 in the Grampian area. The team have worked hard to identify possible sources of the infection and appropriate action that we can take to break the chain of transmission and reduce further spread. However, at this time we are unable to connect 45% of cases to any of our current clusters, suggesting that we now have widespread community transmission. We need you to continue to help us reduce the spread. As parents and carers, particularly during the Christmas holidays, we ask that you ensure that you and your children follow the guidance that has been shared below. Try to avoid trips to public places like shops and hospitality and only meet up with others in person if absolutely necessary.    


Christmas 23 – 27 December

You can form a ‘bubble’ with up to 2 other households (max. 8 people; children under 12 years do not count towards the overall number). This is to help alleviate loneliness over this period and should only be done if you feel it’s necessary.


Christmas Tips:

Keep Small: the larger the group the greater the risk of someone carrying the virus without realising. If you are outside the virus will get dispersed in the fresh air and would be less of a problem! The experts say if you double the number of people getting together you get a fourfold increase in the risk of infection. Increasing the number of households that meet also increases the risk – the fewer the safer.


Don’t Share: COVID can survive on surfaces for up to several hours so passing wine or food can pass the virus on too. Break with tradition and if you do need to meet up ask guests to bring their own food and drink.


Pardon: So, experts tell us that when you have to project your voice people spray more droplets which can carry the virus. Remember to keep the noise down and don’t sing!


Speed: experts tell us that the longer you stay the greater the risk – a quick visit is safer than lingering over dinner.


Ventilation: The risk can be four times greater without proper ventilation – so if you are going to meet up – wear another layer and open the window.



To help you follow what is right for your area the following website sets out the level system and what needs to happen: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-protection-levels/.  Parent Club is another very useful resource and has various sections explaining when you can meet up with other households, which types of sports and other activities you can do and which of the measures apply to children: https://www.parentclub.scot/topics/coronavirus/new-restrictions.


I attach with this letter a summary of some of the key points.


Thank you once again for your continued efforts to ensure schools remain open and as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kind regards, 


Yours sincerely



Susan Webb

Director of Public HealthNHS Grampian


Socialising in each other’s homes

Socialising outdoors

Hospitality (e.g. cafes, restaurants)




Nearly normal

·         8 people from 3 households indoors.

·         15 people from 5 households outdoors.

·         8 people from 3 households.

·         All sport and exercise allowed.

·         Walk, cycle where possible.

·         Avoid car sharing.

·         Wear mask if in shared transport, & open windows.



·         No in-home socialising with other households.

·         This includes children (some exceptions apply)

·         8 people from 3 households outdoors.

·         Children under 12 don’t count towards total number of people or households.

·         12-17 years olds: 8 people from 8 households.

·         6 people from 2 households.

·         Children under 12 don’t count towards the total number of people but must be from the 2 households.

·         12-17 years olds: same rules apply as for adults.

·         Adults and children can play organised non-contact sport indoors but only those under 18 can play contact sports indoors.

·         Adults and children can play organised contact and non-contact sports outdoors.

·         As above



·         No in-home socialising with other households.

·         This includes children

·         6 people from 2 households outdoors.

·         Children under 12 don’t count towards total number of people or households.

·         12-17 years olds: 6 people from 6 households.

·         Same as Level 1

·         Same as Level 1

·         As above


Very High

·         Same as above

·         Same as Level  2

·         Same as Level 1

·         Young people under 18 can take part in organised outdoors and indoors contact sports but not adults.

·         As above



·         Same as above

·         Same as Level  2

·         Same as Level  1

·         Outdoor non-contact sport/exercise only for adults and children

·         No public transport