Scottish councils have written to parents urging them to dress their children in additional layers so they can stay warm when classroom windows are left open.

Current Scottish Government advice includes ensuring "adequate levels of ventilation" to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission, leading many schools to operate with their windows open during class - despite the approaching winter months.

Children will be encouraged to wear extra warm layers in class as a result, including fleeces and jackets.

Highland Council stressed infection control would be prioritised over "thermal comfort", but added it hoped the Scottish Government would provide further guidance before the arrival of winter. 

READ MORE: Coronavirus Scotland: School pupil case spike putting teachers at risk

The letter, addressed to parents and carers, read: "You will be aware that Covid-19 is still present within our community.

"As the risk of transmission of the virus is greater indoors when compared to outdoor settings, the Scottish Government currently advises: 'Settings should ensure adequate levels of ventilation. Where centralised or local mechanical ventilation is present, re-circulatory systems should be adjusted to full fresh air.' 

"Therefore, to reduce the risk indoors, our schools are currently operating with windows open to allow as much fresh air into classrooms as possible.

"This is to ensure our school spaces are as safe as possible for our pupils and staff. As there is a need to prioritise infection control over thermal comfort, we are encouraging children to wear an additional fleece or a jacket in the classroom if they wish to do so.

"We have relaxed dress codes in our schools as we try to make the learning environment as comfortable as possible while reducing the risk of infection in the school setting.

"We will continue to work hard across the school estate to improve heating output at all our schools, but we realise this may not provide the expected levels of comfort.

"It is hoped that the Scottish Government will provide further guidance prior to the arrival of winter as the science evolves around the current Covid-19 crisis."

City of Edinburgh Council also wrote to parents urging extra layers at school.

Chief Education Officer Andy Gray said: "As we approach the winter months, it will be essential to keep our focus on making sure we have the safest possible arrangements for pupils and staff, and on keeping our schools open.

"Face coverings and hand washing are important measures to minimise the spread of the virus as is maintaining physical distancing wherever possible." 

He continued: "As our schools resume after the October break, we will continue to ensure the safest possible environment for learning in every school setting.

"As part of this, classrooms will require to maintain adequate ventilation and, while school heating systems will be fully utilised, it would be wise to consider extra layers of clothing."

John Dickie, Director of Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland, said the government must provide an additional school clothing grant to help low income families at this unprecedented time.

He said: "This is another example of the additional pressures and costs the pandemic is placing on families, and reinforces the case for urgent additional financial support for parents.

"It’s vital that all families have the resources to make sure every child has what they need to fully participate at school in these extraordinary times.

"That’s why we are urging the UK government to increase child benefit and the child element of universal credit by £10 a week.

"Here in Scotland the forthcoming Scottish child payment will provide a lifeline but won’t reach school aged children until 2022.  

"In the meantime we would urge Scottish Ministers and local government to work together to provide an additional school clothing grant to help low income families through the winter. ”

Currently, local authorities provide a minimum £100 school clothing grant to eligible low income families.