Applications for children of key workers to be allowed to go to school has increased by more than 100 per cent on last year.
The huge hike is such that parents still sending their children to school are being asked to consider whether they need to do so.
Shetland Islands Council says there is a 109 per cent increase in demand from those defined as key workers, with some schools seeing up to 50 per cent of their school roll being allocated a place.
Key workers went through an application process to continue sending their children to school, even though home learning has been returned for this month.
Children assessed as benefiting from being in class have also been allowed to return.
But the council says parents and carers of children invited into school because of their support needs will receive a letter next week from the director of children’s services Helen Budge outlining changes to their arrangements.
Meanwhile, parents and employers are being asked to do what they can to support the in-school provision.
Mrs Budge said: “It is obviously important that we support key workers. The government defines these within three categories, with priority for those directly involved in supporting the response to Covid, including health, care, and emergency or critical provision.
“However, the third category is more loosely defined, and it may be that parents are applying for their child to attend school without exploring all other childcare options.
“At the moment, the safest place for children is at home. The government has told us that we need to keep the numbers in school to an absolute minimum, to prevent transmission of infection.
“I’d ask parents to consider whether the need for their child to attend school is critical – whether, for example, permitted informal childcare would be available – and for employers to do all they can to support their staff to work from home wherever possible.”