Nicola Sturgeon confirms schools will reopen from August 11th

Nicola Sturgeon confirms schools will reopen from August 11th

NICOLA Sturgeon has confirmed schools will reopen from August 11th.

She said she expected all pupils to be back full time from August 18th at the latest.

The decision was made following scientific evidence and advice on safety.

Every school will have to carry out a risk assessment and put in place enhanced hygiene and cleaning arrangements.

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Primary school pupils will not have to physically distance from each other, but as a precaution secondary schools will be advised to take steps to encourage distancing between young people.

School staff will need to physically distance from each other and, if possible, from pupils who are not part of the same household.

Nicola Sturgeon

A surveillance programme is also being developed for schools for the purpose of carrying out regular testing.

Sturgeon’s statement to Holyrood came after schools closed in March as part of the country-wide lockdown.

Her Government initially suggested ‘blended’ learning  – a combination of home and class-based schooling – would be in place on August 11th, but a parental backlash forced the Government to prioritise full-time schooling.

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However, the EIS teachers’ trade union called for more to be done to ensure that schools are safe environments for pupils and staff.

Councillor Stephen McCabe, who leads for council umbrella group COSLA on education, said: “The guidance published today was a truly collaborative effort between local authorities, the Scottish Government, trade unions and parent organisations. The overriding priority for everyone involved is to ensure a safe return to education for our children and young people. At the same time, we have been extremely conscious of the impact that not being in school has on children, young people and families.

EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said: “The decision of the Scottish Government to reopen schools with a full pupil return is predicated on the current successful suppression of the virus but as we are seeing in parts of Europe, that situation can change quite quickly. Even with full implementation of the guidelines and its mitigations, many teachers and parents will be understandably nervous about a return to the classroom.”

He added: “The EIS believes more could be done to reassure school communities around safety if smaller classes were introduced as the norm, employing the many unemployed teachers currently seeking work. The additional funding announced is welcome, therefore, but this needs to translate into smaller class grouping to support physical distancing amongst pupils.”

Cory Weinberg

About the author: Cory Weinberg

Cory Weinberg covers the intersection of tech and cities. That means digging into how startups and big tech companies are trying to reshape real estate, transportation, urban planning, and travel. Previously, he reported on Bay Area housing and commercial real estate for the San Francisco Business Times. He received a "best young journalist" award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

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