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Scientific advice issued on safe reopening of schools


By Alan Hendry

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The Scottish Government has issued scientific advice for the safe reopening of schools and for school transport to resume.

It says the advice, published today, will inform the development of comprehensive guidance on how to ensure the safe reopening of schools for learners, teachers and families.

This includes a package of measures on hygiene and contact management that must be in place to reduce the transmission of the virus and which will form part of the future guidance.

The advice also indicates that no physical distancing is required between children and young people in primary and secondary schools.

On school transport, the advice says dedicated services should be regarded as an extension of the school estate, with physical distancing measures between pupils therefore unnecessary for as long as infection rates in Scotland remain low.

For pupils using public transport, the advice recommends that guidance from the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland should continue to apply.

The advice has been published by the Covid-19 Advisory Sub-Group on Education and Children’s Issues.

Education secretary John Swinney says the priority is ensuring the highest-quality education in a safe environment.
Education secretary John Swinney says the priority is ensuring the highest-quality education in a safe environment.

Scotland's education secretary John Swinney said: “This scientific advice will inform the way schools can reopen safely from August 11, if infection rates continue to remain low.

“The Education Recovery Group, which comprises local authorities, parent representatives and teachers’ organisations and trades unions, has been developing plans for how to open schools safely for everyone.

“We are considering this advice as we develop comprehensive guidance which will give confidence to our school communities that the safety and wellbeing of children, young people and staff is ensured as we welcome them back.

“Ensuring the highest-quality education for our young people, in a safe environment, must be a priority for us all and I know that everyone is committed to make sure that children's education is not adversely affected in the longer term.”

The advice can be found here.

Highland Council has made it clear that it is aiming for a 100 per cent return for school pupils in August – but only if it is safe to do so.



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