The First Minister has announced that the next phase of reopening education will take place on 15 March.
From that date - unless new evidence or new circumstances forces the SNP Government to reconsider - all children in primary 4 to 7 will go back to school on a full-time basis and all pre-school children will be able to return to regulated childcare.
All secondary school pupils will return to spend some time in school from 15 March, with a clear expectation that all secondary school pupils will be back in school on a full-time basis after the Easter holidays.
The First Minister said:
“The phased approach to school return is firmly based on the expert advice that we have received. It is the best and also the most sustainable and enduring way to get as many children back to school as possible, as safely as possible.”
“All secondary pupils will continue to be required to observe two metre physical distancing while in school in the period immediately after the Phase 2 return. This is in addition to existing measures, including the use of face coverings. School transport will operate with the same physical distancing rules as public transport.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“While the SNP Government remains cautious rather than promising too much too soon, I am sure many children, parents and carers will welcome the progress being made as we enter Phase 2 and more pupils and families will return to something closer to normality in this regard..
“Assisted through guidance from Education Scotland which will be published next week, North Ayrshire Council will be asked to safely balance in-school learning based on local circumstances and needs.
“The importance of continued compliance with restrictions however cannot be overstated and as such, I urge everyone to continue. It is the only way to keep ourselves and each other safe from coronavirus.”
On 16 February, Ministers announced a package of support and safety steps to support the phased return, including:
A further £40 million to help councils implement safety mitigations aligned with clinical advice;
£60 million of additional investment in education recovery, including employing more teachers, classroom support staff and facilities management;
Twice weekly at-home testing to be offered to people who work in schools, early learning and childcare settings attached to schools, and senior phase pupils. The programme will be expanded to stand alone childcare settings as soon as possible. ENDS