Phased Return Planned For Scottish Schools This Month (Covid-19)

Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon announced today (Feb 2nd) live from Holyrood, Edinburgh that that from the week beginning 22 February there will be a phased return of pupils to schools starting with a full time return of early learning and childcare for all children below school age.


The FM Said “I want to be equally candid, as I have been before, about the government’s determination to use every inch of headroom that we have to get children back to school – even if that means adults living with restrictions for longer.
In short, the judgment the Cabinet arrived at this morning – and this is a judgement based on, and taking account of the advice of our expert advisers – is that if we all do agree to abide with the lockdown restrictions for a bit longer so that our progress in suppressing the virus continues, then we can begin a phased, albeit gradual, return to school from 22 February, following the February mid-term break.
The decisions I am about to outline are intended to give young people, parents and teachers as much notice as possible, but of course I must stress that they are subject to continued progress in suppressing the virus and they will be subject to final confirmation in two weeks’ time.
However, as of now, our intention is that from the week beginning 22 February there will be:
  • Firstly a full time return of early learning and childcare for all children below school age;
  • secondly, a full time return to school for pupils in primaries 1 – 3; and
  • thirdly, a part-time return, albeit on a limited basis, for senior phase pupils to allow in-school practical work that is necessary for the completion of national qualification courses. Initially though, it is intended that there will be no more than around 5-8% of a secondary school roll physically present at any one time for these purposes.
We also intend to allow small increases in existing provision for children and young people with significant additional support needs where there is a clear and demonstrable necessity.
We will hopefully confirm these decisions in two weeks’ time. At that stage, I also hope we can also set out the next phase of the gradual return to school and also at that time set out even an indicative timescale for the return of in-person learning in our colleges and universities.
Presiding Officer, before I leave education let me make one additional point.
I spoke about testing earlier on and that is relevant here too.
I can confirm that there will be a significant expansion of testing in educational settings to support the return to nurseries and schools in the weeks ahead.
It is our intention that those who work in schools, and those who work in early learning and childcare settings attached to schools will be offered ‘at-home’ testing twice a week. All senior phase secondary school students will be offered this as well.
This testing offer will be in place for schools as soon as possible to support their return on the basis that I have set out, and we will extend it to the wider childcare sector in the weeks after that.
We are, Presiding Officer – and I think I speak for everyone across the country when I say this – we are determined to get our children back to normal schooling, and by extension back to much greater normality in their lives, just as quickly as it is safe to do so. That is our overriding priority and I think it is right that is the overriding priority of all of us.
For now, I want to again thank young people and their families, as well as teachers, and school and nursery staff more generally, for the patience and understanding you are showing during these incredibly stressful times.”

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