Schools to reopen full-time in August

Schools in the isles – along with others throughout the country – will re-open full-time, as planned, on 11th August.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the news today.

It follows the continued suppression of coronavirus in Scotland. 

National guidance for schools, to support their full-time reopening, has also been published today.

The Scottish government has also outlined measures to reduce the risk of transmission and ensure the health and safety of children, young people and staff on their return to school.

It says there should be an increased emphasis on hand hygiene and surface cleaning, including additional cleaning provision in schools.

Hand washing/sanitising should be required for everyone on every entry to the school.

As close as possible to zero tolerance of symptoms should be in place, and there must be strict compliance with the Test and Protect system.

In both primary and secondary settings, the preference should be to avoid large gatherings and crowded spaces and, as much as possible, to keep pupils within the same groups for the duration of the school day.

Sharing of equipment/utensils/toys/books should be minimised, while smaller groups and more outdoor activities should be put in place where possible.

The national guidance also confirms that there is no requirement for physical distancing between any children and young people in primary schools.

However, there is additional guidance for secondary schools, and particularly young people in the senior phase of their learning – secondary four to secondary six – which suggests some additional measures that may be taken.

Furthermore, the two metre physical distancing should remain in place wherever possible between staff in schools, and between staff and children.

There was also confirmation that school transport should be regarded as an extension of the school estate and physical distancing measures between pupils on school transport is not necessary. 

Where public transport is required for school-aged children to attend school, the general advice and guidance from the Scottish government and Transport Scotland should be followed. This currently includes the mandatory use of face coverings and one metre physical distancing where possible.

Chairman of education and families committee George Smith said: “We are really looking forward to our schools reopening after a five month enforced break.  

“The Scottish government’s announcement today, and the associated guidance, will enable all of our schools to fully prepare for the safe return of our children and staff. 

“The health and wellbeing of our children and staff continues to be at the absolute forefront of our planning for the resumption of face-to-face learning and teaching. 

“I’d like to thank all staff in children’s services for the huge amount of work they have done to make the return to school for our pupils possible. Thanks also to staff across the council who have supported this work – it is much appreciated.”

Director of children’s services Helen Budge also confirmed local guidance was being finalised in order to support the reopening of schools. 

The guidance will address a number of areas, including arrangements for the first week of the new term.

“We appreciate the length of time children and young people have been away from school and that many children are starting out in a new school, either in primary one, secondary one, or in secondary five at the Anderson High School.  

“In discussions with our head teachers, and teaching unions colleagues, we are looking at a gradual, phased return of children and young people into our schools from Tuesday 11th August to Friday 14th  August. 

“This will support children to reconnect with the school environment and enable staff to go over important safety procedures and arrangements with them.”


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