As Scotland continues to make swift progress in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, subject to the continued suppression of the virus and to surveillance and mitigations being in place, schools will re-open from the 11th August.
In Scotland, as of the 12th July 2020, 151 (0.8%) of a total 18,365 positive cases were among people aged under 15 – this is a rate of less than 20 per 100,000 of the population in that age group.
To help preparations for the year ahead, scientific advice for the safe re-opening of schools and resumption of school transport has been published by the Scottish Government, and the advice will inform the development of comprehensive guidance on how to ensure the safe re-opening 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 outlines that 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, general Scottish Government and Transport Scotland guidelines should continue to apply.
Education Secretary, John Swinney, said:
“This scientific advice will inform the way schools can re-open safely from 11 August, 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.”
Paisley’s MSP, George Adam, said:
“It is incredibly encouraging to see Scotland make such progress in combatting coronavirus that plans to reopen schools for the start of the next school year are continuing to go ahead.
“This is a testament to the hard work of the Scottish Government, the scientific and medical community, and of course the people of Scotland who are following the rules as much as they can.
“As long as we keep doing what we’re doing and remain committed to keeping the ‘R’ number low, life will keep progressing back to normal as quick as possible.
“As a parent and grandparent, one of my chief concerns is keeping Paisley’s young people safe but it is also important that our children return to the classroom as soon as the scientific advice says they can. Our kids have done an incredibly good job of following the rules so far and I know lockdown must have been very challenging for them, so I’m looking forward to families getting back into a normal routine soon.”
Up to date advice published by the COVID-19 Advisory Sub-Group on Education and Children’s Issues can be found here: https://www.gov.scot/news/planning-for-re-opening-schools-safely/