Politics

Scotland schools partly open on Monday – but many pupils at home until March 15


Some pupils will head back to the classroom from next week in Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

The First Minister confirmed that a phased return to school would begin on Monday, with younger pupils first to go back.

Pre-school children, pupils in the first three primary school years and some secondary pupils who need to do essential practical work will go back on February 22.

All other pupils will have to stay at home until at least March 15.

Ms Sturgeon said getting children back to school meant a “trade-off”, as some restrictions could be needed to be in place for longer for the rest of the public.

Scotland’s stay at home lockdown order will continue until at least the start of March, she told MSPs.



Nicola Sturgeon said schools would start reopening from February 22

The First Minister had previously said it would last until at least the end of February.

Setting out the plans in the Scottish Parliament, Ms Sturgeon said: “I want to be clear, though, that the need to properly assess the impact of this limited reopening means we think it unlikely, at this stage, that there will be any further return to school before 15 March.

“As we consider these issues, we are of course doing everything we can to ensure that schools are as safe as possible for children, and for the education workforce.”

Parents must not socialise at school gates, she said, as she urged people to treat the move as “a return to education for children only, and not as a return to greater normality”.

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She said: “If we all do that, then I am hopeful that this return to school will be consistent with our continued progress in suppressing the virus.

“And if that does prove to be the case, I am optimistic that we will soon be able to set out the next phase in the journey back to school for young people.”

Despite progress in allowing schools to reopen, Ms Sturgeon said it was too soon to lift other restrictions and warned the public stick to “letter and spirit” of lockdown rules.



Nicola Sturgeon said most older pupils would not return to the classroom until at least March 15

She said: “Stay at home except for essential purposes. Do not meet people from other households indoors. Follow the FACTS advice when you are out.

“Work from home if you can – if you are an employer, support your employees to work from home. 

“Because by doing all of this – especially as children start to go back to school – we will continue to protect each other, our communities, and the NHS.”

The move to reopen schools in Scotland will put pressure on Boris Johnson, who has resisted calls so far to start letting English pupils return to the classroom.

The Prime Minister has pencilled in March 8 as the earliest date schools can reopen in England – despite pressure from his own MPs to start letting younger children back sooner.

He is expected to give more details on reopening schools when he sets out his “roadmap” out of lockdown next week.

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