Nicola Sturgeon to set out details of return of some pupils to schools in Scotland

2 February 2021, 10:37

Nicola Sturgeon will deliver an update on Scotland's lockdown later
Nicola Sturgeon will deliver an update on Scotland's lockdown later. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

Nicola Sturgeon is expected to announce the date when some school pupils will be able to return to classrooms when she delivers an update on changes to Scotland's lockdown.

Top adviser in Scotland Professor Jason Leitch claims "progress" is being made against the coronavirus and Ms Sturgeon is expected to announce further details to MSPs this afternoon.

The Scottish Government has already said the current restrictions will last until at least the middle of February, and Ms Sturgeon will confirm if this will be extended and provide an update on the plans for schools returning.

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She will also set out additional measures on travel, including going further than current proposals by the UK for quarantine hotels and other measures aimed at making current travel rules "more effective".

Most pupils in Scotland are currently taking part in online learning, with only those deemed vulnerable and the children of key workers attending school.

At the last review on January 19 the Scottish Government said the earliest date schools could possibly open for pupils who are not vulnerable or children of key workers was being pushed back to at least mid-February.

Ministers have been accused of being too slow over the vaccination rollout in recent days, with opposition politicians saying the rest of the UK is moving faster.

On Sunday, just 9,628 vaccinations were completed.

Ms Sturgeon said that Tuesday's statement will cover some of the measures the Scottish Government will take to "help us control the virus as we continue to suppress it, and in time gradually start to ease the lockdown restrictions."

She said on Monday that "the current lockdown is working" as infections are falling - with 848 new cases recorded in Scotland in the previous 24 hours, and a daily test positivity rate of 9.5%.

The First Minister added: "That said, case numbers are still high, too high, much higher than we would want them to be, so we need to get them down further - then we need to keep them as low as possible."

On Tuesday the Scottish Government will also give an update on asymptomatic community testing after pilot projects were run towards the end of last year, with councils having put forward plans for making "much more extensive use" of community testing.