Phased reopening of Scottish schools to go ahead next week

16 February 2021, 14:42 | Updated: 16 February 2021, 15:37

Nicola Sturgeon addressed MSPs on Scotland's lockdown on Tuesday
Nicola Sturgeon addressed MSPs on Scotland's lockdown on Tuesday. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Some pupils in Scotland will return to schools from Monday, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Ms Sturgeon told MSPs the lockdown "has been working" in slowing down the spread of the virus.

However she said the situation is still very fragile and "even a slight easing of restrictions could cause cases to start rising rapidly again".

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She said: "We are choosing to use the very limited headroom we have right now to get at least some children back to school - because children's education and wellbeing is such a priority.

"But being able to get children back to education may mean the rest of us living with some other restrictions for longer.

"That is a trade-off we need to be willing to make."

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, Ms Sturgeon said the stay at home lockdown order will continue until "at least the beginning of March - and possibly for a further period beyond that".

"I will, however, confirm that the phased and gradual return to school that I said we were hopeful about when I updated Parliament two weeks ago will go ahead as planned," she said.

Pupils in primary one to primary three will return to school and all children under school age in early learning and childcare will return.

Schools will also open to senior secondary school pupils who are required to complete practical work towards achieving a qualification.

Returning to "100% normality" will likely not be possible in the near future, Ms Sturgeon said, with even more caution needed coming out of lockdown than last summer because of the new more infectious UK variant.

She added the Scottish Government hopes to produce a new road map out of lockdown next week.

She said it would likely advise Scots not to book Easter holidays, but added that "staycations" during the summer may be allowed depending on the data.