Nick Abbot 12am - 1am
All pupils in Scotland to return to school after Easter, Sturgeon confirms
6 April 2021, 13:14 | Updated: 6 April 2021, 21:37
School pupils in Scotland will return to classrooms full time following the end of the Easter holidays, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed.
The return on 19 April will include all children apart from those who are shielding, who will return on 26 April based on advice from Scotland's chief medical officer.
Speaking at a Covid briefing in Edinburgh, Ms Sturgeon said: "This, I know, will be a huge relief to many children and young people and of course to many parents and carers and... by the end of April we want to see children on the shielding list get back to school in person as well."
The move from Scotland comes over a month after all students in England returned on 8 March, while Wales plans for all students to be back from 12 April.
On Monday, lockdown was eased in Scotland, with hairdressers, garden centres and homeware stores reopened.
Announcing the back-to-school plans, Ms Sturgeon said the figures are looking positive in Scotland, with no deaths recorded for four consecutive days amongst people who have tested positive for Covid within 28 days.
But the first minister warned Scots that there is still a risk of Covid-19 spikes as are being seen in other countries, despite relatively low numbers north of the border.
"Covid is down in Scotland, you can see that from the figures, but as we can still see here and more starkly in more parts of the world, Covid is not out," she stressed, adding: "It is a virus that is very much still with us."
"Here in Scotland we are still seeing hundreds of people every day testing positive for it and almost all of the new cases that we are seeing reported now in Scotland are of the new variant that emerged just before Christmas and as we know that variant is more infectious than the variants we were dealing with earlier this year."
In an effort to curb cases, Ms Sturgeon also announced that Scotland will follow England in offering free rapid Covid-19 tests to everyone each week.
"This testing will be in addition to and will supplement the additional testing routes that are in place in priority areas," the first minister explained.
"This more universal approach to asymptomatic testing will allow us to assess the impact that might have on further suppressing transmission."