All pupils in Scotland back in school full-time by 18 August, Nicola Sturgeon announces

30 July 2020, 12:53

Nicola Sturgeon announced the return of schools on Thursday
Nicola Sturgeon announced the return of schools on Thursday. Picture: PA

By Ewan Somerville

All pupils are expected to return to Scottish schools in August as they reopen, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

The First Minister said local authorities could opt for a phased reopening of schools from 11 August, but she expects all pupils to be back full-time by 18 August.

But she said, "no one can rule out" needing to return to "blended" online learning in future if there is a "significant increase" in infections.

Social distancing will not be required in schools, but distance "should be maintained between pupils in secondary schools where possible, provided this does not compromise the return to full-time schooling", Ms Sturgeon added.

All pupils are expected to be back by 18 August
All pupils are expected to be back by 18 August. Picture: PA

Distancing should also be kept between staff and pupils, she said.

Strict hygiene measures will be in force, including ventilation and strict sanitary regimes.

"It is vital for the safe reopening of schools that these measures are applied rigorously," Ms Sturgeon said.

"We had to be sure, very sure, that the latest evidence supported this decision," she added.

Speedy access to testing will also be in place for anyone with symptoms and an "enhanced surveillance programme" will help stop local outbreaks.

The Scottish Government is also going on a recruitment drive, pledging £30 million for 1,400 additional teachers, and said a £30m "education recovery fund" would help fund more hygiene measures.