Comment on the Return to School
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Comment on the return to school part of the announcement by the First Minister this afternoon

Councillor Stephen McCabe. COSLA Children and Young People Spokesperson said:

“Since the first closure of schools almost a year ago Local Government has been strongly supportive of ensuring children and young people are able to get back to the in-school learning as soon possible provided this was in line with clinical and scientific advice.

“Following the First Minister’s announcement this afternoon (Tuesday) we note the intention for children in P 4-7 to return full time, whilst secondary pupils can start to come back to school in a phased way with young people in S4-6 working toward qualifications given priority. Remote learning will continue with pupils in S1-S3 receiving some in school education.

“If the clinical and scientific advice states that it is safe to take this approach local authorities will endeavour to make sure that all children and young people get some form of in school time being particularly mindful that we need to take the safety of school staff extremely seriously.

“Given that there will be 2 metre distancing in place it is important to note that the amount of in school time will vary  between local authorities and this will have an impact on what is offered.

“We welcome the fact that there will be a future ‘checkpoint’ prior to 15th March to ensure the final decision to return is based on the latest data on the virus.

“Our school staff have made extraordinary efforts over the past year adapt to the complex and changing nature of the pandemic and we thank them for their hard work. Their safety is paramount and we will continue to work closely with our partners in the trade unions to ensure that all staff feel safe and confident to return.”