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Scottish schools start re-opening – but the classroom will look different

Written by on 10/08/2020

Children in Scotland have started returning to school full-time as lockdown measures are eased slightly.

Schools in the Scottish Borders are the first to open today, while other areas will gradually open ahead of all pupils returning by 18 August, the Scottish government said.

Most will start to return on 12 August.

Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon visited West Calder High School in West Lothian to see how staff were preparing to welcome students back
Image: Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon visited West Calder High School in West Lothian to see how staff were preparing to welcome students back

Children in Scotland have been out of school since 20 March ahead of the country going into full lockdown on 23 March, along with the rest of the UK.

Pupils in the Borders are returning a week before they would usually start the school year after the summer holidays.

But the school day will look quite different, with staggered start and finish times, staggered lunch hours and shorter classes, while assemblies will be cancelled and PE will only happen outdoors.

Primary school children will not have to social distance but secondary school pupils will have to avoid close contact and not sit face to face at shared desks, while teachers will have to stay two metres from pupils.

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No pupils will be required to wear face coverings but teachers in close proximity to another adult for longer than 15 minutes will have to.

There will be one-way corridors, hand-washing stations and temporary classrooms in libraries, gym halls and dining rooms to help reduce class sizes where schools can.

The Scottish government said pupils and staff can wear face coverings if they want and will be encouraged to if an outbreak emerges in the community.

There are concerns over schools in Aberdeen reopening after the city was placed back under a stricter lockdown following a spike in cases, including two Aberdeen football players, linked to several bars.

Scotland’s national clinical director Jason Leitch said parents should be “cautious” but not “overly worried”.

However, he added that schools will be in the “equation” if tougher measures are necessary.

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In England, the government is making the reopening of schools in September a “national priority” as Education Secretary Gavin Williamson suggested an upcoming study found little evidence COVID-19 can be spread widely in schools.

Wales is also planning to reopen all its schools full-time in September.

Some Northern Ireland pupils are set to start returning to school from 24 August, with all children back in the classroom from the 31 August.

 Sky News

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