Scotland’s secondary school pupils could face strict social-distancing measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 when they return to the classroom.
A Scottish Government advisory group has recommended a two-metre distance between pupils, which is already in place for teachers at secondary schools.
The new report says pupils should also follow the rule to stay safe, and that it should also apply on school buses.
Education Secretary John Swinney described the recommendations as “an important scientific and clinical update”.
Scotland’s youngest pupils – primary 1-3 and pre-school pupils – were due to return to the classroom a week tomorrow as part of a phased reopening of schools.
But on Friday national clinical director Professor Jason Leitch said progress on reducing the spread of the virus, which has improved since lockdown, had “stalled”.
He said the first minister would decide tomorrow, after consulting with statisticians and public health leaders, whether that limited reopening could go ahead.
The advisory group also said there should be a two-metre distance between adults and primary pupils “whenever possible”.
Scottish Conservative education spokesperson Jamie Greene said: “Any proposals to accelerate the return to classrooms are welcome but safety guidance must also make sense, be proportionate and backed up with government resources to help councils and schools practically put the measures in place.”
EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: “We are concerned about the new Covid variant and its impact on transmissibility amongst young people. So we think mitigations beyond that from the advisory group are required – the use of medical-grade face masks, for example.
“We would support physical distancing amongst young people as well as secondary-aged pupils.”
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