THE Scottish Government has today revealed plans on how schools can reopen safely next month.

The guidance also sets out plans for the resumption of school transport.

A new package of measures on hygiene and contact management is being put in place to stop any further spread of the coronavirus when classes begin from August 11.

Will pupils have to physically distance?

The advice also indicates that no physical distancing is required between children and young people in primary and secondary schools.

However the 2metre distance rule should “remain in place wherever possible between adults” and between adults interacting with pupils.

“Where adults cannot keep two metre distance, are interacting face-to-face and for about 15 minutes or more, face coverings should be worn,” the advice said.

Will school buses be running?

On school transport, the advice says dedicated services should be regarded as an extension of the school estate, with physical distancing measures between pupils therefore unnecessary for as long as infection rates in Scotland remain low.

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My child uses public transport, what about them?

For pupils using public transport, the advice recommends that guidance from the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland should continue to apply.

Therefore the wearing of face coverings will be mandatory on these journeys.

What other rules will be in place?

The package of measures that must be put in place to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus includes:

  • There should be an increased emphasis on hand hygiene and surface cleaning. Hand washing and/or sanitising should be required for everyone on every entry to the school.
  • As close as possible to zero tolerance of symptoms should be in place, and strict compliance with the Test and Protect system.
  • In both primary and secondary settings, the preference should be to avoid large gatherings and crowded spaces and, as much as possible, to keep pupils within the same groups for the duration of the school day.  
  • Sharing of equipment/utensils/toys/books should be minimised; and smaller groups and more outdoor activities put in place. 
  • Movement between schools - of children, and of temporary/ supply/peripatetic staff should be kept to an absolute minimum.

How many young people have had the virus?

In Scotland, as at July 12, 151 (0.8%) of a total 18,365 positive cases were among people aged under 15.

This is a rate of less than 20 per 100,000 of the population in that age group.

What does the Scottish Government say?

Education Secretary John Swinney said: “This scientific advice will inform the way schools can re-open safely from August 11, if infection rates continue to remain low.

“The Education Recovery Group which comprises local authorities, parent representatives and teachers’ organisations and trades unions, has been developing plans for how to open schools safely for everyone.

“We are considering this advice as we develop comprehensive guidance which will give confidence to our school communities that the safety and wellbeing of children, young people and staff is ensured as we welcome them back.

“Ensuring the highest quality education for our young people, in a safe environment, must be a priority for us all and I know that everyone is committed to make sure that children's education is not adversely affected in the longer term.”

The full guidance can be found on the Scottish Government website here.