TEACHERS in Fife are anxious and bemused over the measures being introduced at high schools before the Easter holidays.

That’s according to EIS Fife representative David Farmer, who believes the approach to blended learning before the break will place a strain on staff.

All Scottish secondary school pupils returned to school for some of their education on Monday last week, ahead of a full-time return after Easter.

A face-covering must be worn (unless medically exempt) and two-metre social distancing will be required until at least the holidays.

However, should there be no requirement for two-metre social distancing when pupils make a full-time return, it will mean that teaching staff will have had to have made different safety measures – including revised timetables, seating plans and risk assessments – twice within the space of one month.

Mr Farmer, EIS Fife publicity officer, is concerned about the Government’s approach to the return of secondary pupils.

He said: “In their guidance around the return to school, the Scottish Government notes “there is understandable anxiety amongst staff”.

“Fife EIS would fully echo that assertion and note bemusement on the part of staff as well.

“Science apparently dictates that two-metre social-distancing will be adhered to in secondary schools in the two-week period between March 15 and the Easter holiday. Fife EIS wonders if this is the same science that says this measure does not need to apply after that holiday?

“EIS members in primary schools (primary school children returned full-time on Monday) also wonder about the scientific validity of not providing enhanced face-coverings (an expectation of the EIS nationally) for staff and children, and the scientific basis for the promotion of the idea that there is no COVID-19 risk to, and from, younger children.

“Fife EIS welcomes the return of children to schools. Our members know this is the best educational and social interaction for children and staff.

“We wonder though about the logic, both educational and social, of creating a system of return which then needs to be re-created two weeks later?

“Scottish teachers have essentially been bounced into this. Our discussions with education service Fife Council around the unresolved dispute which our members voted for in December 2020 continue.

“That disputes centres around health and safety concerns across all sectors. Those concerns have not gone away.”

In response, a Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The phased approach to school return is firmly based on the expert advice that we have received.

“It is the best and also the most sustainable and enduring way to get as many children back to school as possible, as safely as possible.

“Councils will decide how to safely balance in-school learning based on local circumstances.”