Coronavirus / Phased return for schools given go-ahead

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Photo: Scottish Government.

FIRST minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that early learning and primary one to three pupils will return to schools and nurseries as planned from next week.

Sturgeon made the announcement in the Scottish Parliament this afternoon (Tuesday).

The Scottish Government outlined this plan earlier this month, but it waited a fortnight to assess the situation with the spread of coronavirus before giving it the green light.

In Shetland the phased return will involve children in council run early learning and childcare settings and all primary one to primary three children, returning full-time, after the February long weekend, from 23 February.

Other nurseries not run by the council can return from 22 February in line with national guidance. Hame Fae Hame in Scalloway, for example, is due to reopen on this date.

There will also be a part-time return, on a very limited basis, for senior phase, secondary four to secondary six, pupils to allow completion of essential practical work for national qualification courses.


There is also due to more increased provision for vulnerable bairns.

Sturgeon said that a further update on the phased return of education is likely to be outlined in a fortnight.

However, she said it is unlikely there will be any further return to school before 15 March.

Sturgeon also said that there will be no changes to the current coronavirus restrictions until at least the start of March.

However, the government will issue a new strategic framework next week for how Scotland will emerge from the current restrictions.

There is little information at this stage but the first minister did say that ‘staycations’ in Scotland will not be doable in the Easter, but this could be possible in the summer.

Overseas travel, however, is expected to be off limits for some time.

Sturgeon urged people to stick to the rules and stressed that caution is needed.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


“We must be driven much more by data than dates,” she said, adding that it could be dangerous if the country is opened up to meet particular “arbitrary” dates.

The parliament was also told that “trade offs” will be a common theme once restrictions begin to ease, with schools for instance being prioritised over some other areas.

The first minister also said that as of 8.30am this morning 1,288,004 people in Scotland had received a first dose of the Covid vaccine.

NHS Shetland chairman Gary Robinson confirmed this morning that over 7,000 folk in the isles had received their first dose.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.