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Coronavirus / Schools back on Monday, council confirms

Photo: Shetland News

FOLLOWING Tuesday’s announcement by first minister Nicola Sturgeon that all pupils in Scotland will return to the classrooms after the Easter break, Shetland Islands Council has confirmed that full-time education is due to re-start on Monday (12 April).

A strict two metre physical distancing requirement between secondary aged pupils in schools will be relaxed to accommodate their return, the local authority confirmed.

However, other Covid-19 mitigations and control measures such as ventilation and twice-weekly lateral flow testing will be increasingly important.

Twice-weekly testing will be available for all secondary aged pupils, as well as all school and early learning and childcare staff.

Director of children’s services Helen Budge said her department would write to parents and carers today (Wednesday) with further clarification and reassurance.

“Now that we have the required confirmation of the full-time return from the Scottish Government, as well as published supplementary guidance, we will update our local Covid-19 guidance to ensure that we have all the appropriate control measures and mitigations in place to support the safety of children, young people and staff, she said.

“All our education settings are Covid-19 secure and the safety and wellbeing of staff and learners continues to be paramount to all our planning.”

Education committee chairman George Smith added: “A huge amount of effort has gone into making remote learning work, but our secondary aged children and young people have missed the stability of attending school last term and interacting with their peers, their teachers and their support staff.

“It will be a significant step forward to see the full-time return after the Easter holidays.”