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Education / Covid mitigations ‘so important’ in return to school, union says

Photo: Shetland News

THE LOCAL secretary of the EIS teaching union says extra measures to lessen the risk of Covid spreading in school are “so important” as secondary pupils settle back into life in the classroom.

Secondary pupils returned to the classroom on a full-time basis on Monday after learning from home since January.

The strict two metre physical distancing requirement between secondary aged pupils in schools has been relaxed, but there are other Covid mitigations and control measures in place such as ventilation and twice weekly lateral flow testing.

The return to school is a key part of the Scottish Government’s timetable of easing coronavirus restrictions.

Local EIS branch secretary Matthew Moss said the union “continues to urge caution” around learning in school – with safety a priority.

“The removal of physical distancing between pupils, particularly older pupils, will inevitably create a heightened risk of infection which is why the mitigations Shetland Islands Council and the teachers unions have worked on together to put in place are so important,” he said.

“Ventilation, the installation and monitoring of CO2 monitors, the provision of medical grade face coverings and social distancing where appropriate are essential and key to keeping schools as safe as possible.

“Schools will be reviewing and updating risk assessments in line with Scottish Government and local guidance.

“However, teachers are of course pleased to see pupils back in school and engage positively with them to support their well-being and their progress in learning following this period of great stress and uncertainty.

“There will be a particular challenge for senior pupils as lockdown has squeezed the time available for the alternative certification model produced by the SQA and this together with a focus on recovery, health and well-being for all pupils should be the priority for schools in the coming months.”