Scottish Government challenged over school rule ‘inconsistencies’
The Scottish Government has been challenged on the COVID rules to remain in place in schools when pupils return later this month.
The Scottish Conservatives have said that making face masks mandatory for school pupils but not nightclub goers is a “glaring inconsistency”.
The party is calling for pupils to be allowed to remove their face masks when in school.
But the government has said such mitigations must remain in place as a result of changes to self-isolation rules for children.
The First Minister announced on Tuesday that face masks and one metre social distancing would continue to be required while inside school buildings, including during lessons.
These rules are set to remain in place for at least six weeks while the impact of changes to other rules are assessed.
But Scottish Tory education spokesperson Oliver Mundell warned that pupils were being “left behind as the country gets back to normal”.
He said: “After a year of disrupted learning, young people need a speedy return to normality. They deserve to once again get a normal learning and social experience.
“Instead, pupils will be wearing face masks in schools and missing out on typical events, long after restrictions have been removed in other settings.
“People, especially parents, have been left baffled and frustrated by the lack of consistent logic.”
As a result of the new self-isolation rules, whole classes will no longer have to isolate if one pupil tests positive.
Further, those aged 12 to 17 will be asked to take a PCR test, but the period of self-isolation can be ended if the result is negative.
Teaching union the EIS has previously welcomed the continued mitigations.
Assistant secretary David Belsey said: “The six-week period of no changes to mitigations will provide a degree of reassurance to school staff and some certainty as to what to expect when returning to classrooms.
“This will also allow for meaningful consultation between Scottish Government, local authorities and teachers’ unions before any further changes.”