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Social distancing not necessary for Scottish school pupils

Barry Batchelor/PA

Social distancing not necessary for Scottish school pupils

Children and young people going back to primary and secondary school next month will not have to socially distance, the Scottish Government has confirmed.

New scientific advice for the safe reopening of schools and resumption of school transport states that no physical distance will be required in school or on dedicated school transport services for as long as infection rates in Scotland remain low.

The advice includes a package of measures on hygiene and contact management that must be in place to reduce the transmission of the virus, such as increased hand washing and surface cleaning, with everyone required to sanitise or wash their hands upon entering a school.

Other measures include as close as possible to zero tolerance of symptoms; minimising the sharing of equipment and books; avoiding large gatherings and keeping pupils within the same groups for the duration of the school day as much as possible.

Education Secretary John Swinney said: “This scientific advice will inform the way schools can reopen safely from 11 August, if infection rates continue to remain low.

“The Education Recovery Group which comprises local authorities, parent representatives and teachers’ organisations and trades unions, has been developing plans for how to open schools safely for everyone.

“We are considering this advice as we develop comprehensive guidance which will give confidence to our school communities that the safety and wellbeing of children, young people and staff is ensured as we welcome them back.

“Ensuring the highest quality education for our young people, in a safe environment, must be a priority for us all and I know that everyone is committed to make sure that children's education is not adversely affected in the longer term.”

In Scotland, as at 12 July, just 151 (0.8 per cent) of a total 18,365 positive cases were among people aged under 15. This is a rate of less than 20 per 100,000 of the population in that age group.

 

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