Schools will return full-time in August if Scotland continues to make progress on suppressing coronavirus (COVID-19), Deputy First Minister John Swinney announced today.
The moves comes after significant progress was made in reducing incidence rates of the virus, putting Scotland on a more positive trajectory than previously expected.
Blended learning – where pupils have a combination of face-to-face teaching in schools and home learning – will be the Government’s “contingency” if it is deemed unsafe for schools to reopen without social distancing.
Mr Swinney said that progress made suppressing the spread of Covid-19 has allowed the Government to aim for a return to full-time schooling.
He said “If we stay on track, if we all continue to do what is right, and if we can further suppress this terrible virus, the Government believes that we should prepare for children to be able to return to school full-time in August.
“I must stress, this is the aim that the Government is now working towards.
“However, because it has to be achieved safely, it inevitably remains conditional and dependent upon ongoing scientific and health advice.
“If we continue to make progress at the rate we envisage by August, it is possible.
“I have to be honest with parliament and admit, but when we prepared our plans back in May, I frankly could not have imagined that we would have made as much progress in virus suppression as we have.
“But it is a change born out of the hard work and sacrifice of people in every part of the country. sticking to the guidance, staying at home and suppressing this virus.”
It’s understood school head teachers will keep parents up to date on the school plans.
Although the news welcomed by MSPs opposition politicians have slated the Scottish Government’s handling of the affair.
Scottish Conservative Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Education said “This is a monumental U-turn from the Deputy First Minister, who for weeks has struggled to demonstrate clear leadership on this issue.
“I am delighted that common sense has finally prevailed, and we can start getting children back into the classroom and let parents get back into the workplace.”