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Back to school for some

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By Fiona Reid
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Back to school for some

YOUNGER pupils go back to school today.

Pre-schoolers and P1-3s will will be back in class full time, along with limited contact time for senior phase students.

Childcare hubs will also continue for key workers’ children and those considered vulnerable.

However, the majority of primary and secondary school pupils will re-start remote learning today and face being at home until at least mid-March.

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said: “Children and young people have been missing their school friends and online learning is no substitute for being in school. It’s also frustrating that although more teachers will be back in school, the Scottish Government are still clueless over whether key workers such as school staff will be vaccinated anytime soon.”

And Laura Moodie, Scottish Green Party lead candidate for South Scotland Region, commented: “It is right that reopening schools is a priority and we welcome the phased return of students from 22 February. But this can’t happen at any cost.

“This must be done safely, or we will see an avoidable surge in infections, as other countries have done. Regular testing is key to a safe return, but it is not the only step. Other measures, such as priority vaccinations for staff who care for pupils with complex additional support needs will also be essential.”

Meanwhile, the local branch of the EIS union, which represents teachers, has called for more mitigations to protect staff and pupils.

Their branch secretary Andrew O’Halloran has called for the use of clinical grade face masks, improved ventilation measures, greater use of pupil bubbles and staggered school day arrangements.

He welcomed the introduction of voluntary twice weekly testing for staff and senior pupils and is urging his members to participate fully in the programme.

And he also wants to see vaccination of school staff being prioritised by the Scottish Government.

 

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