Coronavirus in Scotland: Nicola Sturgeon announces full-time return to school

The First Minister has announced that schools will reopen on August 11.

Schools in Scotland will reopen in full in August, the First Minister has announced.

But with pupils having been away from school for almost five months, she said some councils may adopt a phased approach to the return.

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The First Minister said: "It is a moral and educational imperative that we get children back to school as soon as is safely possible.

Children across Scotland have been studying from home during lockdown. (Photo by OLI SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

"In fact, a key reason for our cautious approach to lockdown over the last two months and over the next few weeks, is a determination to drive the virus down and keep prevalence low, so that schools can reopen in August.

"I am therefore pleased to confirm today that schools will return from August 11.

"Given how long children have been out of school, some local authorities may opt for a phased return over the first few days.

"But we expect all pupils to be at school full-time from August 18 at the latest."

Recruitment boost

To help schools, Nicola Sturgeon announced extra cash to recruit more teachers and for measures such as enhanced cleaning.

She said: "I can also confirm that - in addition to the £45 million previously announced - we will make a further £30 million available to support the recruitment of additional teachers.

"We anticipate that this total investment of £75 million will enable the recruitment of around 1,400 extra teachers.

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"In addition, will invest a further £30 million - on top of £20 million already announced - as part of a £50 million education recovery fund for local authorities.

"This will support extra cleaning, facilities management, school transport and other practical measures that are vital in ensuring a safe return to school."

Pause to shielding

Nicola Sturgeon said: "I'm sure the two main changes we are confirming today - a pause to shielding, and the full time reopening of schools - will be welcomed by people across the country.

"They are significant steps back to a less restricted way of life - and they also support a return to greater normality for the economy too."

But because those changes are being made, she added that "only a small number of further changes are planned during the next three weeks".

Ms Sturgeon said from Monday routine eye care services - including regular eye exams - can be carried out.

Counselling services, such as drug and alcohol support groups, will also be able to resume to "provide essential services".

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And sports coaches will be able to meet with groups of more than four households at a time.

The First Minister added that from August 17 a wider range of dental care can resume.

"Those are the only changes that we currently expect to make during the next three week period," she said.

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