Covid Scotland: Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville says Scottish Government is looking 'very seriously' at changes to self-isolation rules in schools

Scotland’s Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville has said that the Scottish Government is looking ‘very seriously’ at changes which could be made to self-isolation rules for school pupils after the holidays.

Speaking on BBC Good Morning Scotland Ms Somerville said that the Government was determined to “everything it could to ensure that young people can go back in the next academic year, being supported by their teachers in as safe a way as possible with as few restrictions as possible”.

She added this will only be possible if the clinical advice allows for it to happen.

New research found that pupils in Scotland lost a third of normal learning time this year due to the pandemic.

Ms Somerville said the new data was a concern and added for context that at the end of the school term “the absence rates in schools was about four per cent but only three per cent of that number actually had Covid-19, the vast majority of the rest of the children were self-isolating."

She continued: “That is why the Scottish Government is looking very seriously about whether we can make changes to the self-isolation measures that are in place for children and young people as we move into the next academic year.”

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Ms Somerville went on to say that the Government will issue a “base guidance” for all schools to follow after the summer and that specific advice will be given in individual circumstances to support schools experiencing outbreaks of Covid-19.

Shirley-Anne Somerville has said that the Scottish Government is looking ‘very seriously’ at changes which could be made to self-isolation rules for school pupils after the holidays.

She said: “I think it’s very important that the schools along with local public health advisers do what is right for the particular circumstance within that school.

"We weren’t seeing large outbreaks within many schools at all before they broke up for summer, it was mostly community transmission then coming into schools, but that’s why it can vary.

"What we’ll absolutely have is a set base guidance – I would hope for the whole of Scotland – as we move beyond Level zero, but absolutely what we will also have are measures that schools can put in place if they are required to do so, for example if there are number of cases that do come into the school, the school would be supported as always by public health officials to be able to know what’s right.”

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