Coronavirus in Scotland: John Swinney vows to test childcare staff as pupils return to Scottish schools

Childcare staff at Scotland’s schools will be tested for coronavirus, the Deputy First Minister has announced, as some pupils prepare to return to in-person classes.

Speaking at the Scottish Government’s daily briefing, John Swinney also said around 2,500 schools had now received testing kits, despite the challenges presented by severe weather in recent weeks.

A small proportion of older pupils are set to return to in-person classes later this month in order to complete work for practical subjects.

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Mr Swinney said at-home lateral flow tests would be given to students and childcare staff twice a week, with planning in place to test other workers in educational settings.

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“The first phase of testing will include childcare staff based in schools,” he told reporters.

“We're currently working through the practical arrangements for rolling out testing to childcare staff working in other types of nursery settings, and we will provide further details and nursery arrangements, very soon.”

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He encouraged everyone offered a test to take it, but insisted that doing so is “entirely voluntary.”

He added: “The use of testing is a very important addition to the other safety mitigations, which are already in place.

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Deputy First Minister John Swinney hosts a daily briefing from St Andrews House, Edinburgh.

“Of course the evidence suggests that the key risk and reopening schools isn't transmission within schools and nurseries, but the greater contact that leads to among the adult population.”

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Mr Swinney asked parents and carers to continue working from home if they have been doing so.

“We're now dealing with a much more transmissible form of the virus,” he said.

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“So we need to respond accordingly by making it even more difficult for the virus to spread.”

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