A week on from announcing her cautious routemap out of lockdown, Nicola Sturgeon prepares to address Parliament this afternoon for the weekly coronavirus restriction review.
Today’s announcement follows the news yesterday that three cases of the Brazilian variant were confirmed in Scotland.
It is expected that the First Minister will also give more details on the phased return of schools.
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Nicola Sturgeon coronavirus update RECAP: First Minister to give latest update to Holyrood
Last updated: Tuesday, 02 March, 2021, 15:16
FM confirms just under 14,500 care home residents in Scotland have received second dose of vaccine which represents about 48 per cent of elderly residents
Guidance on entering people’s homes will be amended by the Scottish Government to make clear supporting new parents is allowed
FM said: ““We are amending guidance on this today, to make it clear that those essential purposes include support for the welfare and wellbeing of a parent of a child who is under the age of one.
“I hope that gives clarity – and enables vital support – for parents of very young children.”
The Scottish Government will consider in the next week if the easing of restrictions can be accelerated, FM said
She said she and ministers would be considering if the exit from lockdown can be moved forward.
She said: “I have always said if we can go further and faster, then we will not hesitate to do so.
“All of us want to move on as quickly as possible – and, as a priority, to see friends and family again. I hope that day is now not too far away.
“But to make sure we don’t see any reverse in our progress that would put that in jeopardy, it is really important that, for now, we all need to abide by the lockdown rules.
“So please continue to stick to their letter and their spirit.”
‘We are working to do everyone over the age of 50 by mid-April,’ FM confirms
Anas Sarwar asks about daily vaccination target
FM said Scotland is on target when there are enough supplies.
‘We are in a position to go as fast as we have supplies,’ FM said.
Anas Sarwar asks the FM if the Scottish Government will set out a national recovery plan for Scotland’s pupils and the education system
He said figures recently revealed show more than 1,500 children are on waiting lists or already waited more than a year to be seen for their mental health. And in the last quarter, one in four children had their referral rejected.
He asks what more can the government do to help these children?
FM says work to support the recovery of education is underway - provision of tutoring support and extra funding for teachers and local authorities to use flexibly on what is most appropriate, for example.
On mental health, FM said the government has already published a mental health recovery plan for child and adolescents.
MSP Ruth Davidson kicks off questions raising concerns over ability to welcome pupils back with social distancing in place
The Conservative MSP shared concerns about schools’ ability to welcome all pupils back while sticking to social distancing, asking what measures are in place to make this work.
FM said the exit from lockdown might be quicker and come sooner than we may have believed a few weeks ago but stressed the importance of not moving too quickly and ‘jeopardising’ the current success in suppressing the virus.
FM reminds the public to follow FACTS to make it easier for children to return to school and for everyone to return to normality, sooner
‘As we come out of this lockdown, we are prioritising the welfare and education of our children,’ says FM
‘Safety of staff and children are a key priority’, FM said
Two metre social distancing will be monitored in secondary schools and face masks must be worn as pupils return, FM said.
Classrooms will see improved ventilation to help prevent further spread of the virus.
Lateral flow testing will also be introduced into schools as pupils and teachers return.
Remote learning will continue to be given ‘at the highest standard’, FM says
‘We will make sure online learning is still provided for pupils across the country,’ FM said.
Students in year 4 to 6 who are taking national qualifications will have priority for face-to-face lessons in school.
Although years 4 to 6 will have priority, all pupils in secondary will school should be guaranteed some ‘in-school’ education up until the Easter break and then return full time following that.
FM confirms the next phase of reopening schools will take place on March 15
From 15 March, unless circumstances change, all children in primary 4 to 7 will go back to school on a full time basis.
All primary school children will be able to return to regulated child care, including after school and breakfast clubs.
From 15 March will also see next steps for phased return for secondary school pupils - with all secondary school pupils due to be returned to school on a full time basis following the Easter holidays.
But there are plans for secondary pupils to spend some time in school in between March 15 up to the Easter break, FM adds.