Reminder to parents to social distance when dropping kids off at school.

Kids are all set to start returning to school in a phased system.Kids are all set to start returning to school in a phased system.
Kids are all set to start returning to school in a phased system.
The need for parents to stick to social distancing rules when dropping off and picking up children from from school has been emphasised by the Chair of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Education and Children Services’ Committee as he welcomed the announcement by Nicola Sturgeon that Early Years and P1-P3 pupils, along with some senior pupils, will return to school from next Monday.

Originally the authority had advised schools were returning on Tuesday, but have now corrected this to Monday, 22nd.

Cllr Paul Steele said: “Our children and young people have been, and will continue to be, well served by e-Sgoil and distance learning but there’s no doubt that in person teaching, as well as being able to interact with their classmates, is something that they’ve missed. “Some senior pupils will be allowed to return for practical purposes and we have procedures in place to allow that to happen safely.

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“However, it is important to emphasise that this isn’t an easing of restrictions, we are still in tier four and as tempting as it might be to mix with other parents when dropping off or picking up children from school we need to stick to the distancing rules.

"The review in a fortnight’s time will give us a clearer indication on future plans in relation to any further easing of restrictions or increases in pupil numbers in schools. The clear message is that this will only happen if the data backs it up.

"We must remain vigilant and follow FACTS.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said in a statement to the Scottish Parliament on Monday that across Scotland all children in P1 to P3 and those at pre-school would be returning to classrooms from Monday, February 22 but others would continue home-based learning with the exception of some secondary pupils who need access to school facilities to complete their coursework.

Details of the next phase of a return to school for other pupils could be set out in early March, the First Minister confirmed but warned that it was unlikely that other groups of pupils would see a return to school before March 15 at the earliest.

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Teaching union The EIS said in a statement that ”significant concerns over school safety remain to be addressed” and that a ' precautionary approach’ to reopening schools “remains essential”, and has called for the plans to be reconsidered by Scottish Government to facilitate “a blended approach in primary schools, which would allow for physical distancing amongst pupils”.

Commenting, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said: "Everyone is supportive of face-to-face teaching returning as soon as possible – that should not override safety concerns, however, and teachers will be understandably nervous around the announcement.”

Lorraine Thomson, Chair of UNISON Scotland Education Issues Group said: “Employers must ensure that risk assessments are taking place, that staff are aware of these assessments and are trained so that they can work safely. Proper implementation of appropriate mitigations is the only way to keep staff, children and the wider community safe."

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