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Commenting on the First Minister’s announcement on the Covid guidance and measures which will be in place for the return of schools in Scotland, Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said:

“The NASUWT had cautioned that removing all measures would be premature and that a more cautious approach is needed to better protect the health and welfare of pupils and staff and minimise any further disruption to pupils’ learning. It is right that the Government responds to the concerns raised.

“We welcome confirmation that Ministers have accepted the NASUWT’s arguments for maintaining current Covid safety mitigations when schools reopen after the summer break, including the requirement for face coverings to be worn by pupils and school staff.

“No one wants to see a further wave of infections when schools reopen for the autumn term and it is essential that a cautious approach continues to be followed.

“However, in addition to the need for caution, greater urgency is also needed from the Government. Whilst there has been strong evidence for some time supporting the extended use of CO2 monitors and the need for greater investment in improving ventilation in classrooms, the Government has been slow to respond. Today’s announcement that all schools will have access to CO2 monitors, however, does not go far enough.  CO2 monitors should be in place in every school as part of an effective Covid safety response.

“The changes to the rules on self-isolation of close contacts of Covid cases will make it even more important that action is taken to guarantee compliance with all Covid safety requirements and that safety is not left to chance.

“School employers must also take seriously their legal responsibilities to provide safe working conditions for their employees and the NASUWT will once again be reminding school employers of their statutory obligations to ensure that Covid safety plans and risk assessments are kept up to date.”

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