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The NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union has called on the Deputy First Minister to take urgent steps to ensure the safe return to schools of pupils and staff in January by a plan for mass testing and blended learning for pupils.

The Union has urged the Deputy First Minister to take further steps to minimise the risk of virus transmission as schools return in January, including delaying the physical return to school for all staff and pupils and introducing remote and blended learning, particularly in areas where virus levels are high or rising significantly.

Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said:

“The Deputy First Minister has said that a further national lockdown is possible due to a ‘rising tide of Covid’. This is only likely to be exacerbated by greater household mixing over Christmas. Remote and blended learning, together with a credible programme of mass testing, could help to ensure that schools are covid-safe when they reopen next term and help to suppress the transmission of the virus in the wider community.

“It is vital that the Government does whatever it takes to prevent a further surge in Covid-19 cases when schools return in the New Year.”

Jane Peckham, NASUWT National Official Scotland, said:

“The government must take stronger action which puts the health, safety and welfare of children and the school workforce first in order to avoid a surge of Coronavirus cases in the New Year.

“A delay to the full reopening of all schools, coupled with a shift to remote and blended learning in areas of high virus transmission and the roll out of routine testing is the sensible and responsible course of action to protect the welfare, safety and health of pupils, the education workforce and wider community, and also to minimise the disruption to pupils’ learning.”

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