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Responding to the announcement by the First Minister that schools in Scotland will now remain closed until at least mid-February, except for key worker and vulnerable children, Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said:

“As the First Minister has said today, the situation remains grave with health services continuing to come under immense strain and infection levels across the community still running at high levels.

“In such circumstances it is entirely right for schools to remain closed to the majority of pupils and the only sensible choice at this time to protect public health.

“It will now be vital that in reviewing the closure of schools on 2 February the First Minister continues to be guided by the medical and scientific evidence.

“We all want all pupils to be able to return to their schools as soon as possible, but the priority must remain the safety, health and welfare of children, young people and school staff.”
 
Jane Peckham, NASUWT National Official Scotland, said:

“We share the First Minister’s view that the current risks to pupils, staff and communities remain too high for schools to be reopened at the start of February.

“Ministers must take a cautious and preventative approach to deciding when the time is right to begin to reopen schools more widely to pupils.

“Any decision to reopen schools must also be accompanied by additional safety mitigations and measures for schools so that further disruption to pupils’ education is minimised.

“Such measures must include effective arrangements for the mass testing of pupils, provisions to support social distancing between staff and pupils and for the mandatory wearing of face masks and visors in all areas of schools and colleges.

“Prioritising access to covid vaccines for teachers and school staff would also help ensure schools can stay open safely.”  

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