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Commenting on the publication of updated Covid guidance for schools in Scotland, Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said:

“The belated publication of further advice by the Scottish Government in response to the increased threat of Covid transmission is welcome, but it is also clear that much more needs to be done to keep teachers and pupils safe whilst schools remain open fully.

“The latest revisions to the Government’s guidance will only make a difference in helping to keep teachers and pupils safe if it is backed up by concrete actions to ensure that the guidance is followed consistently across all schools.

“The Scottish Government must also act to ensure that employers urgently review and update their Covid-19 risk assessments and safety mitigation measures in light of this revised guidance and the increasing incidence of Covid across Scotland.

“The NASUWT has been clear from the outset that teachers and other school staff must be afforded the same levels of protection as all other workers. The strengthening of the guidance for schools on the use of face masks by staff, pupils and parents is welcome, but the Government must also address the lack of any effective physical distancing in schools which continues to be a major factor in helping the spread of the Coronavirus in schools.

“Whilst it is welcome that the latest Government guidance accepts that where schools cannot be made safe for clinically vulnerable teachers and other staff they should work from home, it is clear that no school can be made risk free. The Government and employers must ensure that those staff whose lives are most at risk as a result of this second wave of Coronavirus transmission are given a clear entitlement to stay at home and work from home.

“The NASUWT will be insisting that the Government continues to review the situation and to go further to ensure the safety of schools as the current situation demands.”

Jane Peckham, NASUWT National Official Scotland, said:

“It is important that steps are taken in all schools to reinforce greater compliance with the all of the required safety measures, particularly hand hygiene, physical distancing and face coverings to ensure schools remain safe.

“Alongside this revised guidance schools also require even more additional funding in order to meet the continuing and increasing costs of managing Covid and ensuring that they are fully compliant with all of the required safety measures.

“Budgets are coming under real pressure and the safety of staff and pupils must not be sacrificed due to cost.”

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