A parents group has demanded that schools remain open even if there are further lockdowns.
While schools are to reopen fully after the summer holidays, there remains the warning that they could be closed or shift to blended learning if a spike in coronavirus cases leads to retightened restrictions.
Welcoming Thursday’s confirmation from the Scottish Government that pupils will return full-time from August 11, UsForThem Scotland called for schools to be classified as critical infrastructure.
Children have ‘borne the brunt’
The group, which has 8,800 members on social media, was set up in opposition to earlier plans for a part-time return to school, where pupils would have done some of their lessons at home.
It claimed there was extensive scientific evidence for the safe reopening of schools and that they should remain operational during any localised or nationwide shutdowns.
The organisation also claimed there was negligible risk from Covid-19 to children, yet they had “borne the brunt of the damage from lockdown”.
Organiser Johannah Bisset said: “We have evidence from schools around the world that it is safe to open schools.
“We refer to Professor Mark Woolhouse an epidemiologist from Edinburgh University and a member of SAGE who has said that it is impossible to identify a single case of a pupil infecting a teacher with coronavirus in any school in the world.
“He went on to say that there may be an isolated case in Australia but that this is not confirmed.
The evidence is clear that on balance of harm, schools must open and stay open. Our children have suffered too much already.”
Johannah Bisset, UsForThem Scotland
“We hope that parents and teachers are reassured by the extensive scientific data that schools are safe to open.
“The evidence is clear that on balance of harm, schools must open and stay open. Our children have suffered too much already.
“Schools in other European countries have been open for months and seemingly plan to remain open. We see no reason why Scotland’s schools are so problematic that they too cannot open and remain open.”
Scottish Government case
In its guidance for the reopening of schools, the Scottish Government pointed out that only 152 of the 18,452 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Scotland (0.8%) were among people aged under 15 and no one under the age of 20 had died.
It said suppression of the virus weighed against the importance of school to children’s development, wellbeing and right to education meant the balance of risk was strongly in favour of a full-time return to school.