Less than half of teachers in Scotland feel safe in schools as concerns grow over the spread of Covid, a survey has revealed.
A survey of more than 16,000 members of Scotland’s largest teaching union, the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), found that just 12% felt ‘very safe’ in schools with the Covid mitigations currently in place.
A further 35% responded that they felt ‘somewhat safe’ with the current mitigations. The survey also showed that 19% feel ‘neither safe nor unsafe’.
The survey flagged concerns about ventilation in schools, with 30% of respondents saying they do not believe that their working space is well ventilated to combat risk of Covid spread.
Just 32% of respondents believe that their school has a procedure in place to raise concerns about inadequate ventilation.
According to the Scottish Government, around 22,000 CO2 monitors have been purchased for schools across Scotland.
A Courier investigation found that out of these, 1,117 have been provided to Dundee schools, 1,581 to Angus schools and 1,523 for Perth and Kinross schools.
Fife Council had been provided with provided with 1,290 carbon dioxide monitors to distribute to schools in the Kingdom.
Teachers want mask mandate to remain
The survey also found that 55% of respondents want to see face coverings retained throughout winter.
Just 6% of teachers want to see face coverings in secondary schools removed at the present time.
The current guidance states that secondary school pupils and staff must cover their faces at all times when they are at school.
In October, the Scottish Government said this guidance would remain in place to allow more time for 12 to 15-year-olds to take up the Covid-19 vaccine.
Speaking at the time, education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said there was “no room for complacency” in the fight against the coronavirus and insists the continuing in-school mitigations were the result of advice from senior clinicians.
“Scotland’s teachers remain concerned”
EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, “It is clear from this major survey that Scotland’s teachers remain concerned about many aspects of Covid safety within schools.
“The emergence of new variants such as Omicron, coupled with the higher risk of illness during the winter months, will only increase the risk of Covid infection spreading through school communities.”
“Teachers continue to work flat-out, in the face of the continuing Covid pandemic, to ensure a quality learning experience for young people. It is clear, however, that the threat of Covid has not gone away and, also, that teachers remain concerned about the potential risk to pupils, staff and their families.
“Councils, and the Scottish Government, must listen to and act upon the concerns expressed by teachers.”