Nicola Sturgeon has reiterated her priority to keep schools open as Scotland records its highest number of Covid-19 cases since the pandemic began.
Giving an update to parliament today, the First Minister outlined that 15,849 people tested positive for the virus in the latest 24-hour period.
She also indicated that it would be “reasonable to assume” there will be a “steep increases in cases” in the coming weeks.
Despite the rising case numbers, the Scottish Government remains committed to keeping schools open after the winter break.
Schools in Dundee, Perth and Kinross and Fife are due to return on Thursday January 6, with Angus schools due back on Monday January 10.
“Priority to keep schools open”
Responding to a question from Gillian Mackay MSP, Ms Sturgeon said: “Updated guidance was issued around safety in schools and other education settings just before the end of term to give local authorities and schools clarity on the steps they are required to take in advance of the new term.
“It remains our priority to keep schools open to minimise further disruption to children’s education but it’s vital that in doing so we make sure schools are kept as safe as possible.”
What is the updated guidance?
Groupings of children, along with further tightening of Covid restrictions in schools, are to be reintroduced from the start of next term.
This could mean the return of bubbles in schools in Tayside and Fife and resorting back to children eating lunches in classrooms.
Plans are currently being drawn up by councils and head teachers to implement the tighter restrictions in schools in Dundee, Angus and Perth and Kinross, and Fife.
These restrictions, introduced by the Scottish Government before the end of last term, also include 10-day isolation for contacts of a positive Covid case, limits on school visitors, better ventilation and more testing.
However the guidance also details how school staff may be exempt from self-isolation as critical workers.