All schools in Scotland will close from the end of the week due to the coronavirus, according to Nicola Sturgeon.
At a press conference in Edinburgh the First Minister said the measures would be “inevitable”, adding that schools and nurseries lost too many staff to continue as normal.
Mrs Sturgeon said: “As on everything else I want to be as open and transparent as possible.
“My point of view is that it is now inevitable that we will close schools and nurseries. And my planning assumption now is that schools will close to pupils at the end of this week and I wanted today to give parents notice of that now.
“There are two key drivers of that view. The first is the science. Sage (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) are examining new advice, literally as we speak I expect. That is likely to tell us to close schools.
“Secondly we have the reality on the ground. As people do the right thing and follow the advice to self-isolate, or to isolate as a household, more and more schools are approaching a point where they have lost too many staff to continue as normal.
“We are working closely with schools and tomorrow the Deputy First Minister will set out in a statement to parliament the arrangements we are putting in place.
— Scottish Government (@scotgov) March 18, 2020
“In particular he will address key questions that I know parents, pupils and teachers will have including what this will mean for vulnerable pupils, those receiving free schools meals, because we must not cut adrift vulnerable children.”
She said she wanted to reassure teachers and school staff that the government would work with them.
Scotland’s chief medical officer Dr Catherine Calderwood said the timing of school closures was held off due to it potentially causing “huge social disruption”.
She added: “The timing of those school closing measures has really been held off as something we did not want to do.”
Mrs Sturgeon added: “It is with sadness this afternoon that I have to confirm the death of one more patient.”
As of Wednesday, there were 227 confirmed positive covid-19 cases across Scotland.