Many parents are anxious about sending children back to school full-time in August, according to a national parents leader.
The Scottish Government’s announcement that schools should prepare for a full return after the summer the holidays has divided opinion and while some celebrated last week’s u-turn others are extremely worried, said Joanna Murphy.
Education Secretary John Swinney said if coronavirus remains suppressed he wants all pupils in class Monday to Friday, rather than part-time, as was previously planned, learning in school and at home.
His announcement last Tuesday came as pressure grew, including from various parent groups, for children to return to school fully.
National Parent Forum of Scotland chairwoman Ms Murphy said: “A lot of people are pleased with the decision but there is still a lot of anxiety.
“The virus is not going away and people have forgotten how scared they were coming out of schools in March.”
Joanna Murphy, National Parent Forum of Scotland
“The virus is not going away and people have forgotten how scared they were coming out of schools in March.
“There are a lot of parents that are scared still and anxious that many people in the NHS are saying they are expecting a second wave.”
She said the forum represented parents with a wide spectrum of views and that there was real reason to be optimistic that the infection rate of Covid-19 was dropping.
But she said the return of all pupils was particularly concerning for pupils and staff with health issues if social distancing is not maintained in schools.
She said: “I have heard a lot of anxieties from parents and staff who are shielding and who are completely isolated by all this. It means they can’t go back at all while everyone else is going back.
“There is also a significant amount of people who thought that having smaller classes was going to be a good thing. Pupils would have had half of the time in school but that half was going to be good value, particularly for children with ASN (additional support needs).
“A lot of people thought it was a good start to back in for that half-time model and progress to full-time.”
Earlier this month the forum hosted an online question and answer session with Mr Swinney, which was watched by over 4,000 people.
Ms Murphy said that parents had really engaged with home learning and taken a keener interest in their children’s education and how it was delivered during lockdown.
She said: “The one thing we are really pleased about is the level of parental engagement.
“It’s great for parents to be involved with schools and their children’s education.”