Schools in Tayside and Fife will look very different post-lockdown as local authorities develop “recovery plans” to re-open in August.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney announced councils will work with schools to develop a “regional” approach to blended and in-school learning but early plans suggest pupils could be in the classroom just two days a week.
In a letter to parents, Grove Academy in Dundee said the school faces a “considerable number of challenges” as classroom sizes could shrink to 10 pupils at a time, meaning fewer than half of the school will be on site.
Management at the Broughty Ferry school said it is likely pupils may only be in the classroom for around 1.5 days per week.
Core curriculum subjects such as home economics could be restricted due to physical distancing guidelines.
A Dundee City Council spokesperson said: “We will be working with the schools to help them develop their own individual plans within the city-wide framework.
“These will take account of individual building layouts and size of the pupil roll and how measures like physical distancing will be implemented so that everyone is accommodated safely.”
It is understood exceptions will be made for shielding staff and pupils, while education hubs for vulnerable children will remain in place.
Fife Council announced it will be developing a blended model of in-school and home learning which would see children attend school at different times.
Pupils will be asked to stay two metres apart on school grounds, however younger children will be allowed to stay in small groups where distancing would be difficult.
A spokesperson said: “Children will be returning to school in August across Scotland, but it won’t be the same as before.
“To keep our pupils and staff safe we need to ensure physical distancing. This will mean changes to previous patterns of attendance at schools, arriving and leaving at different times, different break and lunch times.”
Teachers returned to schools on Monday to prepare for the re-opening as Perth and Kinross Council said a plan is being developed which is likely to include “a blend of in-school and at home learning for almost all children.”
Angus Council are also developing a part-time, rota-basis return, however the authority are still working with head teachers to develop “recovery plans”.
The Scottish Government announced a blueprint on Thursday for re-opening schools on August 11, which includes the use of “alternative facilities” to return pupils to schools.
However Mr Swinney stressed local authorities will be tasked with developing the approach within national guidelines.
He said: “The health and wellbeing of children and young people is our priority, which is why in implementing this guidance, we will adopt a caution approach and monitor progress to inform decisions on further changes to restrictions.
“It is important to stress that there will be regional variation in the approach to implementation. It is for councils to work with teachers and put in place the best solutions locally. I am certain they will rise to the challenge.”