Anxious parents who choose to keep their children off school over coronavirus health fears will not face punishment in Perth and Kinross.
Council bosses have promised not to take action against worried families, saying they will “respect” the concerns of those who feel too scared to let their children return to lessons next month.
Education director Sheen Devlin set out the local authority’s position during a question-and-answer session with councillors.
She also pledged a “zero tolerance” approach to virus symptoms in schools.
Highland councillor John Duff asked Ms Devlin about the policy if “parents chose to keep their children off school as a result of concerns about Covid-19.”
Ms Devlin said: “I am very conscious for many people, this will be an anxious and worrying time, and different people will rightly have a different view of what they think is appropriate.”
She said: “If any parent or carer has concern or anxiety about their children and young people coming to school, we would want to understand what those concerns and anxieties are and what it is that we could do that might help reassure them and give them confidence to send their children and young people back to school.
“We would work very closely through our head teachers and staff at schools to do that.”
Ms Devlin told councillors: “We recognise that for some people that they will not want to do that, and if that is the case that is a decision we would respect.
“I would want to confirm that it would not be our intention to take any kind of punitive action if that was the case.”
It comes after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon gave the go-ahead for schools to reopen on August 11.
Perth and Kinross Council said that contingency plans were in place if the situation changes and a blended teaching model is needed.
Praising staff for an “amazing job” during lockdown, Ms Devlin added: “The fast moving nature of the coronavirus pandemic has caused a great deal of uncertainty for pupils, staff, parents and carers, but there is now clarity about the plans for the new term.
“We will be taking all possible steps to minimise the risk of transmission of the virus, and will follow all guidance should any cases occur within a school.”
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