Thousands of children in Fife and Tayside will have their summer holiday cut short as pupils across Scotland return to school on the same day.
The Scottish Government has announced the nation’s youngsters will go back to classrooms on August 11, almost five months after they were closed due to fears over the spread of coronavirus.
It means pupils and staff at schools in Fife, Dundee and Perth and Kinross will be returning a week earlier than planned.
Arrangements for transitions from nursery to primary school and from P7 to secondary before the end of this term are being made.
Fife Council has confirmed it is looking at a phased start for youngsters to ensure their safety.
Parents and staff there are being surveyed over when they would like to see the missing holiday days reinstated, with the favoured option among teachers being to add them on to next year’s summer break.
Across Scotland, it is thought class sizes may be halved to comply with social distancing rules, with pupils doing a mix of school and home learning for the foreseeable future.
Fife Council’s executive director of education and children’s services, Carrie Lindsay, said plans would be shared with parents as they developed.
“When schools return, it will be on a phased basis to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our children and young people as well as our staff,” she said.
“We have sent information out to parents with the latest information. More concrete plans will be shared when we have any certainty about the delivery of such plans.”
She added: “We are working on all of the component parts such as transport, cleaning, blended learning, use of space, physical distancing and availability of staff to ensure models for a return to school and early learning centre settings that will be deliverable in our schools.”
Fife Council has already said pupils will be asked to stay two metres apart while at school, although younger children will be allowed to stay in small groups where distancing would be difficult.
A Dundee City Council spokesperson said: “The city council is working to ensure schools will be able to reopen from August 11, if the scientific advice says it is safe to do so.
“We are continuing to communicate with families and keep them updated on any new developments.
“In reopening schools, our priority will be to ensure the safety of pupils and staff.”
A spokesperson for Perth and Kinross Council said planning was under way for pupils’ return to school and would be informed by scientific public health advice.
“We are working with our headteachers and their teams to develop new models of learning, which will ensure adherence to safeguarding protocols such as appropriate physical distancing,” the spokesperson said.
Angus schools had been due to return on August 11 already.
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