Some school pupils could return to schools earlier than others, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.
On Monday, the First Minister announced Scotland would go into lockdown for the rest of the month, forcing most school pupils to undertake online learning until then.
However, when asked about the potential for some pupils to return earlier than their peers, perhaps by age or local authority area, the First Minister was open to the idea, but cautioned that was not a “definite statement of intent”.
She said: “Getting schools open, as opposed to them being essentially closed as they are right now, is not necessarily going to be binary.
“That should not be taken as a definite statement of intent, but we will consider if we can get primary schools back even if we don’t think it’s possible to get secondary schools back.
“Can we get some schools back?
“That would apply to the regional approach as well, if we do think we could get schools in part of the country back but not others – we don’t want the areas where they could be back held back by the areas where it’s not safe.”
The First Minister said it was still the Scottish Government’s intention to get children back to school by February 1, but she admitted this may not be possible if the levels of coronavirus continue to increase in the way they currently are.
“If that’s not possible, we will absolutely be trying to get as many children back to school, in as many schools and as many parts of the country, as we possibly can,” the First Minister said.
Earlier in the briefing, she again said the most difficult decision regarding the new lockdown was to effectively close schools, which will only be open to children of key workers and vulnerable people.
But she stressed: “The current figures tell us action is needed. This new variant is so much more easily transmitted. Without these tougher restrictions, cases in Scotland would definitely continue to rise very, very sharply.”
The First Minister said this could present the “real risk” that the NHS, which she said was “currently coping”, would be “overwhelmed, perhaps quite quickly”.
She added: “By acting now, instead of waiting until things get more severe, we give ourselves the chance to avert the more serious challenge currently being faced in some other parts of the UK right now.”
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