Coronavirus in Scotland RECAP: Phased return to school for some pupils as Scotland’s lockdown continues until March

Updates on Covid-19 in Scotland, the UK, and around the world.

By Gary Flockhart & Katharine Hay
Tuesday, 2nd February 2021, 3:54 pm

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Coronavirus in Scotland LIVE: Phased return to school for some pupils as lockdown continues until March

Last updated: Tuesday, 02 February, 2021, 15:21

  • Lockdown to continue until March
  • Pupils will begin phased return to school from 22 February
  • 758 new cases of Covid-19 reported Tuesday - and 69 deaths
  • Nicola Sturgeon to give update on lockdown rules
  • Scotland hits just over half of first January vaccination target

Ruth Davidson says the Scottish Government’s vaccination programme is “slow, stuttering and lagging way behind the rest of the UK”.

Coronavirus in Scotland: Phased return to schools planned for end of February though all other lockdown restrictions continue

Phased return to schools planned for end of February though all other lockdown restrictions continue

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon updated the Scottish Parliament with the latest decision on the reopening of Scottish schools.

Anyone working in schools or childcare settings in Scotland, as well as older pupils, will be routinely tested twice a week, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Addressing MSPs in Holyrood, the First Minister announced a phased return to schools which would be supported by an expansion of the testing regime.

She said: “It is our intention that those who work in schools, and in early learning and childcare settings attached to schools, will be offered at-home testing twice a week. All senior-phase secondary school students will be offered this too.

“This testing offer will be in place for schools as soon as possible to support their return, and we will extend it to the wider childcare sector in the weeks after that.

“We are determined to get our children back to normal schooling just as quickly as it is safe to do so. It is our overriding priority.”

Some pupils will return to Scottish schools from February 22, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

Addressing MSPs in Holyrood, the First Minister said that, subject to confirmation on February 16, all children under school age in early learning and childcare will return.

Pupils in Primary 1 to Primary 3 will also be allowed back into school, as will those in the senior phase of secondary school.

However, the First Minister said older pupils will only be able to return to ensure practical work important to achieving qualifications is completed and only between 5% and 8% of any school’s roll should be able to return.

The First Minister said: “The decisions I am about to outline are intended to give young people, parents and teachers as much notice as possible, but I must

stress that they are subject to continued progress in suppressing the virus and will be subject to final confirmation in two weeks’ time.”

Scotland will extend asymptomatic testing to workers in food production and distribution, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Routine testing, similar to that in place for health and care workers, will be brought in “over the course of this month”, the First Minister said.

Further asymptomatic testing will also be put in place in some local communities, the First Minister said.

Seven local authority areas have already had such a scheme confirmed, with plans to be announced for each council in the country by the end of this week.

“This can play a particularly valuable role in communities where prevalence is stubbornly high or starting to rise again,” the First Minister said.

Covid-19 prevalence in Scotland has fallen under the lockdown regulations, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Updating MSPs in parliament, the First Minister said cases went from 302 per 100,000 in the week ending January 8 to 136 last week.

She said: “Test positivity has also reduced. In the seven days up to January 29 it averaged 6.6% – still higher, but closer than it has been in recent weeks, to the 5% that the WHO consider to be indicative of an outbreak being under control.

“Pressure on our NHS continues to be severe. The number of Covid patients being treated in hospital remains around 30% above the high point of the first wave last April.

“However, hospital admissions in this wave appear to have peaked on January 12.

“They have now stabilised and are starting to reduce, albeit slowly.”

Travellers coming to Scotland from any country may be asked to quarantine in a hotel, Nicola Sturgeon said.

The First Minister said a system of “managed quarantine” would be put in place for anyone arriving directly to Scotland, going further than systems announced in the rest of the UK.

Ms Sturgeon told MSPs: “The firm view of the Scottish Government is that in order to minimise the risk of new strains coming into the country, managed quarantine must be much more comprehensive.

“I can therefore confirm today that we intend to introduce a managed quarantine requirement for anyone who arrives directly into Scotland, regardless of which country they have come from.”

The First Minister also said that she could not “unilaterally” impose such restrictions on people landing elsewhere in the UK and travelling to Scotland, but hoped the other administrations would work with the Scottish Government to reduce the number of people doing so.

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