Scotland to reopen schools two months after England, Nicola Sturgeon confirms

PUBLISHED: 13:41 21 May 2020 | UPDATED: 13:44 21 May 2020

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon during First Minister's Questions held at the Scottish Parliament, Holyrood, Edinburgh. Photograph: Fraser Bremner/Scottish Daily Mail/PA Wire

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon during First Minister's Questions held at the Scottish Parliament, Holyrood, Edinburgh. Photograph: Fraser Bremner/Scottish Daily Mail/PA Wire

FRASER BREMNER

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced schools will reopen more than two months after Boris Johnson’s proposed date for the return of English pupils.

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She told MSPs children will return to a “blended model of part-time in-school and part-time at-home learning”.

From August 11, all schools in Scotland will reopen, she added, more than two months after Boris Johnson’s proposed date of June 1.

Teachers and other school staff will return during June to prepare classrooms for the new term after the summer break, but without the majority of children.

During June and over the summer, an increased number of children will have access to critical childcare and the Scottish government will provide “transition support for children going into primary 1 or moving from primary 7 to secondary school”.


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She added: “To reflect the fact that children will still be doing part of their learning at home, we are going to invest a further £30 million to provide laptops for disadvantaged children and young people to study online.”

And she announced a phased easing of restrictions, with the first phase to be introduced from May 28.

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Some outdoor activity will be permitted from that point, including meeting people from “one other household” outside and while social distancing.

Sitting and sunbathing in parks will also be allowed, as will “some non-contact outdoor leisure activities” such as golf, tennis, bowls and fishing.

Sturgeon said people “will be able to travel - preferably by walking or cycling - to a location near their local community for recreation”, but they should “stay within or close to their own local area” if possible.

She said: “Waste and recycling services will resume, as will many outdoor businesses, such as agriculture and forestry.

“The construction industry will be able to carefully implement steps one and two of its six-step restart plan which it has developed with us. However, let me be clear that there must be genuine partnership with trade unions - this can only be done if it is done safely.”

The first minister said lockdown could be eased as the latest estimate of the reproduction rate - or R number - for the virus, remained between 0.7 and one.

She said that in March, the R number was estimated to have been four.

She cautioned, however, that there is still uncertainty about just how far below one it is.

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