‘Part time’ schooling on cards from August

Michael Russell MSP

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Michael Russell MSP has welcomed the Scottish Government announcement that pupils will return to schools in August – subject to scientific advice that it is safe.

It means schools in Argyll and Bute would return on August 11, while Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) settings will open over the summer.

Agreements have been reached to ensure physical distancing, staggered arrival and departure times, staggered break times, increased hand hygiene, enhanced cleaning regimes and a range of other measures, he said.

To support digital home learning, the SNP-led Government is also investing £9 million for 25,000 laptops or tablets – with internet access provided – for disadvantaged children, he added.

Mr Russell said: ‘In reopening schools in Argyll and Bute, ensuring the safety of children, young people and staff and giving parents the confidence that schools are safe is the overriding priority.

‘To allow appropriate physical distancing, children in Argyll and Bute will return to a blended model of part time in-school and part time at-home learning from August 11 – subject to scientific advice that it is safe to do so.

‘Of course, these arrangements will not represent a complete return to normality by August. We don’t know how long schools will have to work this way, just as we don’t know how long coronavirus will be a threat.

‘I’m sure I speak on behalf of everyone in Argyll and Bute when I share my gratitude towards parents, carers and teachers who are doing so much to ensure that children continue to learn during this lockdown period, and to those young people who have stayed at home in extremely challenging circumstances.

‘By doing the right thing, all of us have helped to slow the spread of the virus, to protect our NHS from being overwhelmed, and to save lives.’