Cautious approach towards pupils returning to Scottish schools

Scotland’s education secretary John Swinney has published a summary of the scientific advice related to reopening schools and nurseries.

Wednesday, 27th May 2020, 1:30 pm
The plans to reopen schools in August are grounded on scientific and medical advice, according to the Scottish Government.

Councils, professional associations and parent representatives have agreed to reopen all schools on August 11, while early learning facilities will open over the course of the summer.

These plans are grounded on scientific and medical advice that it is safe to reopen so long as public safety measures such as Test and Protect remain in place.

Key points include evidence showing younger children are less susceptible to clinical disease than adults, that children are less likely to develop severe symptoms and that the Chief Medical Officer’s Advisory Group has found that distancing guidance in schools will be appropriate.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, Mr Swinney said:  “School closures are considered to have a negative effect on all aspects of children and young people’s progress and development, as well as their wellbeing. That is why we are working to enable as many children and young people as possible to return to education and care settings at the earliest date it is safe to do so.

“The scientific evidence and advice is an important part of that decision, alongside consideration of the other harms caused by ongoing restrictions. That is why I have published a summary of the scientific evidence which has informed our discussions and decisions to date.

“The evidence around coronavirus in general, and that relating to children in particular, is continuing to evolve. Some aspects are not yet well understood – the science cannot in many cases provide us with definitive conclusions.

“The scientific advice that we have received so far leads us towards taking a cautious approach and we will continue to monitor the evidence and advice to inform decisions.”