Full-time school reopening confirmed with further £60m support.
Children will return to schools full-time from August 11, with quick access to testing for all those who are symptomatic, and a targeted, enhanced surveillance programme to highlight any impact on pupils and staff.
The First Minister has also announced the return to schools will be supported with an additional £30 million to recruit new teachers.
This brings the total additional Scottish Government investment in the teaching profession to £75 million, enough to recruit up to 1,400 new teachers.
This funding will help address learning loss and ensure much-needed resilience in our schools as we recover from coronavirus (COVID-19).
On top of £20 million of funding previously committed, a further £30 million will also be available as part of a £50 million education recovery fund for local authorities.
This will support cleaning, facilities management, school transport and other practical issues that are vital in ensuring a safe return to school.
The First Minister told MSPs today (30 July) that Scotland will remain in Phase 3 of the route map out of lockdown due to the ‘fragile position’ the country faces.
Two sets of indicative dates have been announced for sectors that remain shut as a vital part of the country’s public health measures in tackling COVID-19.
These indicative dates are contingent on the continued suppression of the virus.
Re-opening dates for indoor gyms, swimming pools and sports courts (including dance schools) will be reviewed in three weeks to see if they can be brought forward.
During a statement to Parliament, the First Minister also confirmed that shielding advice will officially pause from Saturday (1 August), meaning those who have been shielding to protect themselves can now follow the advice set for the general public.
Routine eye care services can resume within community optometry practices and in patients’ own homes from Monday (3 August), and urgent dental care involving aerosols may begin in practices for NHS patients from 17 August.
The First Minister said:
“In many ways, Scotland is in a better position in relation to COVID than I would have dared hope a few weeks ago.
“But this position is fragile.
“If we are not careful now, then in two or three weeks we could easily be facing some of the issues here in Scotland that we are currently seeing around the world.
“The two changes I have announced – on schools and shielding – are very significant, and we need to see if there has been any impact from changes that have already taken place.
“It is important, in particular, that we allow the impact of re-opening our schools to be assessed before we proceed with further major changes.
“Caution remains essential.
“We want to open up society and the economy as soon as we safely can, but we do not want to have to re-impose restrictions.
“That start-stop pattern seen in other countries is potentially more harmful to the economy, and our health and wellbeing.
“Do not drop your guard now.
“Every single time one of us breaches the rules, we give the virus a chance to spread.
“If we allow complacency to creep in now, it will – without exaggeration – be deadly.”
Pause in shielding advice (1 August).
Relax certain restrictions on some support groups and services and for sports coaches, following relevant guidance (3 August).
Routine eye care services can be provided within community optometry practice and in patients’ own homes (3 August).
Children to be able to return to school full time (11 August. Some schools may operate a phased return with all children back by 18 August).
Urgent dental care involving aerosols may begin in practice for NHS patients (17 August).
Indicative date: Monday 24 August
Live outdoor events, with physical distancing, enhanced hygiene, restricted numbers and following guidance.
Organised outdoor contact sport for all ages, following guidance from relevant sports bodies.
Bingo halls, snooker/pool halls and indoor bowling, with physical distancing, enhanced hygiene and guidance.
Funfairs (static and travelling), following guidance.
Amusement arcades and casinos, with enhanced hygiene and following guidance.
Driving lessons can resume, following guidance.
Indicative date: Monday 14 September
Indoor gyms, swimming pools and sports courts, with physical distancing and enhanced hygiene (to be kept under review in case earlier date feasible).
Soft play, with enhanced hygiene and following guidance.
Indoor live events, with physical distancing, restricted numbers and following guidance.
Theatres, live music/concert halls and other indoor entertainment venues, with physical distancing requirements and following.
This does not include nightclubs – engagement with the sector will take place ahead of the next review.
Limited reopening of stadiums, following guidance and with options for testing on earlier dates where agreed with government.