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Coronavirus: More pupils return to Scotland's schools


Aug. 12, 2020

Thousands of pupils will return to more of Scotland's schools on Wednesday - after almost five months away from the classroom.
Schools have only been open to children of key workers since restrictions were put in place on 20 March.
Many schools will have pupils return on a phased basis.
Councils have been given some flexibility but the Scottish government wants all schools fully open by 18 August.
Image copyright PA Media Image caption Pupils at Kelso High School were among the first in the UK to begin the new 2020/21 academic year
On Tuesday the first pupils returned to school in the Borders and Shetland .
Except for children of key workers, most of the country's 700,000 pupils have not been in class since schools closed in March.
Pupils return to classrooms after lockdown Is it safe for Scotland's schools to reopen? What's your council's plan for the return to school? Has your child returned to school? Email haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk
As students return, additional hygiene and safety measures such as one-way systems have been put in place.
While there is no requirement for physical distancing between pupils, teachers should remain 2m apart from students or other adults.
Older secondary pupils are also being encouraged to maintain distancing where possible if this does not hinder the return to full-time learning.
Image copyright PA Media Image caption Anyone who wishes to wear a face covering in school or on school transport is allowed - but they are not compulsory
Face masks will only have to be worn by staff who cannot effectively social distance, however anyone who wishes to wear one should be allowed.
School buses are treated as part of the school building, so normal distancing or face covering rules do not apply to pupils, but they will have to sanitise their hands prior to boarding.
How are the schools in my area reopening?
Local authorities across Scotland are taking different approaches with the time frame for reopening.
Argyll and Bute Council , Dumfries and Galloway Council , East Renfrewshire Council and Moray Council will welcome all pupils back full time on Wednesday 12 August.
Many children who attend school in the Aberdeen City , Aberdeenshire , Angus , Clackmannanshire , Dundee City , East Ayrshire , East Dunbartonshire , East Lothian , Edinburgh City , Falkirk , Fife , Glasgow City , Highland , Inverclyde , Midlothian , North Ayrshire , North Lanarkshire , Orkney Islands , Perth and Kinross , Renfrewshire , South Ayrshire , South Lanarkshire , Stirling , West Dunbartonshire , West Lothian and Western Isles council areas will return to school on a phased basis.
All pupils will be back in school on a full-time basis by Tuesday 18 August at the latest.
Double trouble
Image copyright PA Media Image caption Connor and John Branchfield, Alice and Penny Beer, Ben and Josh Cairns, Stuart and Emily Miller, Malena and Lola Perez, Aria and Isla McLaughlin, Eva and Iona Metcalfe and Lianna and Kali Ptolomey, eight sets of twins from the Inverclyde area, pose for a photograph ahead of their first day at school
Teachers will be seeing double in one local authority area as nine sets of twins start school.
The 18 pupils will enter primary one in Inverclyde on Wednesday, with eight of the sets posing for photographs on Tuesday.
A total of 16 sets of twins were eligible to start school in the area this month but the parents of seven pairs decided to defer until next year.
Inverclyde Council said the area is increasingly a hotspot for twins, with the incidence of multiple births in 2015 - the year the majority of this year's new starters were born - at 2.25% locally compared to the Scottish average of 1.15% of live births.
Ahead of the majority of schools reopening, Scotland's largest teaching union - the EIS - lodged grievances with two councils over what it claims are failures to facilitate phased returns of pupils.
The Scottish Borders and Moray local authorities have, the union said, failed to properly consult and reach agreement with it and other trade unions
The EIS said a lack of discussion around the flexibility of phased returns means staff are under "intense pressure" over schools reopening.
A Scottish Borders Council spokesman said it was "extremely disappointed" and that the action would create "unnecessary concern for parents and pupils".
A Moray Council spokesman said: "There are arrangements in place across our schools to help pupils and staff phase back to normal in the first few days, including staggered starts and soft introductions to the curriculum, particularly for those in transition years of P1 and S1."
SCHOOLS: Which are re-opening, when? RULES: Which lockdown rules will change next - and when? FACE MASKS: When should you wear one? TESTING: Who can get a test and how? LOOK-UP TOOL: How many cases in your area?
How do you feel about your child returning to school today? Please share your thoughts by emailing haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk .
Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist.
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