Allowing pupils to return to school

Options include a phased approach to returning pupils to school when it is safe to do so with consideration of priority groups including vulnerable pupils, those in transition between primary and secondary or those about to commence national qualification courses. Most pupils are likely to have a blend of learning at home and in school to allow for ongoing physical distancing.

Why the contribution is important

The Scottish Government has committed to engaging with the public and is interested to hear your thoughts on this topic.

by ScottishGovernment on May 04, 2020 at 08:24PM

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Based on: 248 votes

Comments

  • Posted by sreid May 05, 2020 at 12:57

    As a precursor to a number of businesses reopening schools (and preschool childcare) must be a priority - there is little benefit in asking many people to return to work if they have children to look after at home - especially as in many cases the only other childcare option will be elderly relatives who presumably will still be required to shield. I would encourage school and childcare reopening while still shielding vulnerable populations, perhaps on an age group basis staged over a number of weeks. The immediate impact of infections passing via the group environment could be assessed before introducing increasing numbers.
  • Posted by karengalloway May 05, 2020 at 12:57

    Based in Edinburgh in a school which is well over capacity, the options for social distancing are very limited. Could consideration be given to delaying the P1 intake to post-October half term or even January in order to allow a transition process for existing pupils. P1 pupils require most significant physical support in school, they have no orientation around the building and as such supporting this group is likely to require significant staffing levels.
  • Posted by GH3 May 05, 2020 at 12:58

    Don’t want kids to go back ahead of summer and then 3 weeks later off again, would rather it was after summer break and then time to put in place. Even if they went back a week early following summer
  • Posted by lesleyalewis May 05, 2020 at 13:02

    This comment has been removed by a moderator.

  • Posted by lornski11 May 05, 2020 at 13:02

    I think it is really important for P7 pupils to be allowed a proper transition from primary to secondary, this will give the children closure and allow them to move forward in a more structured way. It is important that they get back to their primary schools, either for a short time before the holidays or for a week or two in August. It is important that schools relax school uniform policies etc during the transition phase. The same concerns apply to nursery school age children transitioning to primary school.
  • Posted by Nel5 May 05, 2020 at 13:04

    Given science seems to suggest that children are not impacted anywhere near as much could pupils not return to schools, keeping the restrictions on elderly carers. With a test, trace isolate model alongside so that any adult cases or outbreaks could be notified to schools quickly and pupils could be returned to home working if needed. Similarly if hospitals in certain regions begin to struggle you could switch home school back on for that region only
  • Posted by scampbell May 05, 2020 at 13:05

    1. Does the Scottish Government propose to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to school staff, in order to support the reopening of schools? 2. What consideration has the Scottish Government also given to supporting the children of school staff whose children aren't included in the phased return?
  • Posted by Lboden May 05, 2020 at 13:05

    I am currently on the high risk list along with my 18 year old daughter and are to “sheild” until the end of June due to health conditions. My daughter is due to start her third year at university and I have two other children aged 9 & 12. My proposal is if parents are in a position to keep children at home can we continue to hone school them after summer until next year. The children have taken up the online schooling very well . So primary continue to post work using Microsoft’s teams. Then high school could have a zoom system set up so children login to virtually attend classes and they can see teacher and classmates as teacher can open laptop up. So kids are virtually in classroom and can take part. This way I don’t have to put my health at risk as if something happened to me I have no one else to look after my children .
  • Posted by Lesley May 05, 2020 at 13:07

    The risk of Covid-19 to those under 65 is minimal. Schools should reopen as fully as possible as quickly as possible to allow as many people as possible to get back to work, enable children to learn and prevent the attainment gap from increasing further, and to prevent teenagers from gathering in uncontrolled groups. Schools also provide a safe space for abused and neglected children. The immunity built up by doing this will help to prevent a serious second wave.
  • Posted by AClark May 05, 2020 at 13:08

    The Scottish Government is destroying the education, mental health and future lives of children currently in the upper years of secondary school. This needs given a focus and resolutions found with the utmost priority.
  • Posted by Afoggo May 05, 2020 at 13:08

    My child is awaiting a referral for CALMHS and therefore although we (and his school) suspect learning difficulties he does not qualify for additional support and his referral is now caught up in COVID delayed School teachers / heads should be able to recommend children who aren’t currently diagnosed with difficulties are giving additional support and this should be factored into whether it’s appropriate for the child to be in part time learning when they already need more support.
  • Posted by KerryV May 05, 2020 at 13:09

    By allowing vulnerable children to return to school, this will help authorities to monitor their welfare. Also, I think that some children with special needs would benefit enormously from resuming the routine that is vital to them.
  • Posted by clarem May 05, 2020 at 13:09

    Could pupils return to school in August and pick up where they left off? i.e. not moving up a class. They could do this until say October break or a suitable timeframe. P1's could be deferred starting school until after October break. It would mean cramming a lot in to a shorter period of time. I am a parent of a P7 and it concerns me that her next day of school could be high school with no preparation or transition period.
  • Posted by ANNI May 05, 2020 at 13:09

    How about keeping them off school for longer now, but starting the new school year at the start of August rather than mid way through August?
  • Posted by PG May 05, 2020 at 13:09

    Very difficult untill transmission is down to very low level. Suggest they also do not open untill PPE equipment, effective masks and gloves are available to all. As exposing kids who have to travel to school on public transport likely to have negative impact. Kids in exam years in classes of ten only five days a week, would allow for enough class space and teachers to teach as safely as possible. And likely to improve outcomes significantly. Once kids back up to speed cut it to Monday to Wednesday and allow other years in on Thursday and Friday. Have teachers ensure social distancing in playground as currently in Drummond High School groups of kids are huddling together in playground with little intrevention lf that not possible close playgrounds . Primary schools bar vunerable kids and key workers keep home schooling as enforcing social distancing will be difficult. And for young kids need the anxiety of being at school and trying to social distance. Likely to have negative mental impact as they are young and having to deal with a complex program. Allow Year 7 into school three days a week and Year 6 two days a week will leave enough space to cut class sizes to 6-10 pupils and likely to improve educational outcomes.
  • Posted by Womble1005 May 05, 2020 at 13:10

    We need to get the kids back to school before the summer holidays. They need the interaction for their mental health and wellbeing.... then going into a lenghty summer holiday will be another challenging period for them.
  • Posted by TB37 May 05, 2020 at 13:12

    Foe secondary schools who understand social distance only. Alternate days in attendance for either a subject or year group use 2 classes for one subject at same time to reduce numbers & instead of pupils moving between classes the teachers move instead. Classrooms cleaned daily on completion of the day. On the basis that some teaching by professionals is better than none & allow pupils a chance to at least partially catch up from home tutoring. Packed lunches only ( unless a hub school with kitchen already open) but less break time in order to reduce time in school buildings. Entry & exit doors controlled & toilet facilities cleaned & controlled by cubicles only with hand sanitizer available at multiple locations.
  • Posted by michshelly May 05, 2020 at 13:13

    I agree with the above post, p1 children will not understand social distancing nor not to touch face without hand washing etc. That also applies to all primary years except p6 would have abit more understanding. Schools to open anytime now before the summer holidays is too soon, as scientists are unable to say even those people who have had covid doesn't mean they are immune, this virus is deadly and scary for all, children can't help but hug and touch each other... ,To tell the primary aged children don't touch, keep a distance is going to be extremely difficult...
  • Posted by CG25 May 05, 2020 at 13:14

    As above comment- getting children back to school is important as people will be unable to restart work without childcare. Perhaps alternate days for different year pupils that allow some form of spacing in schools. Don’t see the point of swapping pupils on a half day basis as full day would mean classrooms/ toilets etc could be properly cleaned to prevent any cross group spreading. P1’s (new starters) are as important- delaying their start by any great amount would mean they have potentially been without any form of socialisation away from their parents for over 6mths since March shut down. This is an enormous amount of time for such young children and they will struggle to adjust in an independent setting
  • Posted by PG May 05, 2020 at 13:14

    There has been a lot of talk about the need for working parents to have schools open to be able to work. New employment law to allow parents to insist that they work from home or suitable hours would go along way to reduce the impact and would allow business to function. As opening schools is likely to increase spread of contagions, especially after the Summer when we head into flu and cold season.
  • Posted by CityScot May 05, 2020 at 13:15

    In order to get the economy up and running we must at some point get our kids back into school before we have no future to give our children other than a legacy of debt and unemployment . Many nations have just started doing this , applying distancing, phased age group intakes and part-time online learning etc . Let’s see how this goes in these countries and see what we can learn from others . We must be open to learning from others as to how to move forward and not be pigheaded In necessarily trying to be outstandingly innovative in our ideas .
  • Posted by Jamescrichton May 05, 2020 at 13:15

    I do not believe that school children should return before August. This would give council education departments time to properly prepare schools to take make any practical and physical changes to class rooms, play grounds, school dinner separation. I feel that if we rush our children back and schools are ill prepared we would be risking a spike in the virus. My daughter is 7 and I am extremely worried about sending her into an environment which may potentially harm her.
  • Posted by Fifewifey May 05, 2020 at 13:16

    I dont think schools should reopen until August. This will give time for local authorities to plan how they can adequately provide safe learning environments. It will also allow authorities to increase school cleaning capacity, which in some schools is currently sadly lacking never mind the level of deep cleaning might be required between groups of pupils. If it is decided that some time in school and some time at home is best, then employers will have to be sympathetic towards working parents.
  • Posted by NR7784 May 05, 2020 at 13:16

    Allow phased return, kids need school, some more than others. schools need to be given enough time to plan how this will work for them. Every school will be different depending on layout, location and pupil roll, consideration should be given to this too. Parents also need as much notice as possible to prepare. Younger children should not be penalised because of their inability to social distance. please consider this also.
  • Posted by Lindsey45 May 05, 2020 at 13:18

    Please keep preschool children in nursery and defer school start to 2021, this is overdue anyway, age 4 is too young. Please keep all P7’s in Primary setting and defer secondary education to 2021, they need a good entry into high school, they are young and can wait. Please consider how you will accommodate children with additional support needs in existing schools before taking in new starts.
  • Posted by MZ57 May 05, 2020 at 13:18

    This would need to be carefully thought out as for primary children this will be very difficult to enforce social distancing .I do agree that the transition stage of p7 to s1 should be allowed in groups in June to allow them to get afeel for new environment and lessen anxiety towards starting High School in August . Also agree a phased day each for s3to s6 for transition to next stage to prepare for new term.
  • Posted by Mumof3 May 05, 2020 at 13:19

    One of my children is transitioning from P7 to S1. I believe it would be entirely feasible to manage a return to school before the summer holidays, for only mornings or afternoons, for this group. This would limit out of class time eg lunch time when the challenge of maintaining social distancing would be greater. With other classes not attending, it would be feasible to spread P7 classes across 2 rooms, or even in a gym hall. It is an important period for these children and this would greatly help prepare them mentally for high school, and enable them to mark this key milestone. They are of an age where they could be relied upon to physically distance, use hand sanitiser etc, but not of an age where they are emotionally mature enough not to be impacted by these significant milestones being taken away from them.
  • Posted by NeilH74 May 05, 2020 at 13:21

    Keep schools closed and start Summer break early. Plan for an earlier return to classes with maybe a 3 session term leading to Winter, option to split the usual 2 week October holiday into 2x1week holidays? This would give an opportunity to try and fill in some of the loss of teaching that's occurred? Also take into account school transport, especially where carried out by taxis where installing screens to protect drivers isn't feasible.
  • Posted by Rhoda May 05, 2020 at 13:23

    as with comment above return to school has to have joined up thinking with parental working and availability of childcare. However there is some merit in breaking the the prospect of an even longer period out of school with a return for even a very short space of time. I am concerned that not all children have been able to benefit from the provision for home education due to lack of resources at home. New Zealand addressed this issue on lockdown with provision of equipment where needed. If this isn't addressed then some children will be out further and further behind.
  • Posted by Mumandnan May 05, 2020 at 13:23

    Children need to have some return to school ASAP, albeit safely. Children are going to be disadvantaged in the longer term both with their learning and their mental health.
  • Posted by MorMit May 05, 2020 at 13:23

    For primary schools, assume 30 kids in a class and teaching from 9 – 4pm, allowing breaks for the teacher. The class could convene with five pupils at a time, using a one way system to move children into and out of each classroom. The teacher would group the 5 children based on ability. Each child would receive a mixture of face-to-face teaching combined with learning to be done at home. Being at school daily allows for consistency and routine. Those not able to come to school for their one hour would be required to join for the hour via video. The smaller class size allows the teacher to still spend time with each child, including the child attending via video. The curriculum would need to be greatly reduced for the time being to focus on the essentials (numeracy and literacy).
  • Posted by HEPayne May 05, 2020 at 13:25

    There is a need to prioritise years who are transitioning eg P7 to S1 and who can better understand social distancing. If that doesn’t prove possible then delaying the start of the next academic year could be considered for all pupils. Without transition preparation key year groups (include nursery to P1 in that) may significantly struggle - more so if the next academic year is also impacted as is likely.
  • Posted by HerculesStewart May 05, 2020 at 13:27

    Will not be sending my son back to school before the beginning of the 2020/2021 academic year. Ireland closed the schools before Scotland and will not reopen until September. Varadkar got it right. Staff who work in schools have the right to health and life, and so do their families. They must be given equity in PPE with health workers. This crisis may see the SG properly fund social work as schools cannot and should not be made to carry the responsibility of safeguarding the wellbeing of vulnerable young people to the extent they have.
  • Posted by PeachesHumph May 05, 2020 at 13:27

    Allow those who want to keep their kids home to do so with continued online support, not all of us will feel comfortable sending kids to school. I have kids in Primary education, have several underlying health conditions that would put me at greater risk of serious illness or worse, I do not want my kids to go back to school until I feel it is age to do so.
  • Posted by Panjam May 05, 2020 at 13:29

    The risk of kids of getting covid 19 is minimal and the government need to do more to spell this out. Homeschooling is really patchy and the work being set is dull and repetitive. Schools should be back open as soon as possible, with appropriate PPE in place. The dangers and harms of not doing this vastly outweigh the minor risk to kids of covid. People in shielding/vulnerable households, including teachers, should have special arrangements, possibly being matched with each other to enable a better quality of homeworking.
  • Posted by stukinnear May 05, 2020 at 13:29

    Schools in Scotland would have been breaking for the Summer holidays into June anyway - there is absolutely no point in sending out children back until August.
  • Posted by FMT10 May 05, 2020 at 13:33

    I have 2 children who would be moving to S2 and S3. When schools reopen I would be back to work too. With your proposal it could mean leaving my younger child at home on their own, they have ASD so this would be unsafe for them. School classrooms are not big enough to hold the number of pupils they currently have per class plus maintain social distancing of 2 metres. Each classroom does not have hand washing facilities either and the toilets in the school do not even have soap. Pupils would be sharing toilets with others from multiple households, would there be someone to clean them after each use? There is the issue of a large volume of pupils moving around the school between classes and also pupils having lunch, again where social distancing will not be easy. I also have concerns about my children getting to school. We do not live close enough for them to walk which means they use public transport. They are usually crammed on to full buses. Social distancing will not allow for this so how do children get to school safely? It is unlikely there will be more buses available at peak times to accommodate the volume of commuters. I fully appreciate that there are many challenges to consider and overcome in this whole situation. I think it is much safer for pupils, school staff and bus drivers along with all of their families to have pupils continuing to work from home. Elsewhere in the document you also mention the possibility of bubbles of people, this widens bubbles even further and I fear people would become complacent. There are also other issues regarding the safety of pupils and staff. Many pupils, in particular those with ASN, require a huge amount of personal care and support to function within the class and school setting and staff would not be able to socially distance from them. I work in such a environment and I have resigned myself to the fact that social distancing will not be possible. The pupils, through no fault of their own sneeze, cough and spit over staff. They need assistance at the toilet or nappies changed and some need help when eating. Staff also need to be very close to pupil, i.e. right beside them, to get the pupils to engage in activities. Again many more problems which are difficult to overcome but effectively we are putting the staff and pupils at great risk when social distancing is impossible.
  • Posted by Jocelyn May 05, 2020 at 13:35

    Are children and young people going to be penalised if they don't use the correct distance? I have 2 kids with ASN who struggle enormously with personal space anyway, but are also struggling with lockdown due to needing intellectual stimulus from outwith the home. We need a risk analysis: the risk will never be zero because it's a virus. The longer we wait, the lower our immunity to all sorts of viruses and the worse our mental health will be.
  • Posted by Daisiesa May 05, 2020 at 13:35

    How can parents of more than one young child manage going back to work if children will go back to school in blocks? These parents will likely have no days where all children are away, never mind being able to work even part-time.
  • Posted by hma May 05, 2020 at 13:36

    we are approaching the end (nearly) of the school term and perhaps consider reopening at the next academic year.
  • Posted by GHeg May 05, 2020 at 13:36

    Schools need to reopen as soon as possible, kids are missing out on vital education, this could hinder children the rest of their lives. Home schooling is ok but not the same as being in school! Phased return is good but surely the summer holidays could be reduced to allow more school time for children. Why would they still need 6 weeks off in the summer when they won't be allowed to do very much anyway.
  • Posted by Hc6jsm May 05, 2020 at 13:40

    I think this would need strict conditions attached and may need to be different for certain larger schools. Our school is oversubscribed, space constrained and our class has 40 pupils split into two groups, there is no room in the school to socially distance.
  • Posted by Scotsguy31 May 05, 2020 at 13:41

    Remember the practicalities of being able to keep 2 metre social distancing when opening schools and the likelihood of staff isolation and absence in managing numbers. Bringing back year groups would help with this. Start with Primary 7 so they may bring their primary schooling to closure and prepare for high school by spreading these pupils throughout school building with the wider number of staff. Key worker childcare provision could continue under this arrangement and it would allow more vulnerable children to return. All available staff to return to schools contributing to these arrangements and continuing arrangements for those home schooling.
  • Posted by Bonnie50 May 05, 2020 at 13:42

    I think children should be allowed back to school, albeit in a controlled and safe manner. My grandson is autistic and attends a school for additional learning. He has lost so much already not being at school (routine, frienshsips, clubs etc). He is in P7 and therefore moving up to S1 after the holidays, there is a need to prioritise this year group as it is a very stressful time for all pupils at this stage and losing out on the school visits will make it harder to adjust in the new term (with new teachers, class mates, classrooms etc).
  • Posted by HerculesStewart May 05, 2020 at 13:46

    Will not be sending my son back to school before the beginning of the 2020/2021 academic year. Ireland closed the schools before Scotland and will not reopen until September. Varadkar got it right. Staff who work in schools have the right to health and life, and so do their families. They must be given equity in PPE with health workers. Moving on, this crisis may see social work funded properly as schools cannot and should not be made to carry the responsibility of safeguarding the wellbeing of vulnerable young people to the extent they have.
  • Posted by MarysiaMorkis May 05, 2020 at 13:46

    Transitioning pupils definitely need to be supported and like other people who have commented here as the mother of a four year old whose nursery education was cut abruptly short this should be extended to those due to start p1 in some way to allow them to visit their schools and teachers and see their friends some of whom they will no longer see once school starts. I will not be alone in having young children and working full time from home - as is my husband. As an emergency services worker whose local authority did not extend schooling provision outwith the NHS my workload has increased exponentially along with my childcare. This has created an enormous pressure on me personally and the family as a whole. And while I am grateful to have a job and not face the financial worries that many are facing, the extended instruction to work at home for months to come while home schooling, even on part time basis, is untenable. It is incredibly stressful for everyone concerned and neither work nor schooling are being done to their best. While older children can work unsupervised (to some extent) young children cannot so if there is phased return I do not think it is helpful to insist on home schooling for younger children. While I can see now also that is highly unlikely schools will open before August I am still working full time over the summer (so holidays do not provide respite) and we would normally utilise holiday clubs and after school clubs to provide childcare during this time. Is consideration being given to allowing after school clubs to operate as they are dealing with much smaller groups of children. This would allow parents at least some headspace to do their work if they are at home or attend work if they need to?
  • Posted by Workerwithkids May 05, 2020 at 13:47

    How can parents be expected to return to work, and work with a fixed pattern if there is no school or nursery facilities available. Working a fixed work pattern but having to juggle and balance school drop offs or wfh inline with what children are doing for a small number of days a week is impossible. With primary children and nursery children, different patterns of schooling would not be possible to tie in with work. We require cohesion between businesses and schools and an understanding that parents might not be able to be relied upon at work but with no consequences if unable to perform duties. The requirements for summer holiday cover needs consideration. Alot of working families require childcare in summer and rely on sports camps or clubs, with these not running the problem of childcare and work remians over the summer. What is the plan for summer chikdcare. Are parents expected ti take unpaid leave or holidays to make up fir the lack of care. These additional costs to parents will be unmanageable for majority. With a nursey to p1 transition it is important that this intake goes ahead. We have had years if paying for childcare and cannot afford to continue to pay another year of fees. P1 entry should go ahead as usual. Before the lockdown many politicians were calling schools as low risk and woukd keep them open for as long as possible, now it seems politicians are frightened to get them open again. This not overwhelming the NHS excuse has been used constantly and is now wearing thin, we have lessened the curve of deaths and infections and yet we are not allowed to progress to the next phase. Take the decision and allow the public to move on.
  • Posted by MS7 May 05, 2020 at 13:48

    I think that it will be of paramount importance for there to be clarity at a National level on timescales and suggested frameworks to return schools to some form of operation. Clear guidance on safe operational running of schools will hopefully ensure that we reduce the chance of schools become a hub for community transmission. There also needs to be greater clarity over the term “vulnerable” as many vulnerable young people with ASN will be safer and happier at home during this stressful period. If “vulnerable” young people are not safe at home this perhaps should be more closely looked at through the lens of Social Work interventions. Obviously, the main aim should be to return all schools to some level of operation when it is determined that we have the capacity to manage the Test, Trace and Isolate strategy in the community at the level that may be required. This may mean testing of young people and staff on a sampling basis to evaluate levels of infection prior to a date being set for schools to reopen. As such, I feel that the Scottish Government may have to be more centralised in its direction regarding openings of establishments, either by sector or geography, to ensure consistency and capacity to manage any impact on the R value that may result. This is also important to ensure that different interpretation don’t lead to increased levels of risk in different local authorities. This may seem to be contrary to our system of Local Authority oversight but may be the only manner to ensure that we have consistency in safely opening and operating establishments.
  • Posted by Josienic May 05, 2020 at 13:49

    My daughter is 16 and in S4 to date her school has provided no home learning although they plan to change that in the coming weeks. Her education is being severely hampered, and there doesn’t seem to be consistency between schools in learning. If the schools can not reopen then they need to be consistent in teaching to give all children the same opportunities. In addition I have a 2 year old; I am a key worker but can work from her, her nursery is closed. Although my employer wants to be supportive in practice this isn’t possible, my eldest helps with childcare but I’m working sections between 6am and 10pm to get my job done. The lack of social interaction for such young children cannnot be under estimated.
  • Posted by RHL101 May 05, 2020 at 13:52

    Young children should be allowed to return to school in some capacity, as soon as it is safe. My daughter, age 7, is finding the isolation very hard. Even just one or two mornings a week in small groups would make a huge difference to their sense of community and belonging. The abrupt closure and only online contact has been a very hard transition for many of them and I worry another 3.5 months before the August term is going to see a further decline in children’s mental wellbeing.
  • Posted by LynsGra86 May 05, 2020 at 13:52

    As much as I would like schools to re-open we are not yet in a place where this would be safe for teachers of pupils. However agree that we need to do something to get a more structure approach in place. My view would be that we bring the school holidays forward by 4 weeks and restart them mid July. The first four weeks bac can be used for transitions, catch up on activity etc. Then they would have a long weekend and transition in to their new year. It seems ludicrous to return 'some' pupils for such a short period of time. However instead of saying wait till the end of summer bring that date forward. Teachers would still get their full annual leave, it would allow additional planning and safer more robust plans to be in place.
  • Posted by LWallaceArran May 05, 2020 at 13:54

    Is there a role for outdoor classes, and forest schools, particularly for younger children, in a socially distanced educational environment? I wonder whether this could enhance current learning in an environment that is safer than cramped classrooms?
  • Posted by Scotsguy31 May 05, 2020 at 13:55

    Remember the practicalities of being able to keep 2 metre social distancing when opening schools and the likelihood of staff isolation and absence in managing numbers. Bringing back year groups would help with this. Start with Primary 7 so they may bring their primary schooling to closure and prepare for high school by spreading these pupils throughout school building with the wider number of staff. Key worker childcare provision could continue under this arrangement and it would allow more vulnerable children to return. All available staff to return to schools contributing to these arrangements and continuing arrangements for those home schooling.
  • Posted by grumbly May 05, 2020 at 14:01

    The failure of government to properly prepare for this has already caused incredible damage to the education and future prospects of 16 - 18 year olds. The Scottish government are therefore correct in prioritising the return to some semblance of normal for this group. I think the suggestion of no school now and an early return makes sense. Tell schools and staff now that their holidays start early and that the start back will be in mid-late July. This allows time to plan and prepare and gives a longer academic year to make up for the reduced time in school that children will have, especially those who have already had one exam year ruined
  • Posted by happyperson May 05, 2020 at 14:02

    Many points to think on here. Firstly, you have to think putting my child into school to transition whatever there age where people are using masks, sitting behind protective screens (because why shouldnt teachers be protected in a less substantial way than someone who works in a supermarket) is that not scary to a child? How would that effect their health and wellbeing. Children only learn when Maslows hierachy of needs are met and one of these is feeling safe! I have a son with support needs who is due to go into s4 this year, he is very scared that other children will take masks off in the school as most and this is his words "dont follow what the teacher says anyway". I have also been teaching in primary where although many people are saying they will better understand social distancing if they are in p7 there are many who even before lockdown who were extremely anxious about the virus and other children who were wandering around the room refusing to wash hands and shouting they had the coronovirus! Children who were showing symptoms of high temperatures were also not collected by parents. Are people aware of the anxiety children felt at being asked to just wash their hands all the time because of this virus, and this was before asking them to do social distancing. There were children sobbing at home because they were scared. As a teacher I also need my elderly mum who has an underlying health condition to take my youngest son to primary school, he cant walk and we dont get school transport. How do I get him to school without risking my own mums health and wellbeing? We havent seen my mum since the outbreak started and she has been my children's other parent for 10 years!! she took them to school, made their tea, did their homework had them at her house on the weekend they have lost all this so as a teacher and a family we are sacrificing too. If I am in at work and my primary child is not in a school where does he go? Am I just to leave my primary child at home with a sibling who can be very very aggressive with no one to watch them and should I not worry about my house being burnt down by my child when he tries to make himself lunch as he did the other day when he left oil burning in the frying pan? Many schools had funding cut for cleaning in recent years and only get desks wiped every 2 days! There are not enough cleaners to do the work in these schools. Children do not learn sitting at desks all day at school they move around, they use resources who is cleaning these during suggested groups of children coming in. This would not be normal for children. I would refer people to an open letter penned by a member of NHS staff https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf2ti_y-EkumCNW0WAPXlNz1y7MeeMBHkViUcqAXOpxrP07uA/viewform. which states "There is no cure for coronavirus and there is no vaccine. It is not fair to increase teachers’ risks while not knowing how many people are losing their lives because of work, because a teacher's work means sharing rooms and equipment with many people, from many households, again and again. Some teachers have already tragically died from the virus, and we do not want to risk any more. The conditions of strict widespread testing for suspected Covid-19, rigorous contact tracing and scrupulous adherence to quarantining must be met before a return to schools - for the enduring safety of teachers and the wider community. Until we know more about the transmission of this virus and the risk factors for severe illness. Until we know that staff can access PPE, virus tests and accommodation if they live with vulnerable people. Until we know that children will not learn that their teacher has died because of an infection caught in their class, we should remain sensible and wait. The economic harm of keeping schools closed is significant - but is known. This means the government can act and intervene to mitigate this harm. We do not know about the harms of reopening schools yet. The example that is set by opening schools earlier than is known to be safe runs counter to all the messages you are sending - that the recent slowing of hospital admissions should not be taken as a premature signal that we are safe. " My own child when he was sent an activity from school about whether he wanted to home learn or be back at school said "not till there was a vaccine". Pupil voice is something we promote has anyone asked them and explained what it would look like? Our schools are not set up like those in Asia with rows of children sitting quietly working we do active learning and we have significant behavioural problems in every class.
  • Posted by glasgowgmemum May 05, 2020 at 14:03

    I have children in primary school and early years so my focus is on this. P1-6 should return in August. P7s should have time before summer break dedicated to support for their transition to high school. Would it be possible for children to attend half days, one half of the class in the morning and the other in the afternoon, with key workers' children able to attend all day if required? School meals available for those who want them. Nurseries should reopen first. Lots of them are private enterprises dependent on fee income which will not survive if they do not reopen, creating longer-term issues in relation to lack of childcare provision. Parents cannot return to work without out-of-the home childcare provision in place for part/all of the working day.
  • Posted by rbfinlayson May 05, 2020 at 14:04

    Introducing social distances into schools will be a problem due to lack of space. I wonder if churches, cinemas, halls, sports clubs etc could be used as classrooms?
  • Posted by PeachesHumph May 05, 2020 at 14:08

    Follow the evidence - any school re-opening should be evidence based, at the moment various studies have shown that kids can pass on the virus without showing many symptoms. They may not be affected badly, but what about others in their household who may be more vulnerable, or if an adult in their household is infected and then infects a work colleague before they realise they have it. It’s all very well for people to say kids need to get back to school, but years can be retaken, you can’t bring the dead back to life
  • Posted by lesleyw85 May 05, 2020 at 14:10

    Schools/Nursery should be the priority for the Government and the first stage of any lock down lifting. Just as it was the first thing to close before lock down. Letting children back to school and on a different model i.e. different start times and finish times to stagger the amount of adults/traffic in the area. Strict hand hygiene and different measures for collecting children. All of these things must be explored. Children need this social interaction and waiting until August from March is too long a time frame. If the decision is made to wait until after the summer holidays then the summer holidays should end sooner i.e. new school terms begins at the beginning of August instead of the middle of August.
  • Posted by MDG May 05, 2020 at 14:11

    Whilst there is a variance of what is being provided from Primary Schools virtually, overall most pupils, if they or more importantly their parents engage with the options , will glean enough activity to reach the start of July. We are now only 8-9 weeks from the end of term, where the priorities in any normal school year would be Transition into P1 and from P7 and a focus on the outdoor, health and wellbeing (school sports) and a gradual preparation for moving onto the next year group. In Primary the option, where possible, of some social interaction to aid transition for new P1 and exiting P7s, should be the key priority and if (and a big if) social distancing can be put in place (exemplars already in place in the childcare hubs) then that would be a key area of transition dealt with. The existing virtual resources should support other pupils up to the end of term and allow then to start the summer holidays as normally as is possible just now, I would also suggest that where possible each Primary School also reopens to accommodate the children of key workers and remove the stand alone hubs within school networks where they are mixing with pupils from other schools/even other networks. This should allow more parents to return to work than currently can under the current guidance. The model for potential impact on the NHS ,should schools return in full, should be the guide here and any suggestion otherwise is not taking that model into account, but partial and targeted returns should be considered. Senior Phase- this is an important area and should be considered but the mix of some face to face and virtual learning may actually reflect the changing reality of what working and even studying at college or university will look like for the foreseeable future. If classroom based teaching can be achieved by September then that would be a positive but there is no doubt that certain subjects such as STEM, PE and others will suffer if the pupils cannot undertake the practical aspects. I think this is the key decision for John Swinney, he cannot risk another year group or one of this years cohort to have disrupted examinations in May 2021. Overall, I think the discussions short term need to focus on the target groups, an assessment of the childcare hubs continuing during June and early planning by local authorities to ensure that options, within whatever guidance is actually issued, for childcare, both local authority and private providers is put in place to provide as normal a level of childcare as possible. Parents also need to take responsibility for the use of their annual leave and ensure that providing that childcare themselves is the priority given that grandparents may still not be an option. I think the Scottish Government need to engage with normal term time and holiday childcare providers and re-open them as a priority to assist parents, the key worker hubs will diminish in terms of demand as the NHS steps down from its emergency footing (providing people observe the guidance and there is no spike) and those providers can provide some level of normality and are experienced at cleaning and infection control.
  • Posted by Baxter2020 May 05, 2020 at 14:20

    Be very clear to all from the outset that children and young people are not returning to school to 'catch-up' and be raced into learning and development to meet some supposed curriculum coverage and content dictated by exams (that thankfully we have now shown don't need to be the driving force of outcomes and measures!). Take a stance now to be bold and radical and evolve parts of the education system. No exams and taking a new approach to assessing outcomes in school; properly drawn on ongoing learning; enhanced well informed and broad teacher professional judgement (based on trust by the system - so changes to some demands by LAs; SQA; SG; ES etc) with perhaps some very select, where it is absolutely the most fit for purpose option, single point assessments. For learning to be properly developed as online then fear and panic among educational IT systems and structures needs to be sorted. Limitations imposed are preventing appropriate pedagogical use of digital spaces. Spend money currently funnelled into RICs into providing proper access to digital resources for EVERY child (and teacher where required).
  • Posted by LA May 05, 2020 at 14:27

    I do not believe that children should return to school before August. We are reaching the end of a term and why increase the risk of infection for the sake of a few weeks? Local Authority Education Departments require planning time to work out appropriate ‘phasing’ and social distancing. School staff & pupils should not be put at risk. The logistics of social distancing in large secondary schools with period to period change over has to be well thought through. I feel that if we rush our children back and schools are ill prepared we would be risking a spike in the virus. Also what consideration will be given to supporting working parents in terms of childcare if children are only attending school a few days a week? The burden of childcare cannot fall to elderly grandparents who are most at risk! This is another factor the government & employers will need to take account of.
  • Posted by martinmac100 May 05, 2020 at 14:28

    Schools should go back asap in the most safe manner possible. As others have said, priority groups should be send back soonest. However, there will be little advantage for said priority groups, if school will come to an end at the standard start of the summer holidays. Consideration should be made for the school term to be extended into the traditional summer holiday, with all teachers to be made available to cover the extended term. Teachers are in a strong financial position, as they have (in the main) not been financially affected by the COVID-19 crisis and will continue to be paid as they normally are, throughout the whole of the summer holiday. This will allow the parents of children who are not in public sector employment and have been severely affected by COVID-19 to best attempt to get their working lives back on track.
  • Posted by CJMethven May 05, 2020 at 14:30

    I think S4/5 and 6 should return on 1st June until 25th June. This would allow them to start national 5s and highers before the holidays. It would also allow a controlled spread of Covid 19. This gives them exposure before the summer break and hopefully would reduce a spike when they return in August. This would give teachers time to put all work online or to hand out before the next school term begins.
  • Posted by Henderson May 05, 2020 at 14:32

    I understand schools have been operating throughout the crisis for parents who are key workers. Has there been any evidence during this period, of transmission between teachers and pupils who may have been exposed to/carry the virus that could inform the decisions being made to re-open? I consider actual numbers and data regarding schools operating here and in other countries out of lockdown where pupils/teachers have been assessed as having contracted the virus may be more informative for decisions to be made. Are the unions requesting PPE based on such evidence?
  • Posted by StacyConroy May 05, 2020 at 14:34

    If schools remain closed until after the summer holidays, are the kids expected to stay in for the whole of the summer holidays? For example myself and my husband are still working full time and my son would usually go to grand parents (none of who are in the venerable category) so will he be allowed to go to grandparents or will school summer clubs be allowed to resume etc?
  • Posted by POLOPARKJ May 05, 2020 at 14:35

    It would be sensible once over peak to allow groups to go back. There will be close scrutiny in any case, we can revert to current conditions if we are fearful.
  • Posted by GMac May 05, 2020 at 14:40

    I personally will not be sending my son back to school before August or new academic year. Ireland closed the schools before us and will not reopen until September. Staff who work in schools have the right to health and life, and so do their families. They must be given necessary PPE.
  • Posted by SRuss91 May 05, 2020 at 14:40

    I dont want to see schools and nurseries opening before the summer hols. We need time to plan and organise the school/nursery environment. As long as parents are at home, then their children should continue to be at home too. I do think, once the time comes, it should be a phased return.. part time hours for children, time after sessions for resources/playrooms to be cleaned, teams of staff only work specific days and with the same groups of children. I think the government needs to take into account the scottish weather and suitability of outdoor areas before recommending to settings that they should be spending most of the session in the outdoors
  • Posted by andyb36 May 05, 2020 at 14:41

    The 'support' for my Primary 2 child has been appalling. Our school is reputable but the guidance and communication is awful. Coupled with the social distancing their is a ticking time bomb of mental health issues in young children.
  • Posted by Hellokitty83 May 05, 2020 at 14:49

    Can we please remember, schools reopening should focus on education, not child care. If child care is the issue, we need to look at that provision. A clear guideline on the content of online learning should be available. A shared space on Glow for teachers and practitioners to share content, resources and good practice would be beneficial.
  • Posted by alileslie May 05, 2020 at 14:50

    There needs to be an acceptance that socially distancing under 5s is not practical or appropriate. Those nurseries currently open for key worker children have increased health and hygiene policy and this appears the most sensible way forward for nurseries and primary schools to reopen. The social and emotional impact on the youngest in our society must be taken into account. If children are to return to schools in a 'week on, week off' system, or indeed half days, consideration must be given to the childcare available in those weeks where schools are not open to them. As a key worker, in the current situation I have a full time nursery place for my child - when restrictions ease we must continue to ensure there is provision for children of families who cannot work from home.
  • Posted by Bluesky May 05, 2020 at 14:51

    How does the government propose to ensure that all children have access to the internet if online learning is to be used to much greater extent? Many parents living with stretched budgets cannot afford a computer, and there are many without a computer or tablet or similar technology who are having to chose between paying for data packages for their mobile phones so their kids can access the internet, and other essentials like food or heating or clothes. If we believe that education is a right, then access to education, however it is carried out, must be a right as well, and free internet access at home for all children should be an urgent necessity. Internet access is no longer a luxury but should be seen as a public utility given how much of our lives is carried out online, and if education is a human right for all children, which it is, then equality of access is essential for all of them. The effects of this virus are going to be felt for many years to come and we need to protect our children’s future prospects as much as we can, and that starts with providing a good quality and accessible curriculum and resources for all children, not just the ones who have computers and tablets and parents who aren’t having to choose between feeding their family and their kids’ education. Poverty and inequality are already a huge factor in a child’s future prospects, and we need to ensure that access to a good education is not something else that leaves poor children behind. Free internet access for everyone, along with provision of computers or tablets or similar for those who need them would go a very long way to making sure children don’t miss out just because they’re poor - schools could perhaps help organise this as they have access to the kind of information which would indicate which families might need this kind of support using their free school meals data, and have good knowledge of which families and children are likely to be vulnerable and would benefit most from this kind of targeted help. Measures like these would help ensure that the government fulfils their obligation in providing access to education for all, and that every child really does matter.
  • Posted by lesleyw85 May 05, 2020 at 14:52

    It would also be interesting to hear what the infection rates for Covid 19 have been like at the school hubs which have been established to help key workers go to work...I haven't heard anything around high infections rates from our local hub so that should be a starting point surely.
  • Posted by Alasdrum May 05, 2020 at 14:56

    The young must not be allowed to suffer from a lack of education that will ruin their lives in order to save some oldies like me who have been able to have a full life.
  • Posted by jh24 May 05, 2020 at 14:58

    Children of all ages will not be able to or won’t abide by social distancing rules. This would put all staff working in schools, transport staff on school routes and families at an increased risk. Children’s mental health has of course been impacted and this is a priority but potentially being able to complete home working in small groups rather than returning to a school setting.
  • Posted by Alison May 05, 2020 at 15:01

    For primary schools, I wonder whether more outdoor time might be helpful, especially in smaller schools. In some Danish schools, I understand that primary pupils are being divided into smaller groups than their full class and then spend an hour indoors, followed by an hour of outdoor play/learning, repeated a total of 3 times during the day. Half the school is on the opposite rotation, with an hour outdoors followed by an hour indoors x 3. There are all sorts of opportunities for outdoor learning that might be considered (gardening (which could include elements of history, geography, home economics etc as well as biology), other science experiments, PE, maths (measuring, shapes etc). There are also potential mental health benefits to such an approach. In the senior phase, it would be good to see more use being made of virtual classrooms (ie students might have regular classes via Zoom, Teams etc). I understand that there are access problems for many students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and that there may be safeguarding issues to consider. However, if these issues can be overcome as a priority, the home-school part of 'the new normal' can be closer to the students' actual timetables than the current arrangements. Our high school is using a mixture of MS Teams and Google classroom to post materials, and are doing a great job under the circumstances, but there's no facetime with classmates or teachers, and something that was closer to 'school', with more interaction with peers and teachers online would be much better if it's at all possible. More generally, I would like to see more information regarding transmission between children and from children to the wider community before I would be happy about schools returning. I think it is also important that testing capacity is increased further before schools reopen, to protect staff as well as children and their families and other contacts.
  • Posted by PaulineEdmond May 05, 2020 at 15:04

    Schools should open with a phased return for children at the beginning of June 2020 if the test, trace and detect system is fully operational and if the number of infected cases in Scotland continue to fall. The UK government proposed that if schools return in a phased return the R figure will only increase by 0.1 which would leave the R figure still below 1. The next 3 weeks should be spent with ongoing discussions with schools on how to implement social distancing within school environments with reductions in class sizes and reduced school hours. Some parents are reporting doing a fantastic job with home schooling being made available from the teaching staff but there are also reports from parents who are struggling to home school. With statistics available showing the increase in domestic abuse, reports of mental health difficulties and sales of alcohol increasing and families unable to visit wider family there is a need for children to return to school. Another proposal may be to start the summer holiday earlier at the beginning of June 2020 and bring children back to school in a phased return earlier than planned. After all it is unlikely there will be planned holidays taking place over the summer holidays.
  • Posted by nltcthgc May 05, 2020 at 15:10

    There is already scientific evidence which indicates there is a very, very low risk of young children passing on the covid 19 virus, so primary schools should aim to return to normal with no social distancing required. Sweden have not closed their primary schools at all and have not experienced any significant adverse consequences. Even if we get the children back for a week before the summer break, it would let them at least close off the year, especially for those transitioning to high school. High schools should also aim to return before the summer break, even if just for a week. People in at risk groups should continue to be protected but the virus will always be a risk, even with a vaccine in place - hundreds of thousands of people still die from the flu - and we need to get used to it and manage the risk on a personal basis. Look closely at the Swedish approach because our current approach has unnecessarily caused a state of mass panic with many people afraid to leave their homes. The consequences of continued lockdown restrictions and longterm restrictions of any kind are far worse than the virus itself. Children are the most important yet most vulnerable people in the world and we should be focusing our efforts on them over everything else if we really cared.
  • Posted by mariebeaton1 May 05, 2020 at 15:38

    As the risks are low for kids with no other health conditions I dont see the need for them to distance from one another, it is entirely unnatural for them to live in that way. Teachers can protect themselves with protective gear and perhaps make greater use of younger classroom support staff to mingle with the kids? I think a return after summer holidays is probably most feesible, perhaps a week or so earlier than normal to help with transitions.....I understand P1 and S1 have greater transitions but they will ALL be transitioning to their new normal - as will staff, as will parents so it needs to go slow and steady. But I dont think they need to maintain social distancing from one another.
  • Posted by JayP May 05, 2020 at 15:40

    I see no point in returning the children to school until after the holidays. Tough out the next month, half lockdown, half severe social distancing. After that only small family groups of distanced visitation in early to mid June, and even then be outside in family gardens not in public parks. We have neither the money or the equipment to prepare for all the people who will flout the social distancing rules and that can cause another wave of lockdowns, loss of loved ones, panic buying or limiting product purchase etc etc. Use what little funding is left to support food banks, volunteer staff etc, with PPE and look to returning the country to the new norm in August new school year. Its a shame alot of childre will miss on their transition but this is so much more important than rite of passage for a child. Adults who can work should return during the summer holidays as they normally would have during regular school breaks anyway but allow social distancing to be relaxed more for extended family support for childcare. If we are smart for the next 2 months we should be able to enjoy some of July as close to normal as possible.
  • Posted by deltakc May 05, 2020 at 15:41

    I understand the need for parents have their children return to school so that they can return to work however school cannot be used just for childcare, especially with the potential to risk others health. I suggest that employers start to look now at more flexible working for working parents, working from home where possible or shift work to allow for childcare at home. A close friend / family group for childcare would also help. I would love my teenager to go back to school however the infection rate is currently still too high and there is not enough research / evidence of how many children and teens have been or could be infected and pass on the virus. Social distancing would be very difficult so class sizes would need to be greatly reduced as would the number of pupils in school at a time. One day in school then one day homeschool on a rota would help to reduce the classes by half. I have seen how easily this virus spreads and how deadly it can be. Children can be infected and can get very ill. They can also easily pass the virus on through touch from and infected adult so the schools would need very strict hygiene rules and very strict teachers to enforce these, during and between each class. No matter how responsible parents think their children are, they can all be selfish and irresponsible.
  • Posted by Keila May 05, 2020 at 15:48

    Schools are due to close in June for the summer. Would it be more sensible to stay closed but with an earlier return date such as mid July? This would give Local Authorities time to liaise with education professionals and public health to put appropriate measures in place to support children and adults. The SG should then provide finance for summer schools/activities for children and young people to help with their learning and socialisation to prepare them for a return to more formal schooling. Children and young people who have ASN and those who are vulnerable or at risk for any reason, or have parents with physical or mental health needs who could be struggling with child care, should be given priority access to any summer school/activity programme.
  • Posted by sciuro May 05, 2020 at 15:52

    i am very glad that transitioning P7 pupils are being given special consideration; i know this has been a source of a lot of stress and anxiety in our household. looking beyond the summer, if social distancing requires some learning to take place at home, this will require ongoing flexibility and consideration from employers (and potential employers) to support this.
  • Posted by Markovitch12 May 05, 2020 at 16:02

    As many have noted the virus is not passed easily by children. In addition, the evidence coming out of the US is that the death rate due to the virus is much lower than originally predicted. - I think the children should go back to school as soon as possible - the summer holidays should be cut short to make up for the lost time in school - vulnerable, ie vulnerable to the virus, or children with vulnerable parents, carers should be identified and should isolate on a case by case basis. The risks children face spending 5 months off school are much greater than the risk from the virus. When children are sick we keep the child off school, not send home the whole school, that principle should be maintained
  • Posted by mgm May 05, 2020 at 16:10

    There is a need to separate the economic need for childcare from the debate about fully opening schools: decision should be firmly based on evidence of the safety for teachers, pupils and their families. Some evidence is coming through that children might actually be asymptomatic spreaders of the virus, if this is the case then it would be dangerous to reopen. School staff risks need to be addressed, e.g. many are over 50 and this age group is particularly at risk of serious illness from this virus particularly as they are in contact with multiple classes of pupils each week. This means that this group of workers are disadvantaged compared to other as they cannot maintain social distancing. Social distancing would be difficult to achieve, even in secondary schools. The need for more rooms and more space could lead to staff shortage to teach pupil groups. Staff numbers are also likely to be lower due to groups who are shielding or self-isolating. The issue of PPE seems contentious but why should teachers be different from other workers who will potentially have screens, face covering and other barriers to protect them and others from spreading the virus? Especially older teachers and others at higher risk. Many parents are very worried about sending their children back to school, this would impact on attendance levels on return. High levels of illness or self-isolation would also have an impact on attendance. Taken together, this means that even on weeks their class is attending school, significant number could still need to be taught online, meaning that teachers would potentially have to produce lessons, materials and support both in and out of school. Staff would be overstretched.
  • Posted by MairiM May 05, 2020 at 16:11

    Schools simply cannot be kept closed until August; its unthinkable. Children have already missed 21 days (110 hours) of school. If schools do not resume until August, children will have missed 56 days (294 hours). I appreciate we must proceed with caution, however I suspect that I am one of the silent majority (not active on twitter and other such mediums) desperate to see some balance applied vis a vis the response to this virus. Government are currently adhering to worst case scenario science, and ignoring anything which suggests overreaction. I'd suggest the Scottish government set a date of June 1 for schools to resume, and task individual schools with asking parents do they wish their child to return on June 1. This would save wasted places, of which there will be countless, given that many parents do not want their child to return before August. Allow parents such as myself, who are comfortable and confident regarding the level of risk, to have their children resume their education.
  • Posted by DMacDonald May 05, 2020 at 16:16

    Please reopen nurseries. While social distancing is difficult for young children, nursery staff are excellent at getting children to wash hands etc. More importantly, for young children their mental wellbeing and learning needs interaction with other young children. Please consider this carefully as well as considering the financial risk to private nurseries as many will close and leave less childcare available to parents in the future.
  • Posted by Stuart1964 May 05, 2020 at 16:20

    The above comment is entirely accurate based on the available data. We are not keeping children or young people in lockdown because there is a significant risk to them from COVID 19, we are doing it to protect those at risk from the virus. Children, adolescents and young adults are the main victims of the lockdown, the longer it continues the worse it will get. The social media threads shown to me by teenage children make grim reading. There is minimal risk to the children of a return to school early before the summer with appropriate safeguards for staff.
  • Posted by lynnemcm May 05, 2020 at 16:25

    Timing of schools going back must be based on evidence of safety for our children and families. Whenever that may be, employers need to support any changes required in childcare to support any changes in school provision. Some sort of transition for all children should be arranged. My son is in P1 and although we have been educating him on social distancing I think once back in the school setting with his friends it will be harder for kids to adhere to.
  • Posted by mklayne May 05, 2020 at 16:26

    Children in less-than-ideal home situations are being immensely deprived by doing this, and it's making working from home untenable for so many families. I don't have children, but still think that this should be a number one priority and I would gladly stay at home longer if it would allow children to get some normalcy back.
  • Posted by NicolaEliz May 05, 2020 at 16:28

    Please reopen schools even part time for pupils in the following order as soon as possible with appropriate social distancing: Vulnerable children who did not qualify/be invited to partake in the current childcare facility provision. Children who have additional support needs, who are missing out on an education by homeschooling. P7's due to transition to S1. There should be consideration to opt outs for parents who are afraid/have genuine concerns about bringing the virus home. Without the schools reopen, the economy will take longer to recover.
  • Posted by rennrah May 05, 2020 at 16:37

    In addition to the needs of the pupils, consideration needs to be given to the staff who are already or will be working in schools. We should be mindful of increasing pressure on education staff who will be asked to work away from home more and feel torn between their work commitments and being there for their own children. I do not want to see schools reopening to everyone before August and agree that priority should be given to transitioning pupils as a next step.
  • Posted by GraceMoore May 05, 2020 at 16:44

    I think we need to go softly, softly with this one. It would be awful to do the wrong thing and place people at risk. In particular, where children live in a household where a family member is being shielded there needs to be clear guidance on what is possible and what might introduce further risk into that household. The impact of children going back to school also needs to be considered in the context of the "bubble". Many families may wish to include grandparents in that bubble, but if those grandparents are in that"bubble" then schools may add risk unless the grandparents are under 70 and/or have no pre-existing morbidities. Thought needs to be given to toilet facilities, both for staff and children to ensure these are as risk free as possible.
  • Posted by skfarr May 05, 2020 at 16:46

    Currently teaching S1-S3 remotely, and it's very intense, both in terms of administration and making sure all pupils are getting my time and specific teaching input, as well as being available for their pastoral needs. The idea of them having a blend of online and in-school learning will see the standard of my online delivery fall, simply because of the time I will no longer have to spend on it (being in school, teaching the in-school groups, commuting). Supportive of the government getting children back in the safest way possible, but multi-tasking online and in-person teaching will be a significant challenge if we're talking about shifting to that in the next few weeks. If that's (frighteningly) the picture for August, then we'll have more time to plan thoroughly, and it will be much more manageable.
  • Posted by VinceMcGarry May 05, 2020 at 16:48

    Children with moderate additional learning needs (i.e. those attending mainstream schools and not just in designated special needs schools), particularly in early years of secondary education, must be included in any consideration for early return. The priority for supporting them should at least have parity with those in older age groups with exam / qualification concerns and provision for those with significant learning needs. They need additional teacher support in comparison with their peers and also in terms of any digital solutions. This group (similar to those in deprived backgrounds and some may be in both) are challenged with regards to digital access and digital literacy. Failure to address will result in them falling further behind their peer group with any chance of addressing the gap becoming more difficult by the month. This group are also more likely to experience higher levels of anxiety and longer term psychological harm through lack of capacity in terms of processing knowledge and emotions. For example: My daughter has specific language impairment. She had just started a specialist literacy support package called Read, Write, Inc. The aim of this course was to accelerate her learning and improve her 'literacy age'. This was stopped as it is not available remotely. The gap between her and her peers will now grow again until an equivalent has been put in place. She compartmentalises as a way to make sense of her world and keep it structured and manageable in a similar fashion to some of those on the autism spectrum. Parents are parents. Teachers are Teachers. Therefore, again, our ability to support learning is limited without causing more distress by forcing change upon her and her capacity to adapt.
  • Posted by Exteach May 05, 2020 at 16:48

    The pupils need to return to school. Some will be doing the work set by teachers other will not have done anything so the disparity in the classroom will be large. In the Scottish system the school holidays star at the end of June. Let’s face it the teachers have had an easy time, no travel to work, no discipline problems, less lesson preparation and marking so perhaps we should cancel the June to August summer holiday because it’s unlikely families will be going on holiday. Remember we have to think about the younger generation and how we are destroying their future.
  • Posted by Heather29 May 05, 2020 at 17:31

    Schools should only reopen if it’s a safe environment for both pupils and staff. That includes social distancing and making sure all surfaces are cleaned constantly. Many pupils including high school pupils struggle with the concept of maintaining distance from their teacher - many of whom may be considered vulnerable or live with someone who is vulnerable. There should be adequate supply of ppe/cleaning capacity for staff to work in an environment where they will be in contact with a group of individuals outside their household.
  • Posted by ljk84 May 05, 2020 at 17:37

    healthy children should return to school as soon as possible. There has been so much disruption to their lives already and they need some normality back. Also there are lots of vulnerable children out there for whom school is a lifeline
  • Posted by Alasdrum May 05, 2020 at 17:56

    Don’t think it is right for kids to miss out on critical education and development to save a relatively small number of people who have been able to live their lives.
  • Posted by J456 May 05, 2020 at 18:25

    It would be better to properly define 'vulnerable children'. Do you mean children especially vulnerable to COVID-19 (e.g. with cystic fibrosis)? Or children whose family circumstances make their education vulnerable to say disruption?
  • Posted by KarlG May 05, 2020 at 18:51

    Opening schools has to be safe for kids, teachers, parents etc. and safe in terms of R. Reopening schools is also key to allowing many people back to work and/or back to productivity. Balancing work and remote homes chooling is not simple, both parents work and kids schooling is likely to suffer (it certainly is in our home). Question: If schools don’t reopen until after the summer holidays then many children will not be at the level of learning normally expected. What are the options for allowing them to catch up? Should we be expecting kids in some years to repeat this year? How will we assess children’s needs on their resumption?
  • Posted by concernedparentandworker May 05, 2020 at 18:51

    Until schools get back those with children can not work effectively or efficiently risking the loss of many more jobs.
  • Posted by Kaybroonster May 05, 2020 at 19:17

    My kids are in P4 and P7. My P7 is autistic and is missing out on the enhanced transition which is desperately needed. My view is that going back before the summer to some reduced version of learning with restrictions that he couldn't follow due to his autism and a shorter transition period would have a longer term detrimental impact on him. You can't enforce social distancing on primary and nursery age kids. I would honestly rather keep my kids off for the rest of 2020 than send them back and endanger them or other family members. Education can be caught back up, you can't bring people back if they're victims of Covid. Please look at the bigger picture here, particularly for children with ASN.
  • Posted by andyhynds May 05, 2020 at 19:17

    I am a teacher in a school for secondary students. My topic is computer science. I have one of the largest school rooms. It contains 20 computers and space. Yet in meeting the guidelines at present I could only have 10 students at a time. The trap for contact would be in the corridors. I instigated a cleaning hygiene regime in the entrance and on the equipment prior to lockdown for all classes to reduce transmission. This included phones and hands. Time is removed from the lesson to comply with these objectives. Safety first. using a "Flipped classroom is fine ", in theory. But as a specialist in digital learning online, I know of pitfalls others are not aware of. My simple solution would be provide books for the students in S1 S2 S3 thus if they do not have a computer they can still learn the theory. The design of material for the phone, tablet and computer is minimal in its value, unless it can be backed up with practicals of many hours and theory. Thus unless the classes and the school can be assured of hygiene and enforcement of close areas the petri dish will be active. Not to mention the possible mutation of the outbreak 2 in the school that attacks the younger students. So in conclusion unless the Government can put into place a manual system of learning , from the past we will struggle with the two tier system of education. Not in the best interests for the Scottish Education . ( I am a New Zealand ) teacher with experience in online learning and flipped classroom and across country learning. Thank you for the opportunity in providing my thoughts.
  • Posted by Janet456 May 05, 2020 at 19:28

    The Scottish Govt should give serious consideration to all pupils repeating the year - those who have not been able to sit exams are going to be disadvantaged and those sitting exams next year will also be losing critical teaching time. Hold back the new p1 intake and give all the children this year back in their lives. That way there would be no immediate pressure to consider reopening. Admittedly this does not resolve the childcare issue for those who need to get back to work but perhaps this issue could be addressed separately.
  • Posted by steves01x May 05, 2020 at 19:54

    As others have mentioned, the science appears so far to indicate the kids are pretty much all safe (assuming no under laying issues). If the schools dont go back then many adults wont be able to go back to work. Even if the kids can get back 1 or 2 days a week with a split in the class numbers - this would allow the teachers to spend a bit more time with each child to get their learning back on track and allow for child specific home learning work.
  • Posted by Marie1974 May 05, 2020 at 20:03

    Phased start is the only logical idea, either vulnerable children and those in need first or Part time schooling starting in August would be a good idea. Eg each age group gets a day. Children entering 1st year or p1 could delay their transitions until August. They don’t have to start in August going straight to class just move the transition days forward. Parents would have to cover school holiday period anyway and it’s not that far away!
  • Posted by adnil May 05, 2020 at 20:20

    Real concerns over social distancing in my sons secondary school. It is a modern super school but some toilet facilities are closed, more than half the basins are out of order. Hygiene is very poor. At lunch you won't be able to stop the burger and roll vans outside of school. Buses to school, corridors cannot social distance. He is S4 and will be studying for Highers next year. A fit 16 year old but vulnerable parents at home. Quality remote learning is possible for this age group, video lessons, and should be implemented.
  • Posted by Scott May 05, 2020 at 20:30

    Re the option of returning to school in part-time school blocks: The same day(s) every week would be preferable than a week on week off - both for kids routine and my own work implications . I am speaking from the perspective of a self-employed parent of 2 primary school children. Unpredictability is the hardest to manage being self-employed so routine and advance notice of what my "part time" block might look like is the easiest to manage.
  • Posted by Walmer3 May 05, 2020 at 20:46

    As a parent of a current p7 and current s3 I appreciate the recognition of the importance of a planned transition into secondary, and proper support as children go into their first major examination year.
  • Posted by TiMoMac May 05, 2020 at 21:04

    As parents with a child completely thriving since the school buildings closed, any exploration of more flexible schooling is very welcome. The blend of home and school with online support seems a good way forward. It might be worth asking schools to canvass parents to find out which parents can maintain home support and which ones can't return to work unless their children can access a local school.
  • Posted by ls83 May 05, 2020 at 21:52

    Asking people to largely return to work with no opening of child care (paid facilities) or schools is impracticle. Schools stating they are not childcare is a good and well but how do people go to work when told not allowed to leave children with family that don't live in the household and not having enough spaces at hubs. If hubs were to increase places I think school is safer - so far key workers kids have been attending and there are no documented mass outbreaks in the hubs for staff working there despite ALL children being from high risk families working the frontline. Part time schooling also poses problems to families relying on working without significant financial support or alternative childcare placements being open to offer wrap around care. I'm sure people will still expect access to NHS and lots of NHS staff have children so needs to be some thought to that. Social distancing is unlikely to work in schools as younger children simply don't understand - youngest have no idea what 2 metres even is. The future generation will suffer long term with lack of education there is no magic catch up to missing months of school.
  • Posted by Joysilvercat May 05, 2020 at 22:05

    The last reason for opening schools has to be convenience. Even transition and welfare needs are less critical than risking lives.
  • Posted by Stephaniekeachie May 05, 2020 at 22:18

    My daughter is in s1 going into s2 she is missing the teaching element in school as our subjects currently just post assignments online. She’s not missing the social element. She is worried at 12 about what impact this will have on her future education. Based on what she is getting at the moment from school. There needs to be consistency on the online offering across Scotland but perhaps the government could look at small Rural schools and their roll rather than making a blanket call based on sizes of city schools
  • Posted by MPatterson13 May 05, 2020 at 22:34

    Appreciate that we do not want to have a second wave of infection but as an ex teacher I am not sure how you can enforce social distancing on children beyond the classroom. There are currently many examples of secondary pupils congregating with friends in the current spell of good weather. We can take steps to manage them in school but beyond the classroom? Also it would be very difficult to ensure younger pupils are social distancing outside as well. Also concerned that the pupils will be disadvantaged if the normal transition processes are overlooked for P1, P7 and into senior phase. Maybe an early start in August even if only a week, would allow Time to manage and support transitions. Some of the suggestions and comments rightly point out how PPE might be scary and inappropriate in nursery and primary.
  • Posted by Cara18 May 05, 2020 at 22:36

    I feel it is really important to get our S3–5s who are about to become S4-6’s back into school. They are suffering as they try to start their exam curriculum with little teacher support (the teachers are doing all they can, but technology cannot replace face to face teaching). I would support them being back in school for a focussed few weeks before the summer holidays rather than wait a long stretch until after the summer. Many kids will lose momentum and motivation which may be difficult to get back. This age group are old enough to understand social distancing and behave sensibly in school. Teenagers mental health is suffering too from being isolated from friends and the positive influence of teachers and school. I would sacrifice other measures to get kids back to school. For context I have twins in S3 in a state school in Midlothian.
  • Posted by laurencebews May 05, 2020 at 22:45

    I feel sorry for all parents of school age children, I am myself one, and also a teacher. Just saying put kids back to school is not practical. Social distancing will be a huge issue. Classes of up to 33 will only be allowed 8-9 pupils in them at one time. Where do all the other pupils go instead? People talk about children not being affecting in the same way and although this is true to an extent what about the staff who will have to teach these children. Will they need PPE in a classrooom. Remember one of the reasons for schools shutting down before the government shut them down was due to staff shortages as staff were self isolating due to medical conditions etc. How will this have changed and by how much when pupils do return to school. We hear about schools being re-designed to help but where will the time and money for this come from. Many schools are full or over capacity and in cities there is little capacity to temporary expand them to help. Furthermore a staged return is the only sensible policy there is but who will look after the kids who are not allowed to go to school unless some of the social distancing poicies have been re-shaped and modified to ensure that this is feasible. I have great sympathy for everyone that has been affected but we need to ensure that we provide a safe environment for all when we return to our classrooms hopefully sooner rather than later.
  • Posted by halesy May 05, 2020 at 22:48

    Children should return to school as soon as possible as their education is suffering. This is especially important due to disparity in the current approaches by different local authorities. There is not enough use of resources provided by GLOW which has a range of tools to facilitate distance learning. These tools are not being used by my local authority (East Dunbartonshire). Instead we receive random messages through Learning Journals during the course of the week in an unstructured fashion. This makes it almost impossible to work and home school. Local authorities should make use of the existing tools and should provide online classes. Unless this happens pupils will be disadvantaged. Parents (generally) aren't teachers and do not have the training or the time to perform these duties, while trying to work full time.
  • Posted by Smcgra11 May 05, 2020 at 23:03

    Is this not our opportunity to reset the school calendar?Continue this school session to Nov/Dec. Allows us to rebuild and repair. New school session start again in January. Gives time for school improvement plans to be worked through etc There are so many issues with the long school summer holidays. This is the chance to move to a 5 weeks on/3 weeks off system (or similar)
  • Posted by Smcgra11 May 05, 2020 at 23:05

    Outdoor learning Provisions for outdoor learning will need to be considered in schools. There will be a much greater emphasis and reliance on outdoor learning as a way of physical distancing and providing extra space. The value of this should be strongly highlighted to local authorities, head teachers and staff and the public. Organisations such as WOSDEC, Field Studies Council and communuty groups will have a role in this. Good practice examples from e.g Denmark could be explored.
  • Posted by Smcgra11 May 05, 2020 at 23:06

    Attainment The focus for next school session has to be health and wellbeing and rebuilding our school and wider communities. The Scot Government should recognise this by delaying asking for attainment data from primary and early secondary. Raising attainment is important but our young people need to be emotionally ready to learn again and time given for relationships to rebuild and communities to grow again. This also will have an impact on those studying for national qualifications
  • Posted by MGlasfam May 05, 2020 at 23:20

    Keep all children at home till August/September and only then start a phased basis back with oldest children first who can understand social distancing. Introduce mix of part school days and home learning. We all want to get back to work but our children's safety comes first. Children might be less likely to get the virus or die from it but that doesnt mean it wont happen and one child's death is too many. Also what about the safety of teachers and other school staff. Children can adapt easily to new ways of learning. The whole year of 2021/21 could be undertaken in a different way to protect not only the children's safety but all others they come into contact with. Different arrangements can be put in place for those with additional support needs or vulnerable children. Until a vaccine is found, if schools return to normal, many teachers are likely to get the virus which will disrupt the childrens education in a different
  • Posted by spring May 05, 2020 at 23:27

    It is quite disingenuous to say that this is a discussion based on children's safety since they will nearly all be fine. A tiny minority can be shielded at home as at present. It is reasonable to discuss the safety of others such as elderly grandparents and indeed school staff who would be exposed to the children. Because we have so little data on real infection rates it is going to be a guess in the end but my view is that the future of children is much more dependant on getting back to normal socially, educationally and of course economically than it is on arguing about 2nd waves and who should wear masks. I would put the interests of children and young people ahead of the rest of the population 100% of the time. Unfortunately rhetoric about 1 life lost being a life too many ignores that most important group - who probably haven't signed up for this debate.
  • Posted by Shielder May 05, 2020 at 23:46

    Schools should remain closed until the track, trace, isolate system is fully operational and known positive covid case numbers are much lower, and therefore manageable under this system. I am a parent in the shielded group and that comes with many concerns. I get that thankfully most children don't get seriously ill with the virus. however there is just to much unknown about how much they transmit it. My child is going into S4 so I'm aware the importance of education but am of the belief that you can catch up with school work and home schooling has worked far better than I thought it would. Class sizes are far too big for effective social distancing. For working parents where home working is not an option, perhaps schools should open for them as they did for key workers. This would mean less pupils which would make the distancing a bit more realistic and also less staff required. It is essential the staff have PPE and hygiene in school becomes part of the curriculum in each class. Schools should remain closed until August at the very earliest. The Irish PM has called this correctly imo.
  • Posted by Katie May 06, 2020 at 01:38

    All primary and nursery children should return after summer to current year group, teacher and classmates, at least until September weekend or October week. They will need time to re-adjust to school life and, for those moving from p7 to s1, they will need time to properly finish their primary school days and transition to secondary - this cannot be done properly just now as secondary schools will not really be operating properly to allow visits / experience of secondary life. Allowing a return to current year group after summer will be far better for mental health and stability, and will allow teachers who know the pupils well the chance to identify issues and communicate these to secondary schools.
  • Posted by Kirklistonjohn May 06, 2020 at 02:20

    Remote teaching should be increased but be more focused and teacher led - especially create the opportunity for one to one video links for tutorials between teacher and pupil. This would take the weight of parents especially key workers and those working at home and tap in to the vast teacher at home resource.
  • Posted by Brett May 06, 2020 at 05:11

    Children can be infected and can infect others. Their safe return to school and a new normal for them is desirable but shouldn't be rushed. I would support waiting until the start of a new term to restart learning. The new term date could be brought forward, shortening the summer break, if appropriate. Or introduce Saturdays in the short term. I would also support a phased return prior to the restart of formal lessons. For example, some classes outside to learn about their new normal and what to expect when they return. To begin with their physical and mental well-being. After such a long period of uncertainty it is critical that children can express how they feel and know it's ok to not be ok. To feel safe at school and then to restart their education.
  • Posted by Ericdmc85 May 06, 2020 at 07:03

    Allow schools to re-open, teach kids about proper hygiene, have them clean their own desks, have them wash hands before eating. This will not only educate them, but ensure they work in a clean environment.
  • Posted by lmjdear May 06, 2020 at 07:08

    Risk to children is low especially the younger they are (contrary to 'normal') illnesses. Get kids back to school before the summer and mayne shorten summer holiday, but get them back for their sake. Dont hinder their cdevelopment and mental health and wellbeing any longer. if parents dont want to send them thats fine. while im sure this won't be a popular comment, health workers children are more likely at this time to be at risk of spreading infection than the general population so maybe you should split those into separate groups if you are soo worried (im actually not). Nothing else can truely work/open if kids are home and need childcare.
  • Posted by FBreslinDavda May 06, 2020 at 07:25

    I guess we have to consider if August is safer than June what will have changed by August - will we have a vaccine by then and if a vaccine is not likely for a long time what should be done then. Can schools be closed indefinitely? Also council/private nurseries equally important in this discussion - all connected many parents have children nurseries and school and there is a similar impact on work/children not attending.
  • Posted by Kmcworm May 06, 2020 at 07:47

    With the end of term being only weeks away I see no point in reopening schools before the summer holidays, and risking the likely potential exponential transmission of the virus, undoing all that we have sacrificed over the past many weeks by staying at home, it would be like opening a set of floodgates, especially for the wider families at home . Children would unlikely settle to learn anything in such a short time following the major upheaval that they have experienced. Having not seen their friends for so long you cannot expect children to maintain social distancing, which I believe, having been a teacher myself, is impossible in a school setting anyway. I sympathise with the p7 transitioners, but these times are exceptional and so must be our responses to it. As a parent I would not feel comfortable sending my kids back before the summer, not sure I would be comfortable in August either at the moment with the way things are now. This additional time off gives the govt the chance to see how the land lies come August and have fully thought out strategies for the way forward then, now is too much too soon and the results could be disastrous. Children won’t be “behind” as they are all in the same situation, the curriculum can be adapted to meet the needs of this. As a previous commenter said, years in school can be repeated, the dead cannot be got back.
  • Posted by SineadRhodes May 06, 2020 at 07:52

    Children with additional support needs e.g. ADHD, autism, DCD/Dyspraxia and those who are vulnerable should be prioritised in the phased return. The gap in their learning and detriment to their social function will be amongst the greatest. These families are disproportionately from poorer socio-economic backgrounds and less likely to have relevant technology e.g. laptop. Simply providing these facilities does not work given the barriers to their learning that need to be facilitated by the physical presence of a teacher. Their return to school should be prioritised, when it is deemed safe for children to return, across primary and high school settings. They would benefit from some provision being made available in the summer if at all possible. If in the longer term there is going to be online learning, even on a part-time basis, this needs to be interactive. Teachers setting exercises and providing answers is not optimal for learning. Children and young people need online classes where teachers explain concepts as they are doing in Universities. Some schools are providing this but it is very variable.
  • Posted by bq28r110 May 06, 2020 at 07:55

    It seems like the government is presenting only 2 options regarding the timeline for school returns Eg Either return in June (for some classes if not all), or schools closed AND no childcare at all until the start of the school year in August. What about the third option of allowing some childcare facilities, or childcare arrangements ( in small groups, in the home) to resume before the next school year even if not in June (ie in July) if the epidemiological modelling suggests there is little risk in doing so? Prolonging full removal of childcare longer than necessary will not only put a huge demand on working parents that may result in many (disproportionately women) being pushed out of the work force, but also force many childcare providers out of business; compounding difficulties for parents when lockdown measures are fully lifted . If the decision is taken to close schools until August, what childcare options or support can the government provide, particularly to parents with young children where continuing to work full time in the absence of any childcare is not realistic or viable for 4+ months?
  • Posted by Jillm May 06, 2020 at 08:14

    This isn’t just about adults being able to return to work and education this is about the mental health and well-being of our children they need social interaction and to be around their friends. Given the recent scientific findings that children do not spread the virus it seems bizarre that we wouldn’t be moving quickly on returning our children to school. We cannot ask 5 year olds to socially distance at school this is impossible they are children. If schools don’t return before the summer there needs to be a transition after the holidays with children returning to their current child care setting and then moving on at a defined date. Regardless we need a date and a definitive plan not this wishy washy we might / we might not with no commitment it’s unsettling for everyone.
  • Posted by Jac01475 May 06, 2020 at 08:18

    Early Years needs to be considered separate from schools as it is not the same. Im currently working a childcare hub and it’s almost impossible to social distance from the children as they are only 3 & 4 and don’t understand the need to stay apart from staff or other children. At present we have two staff and max three children and we are finding it impossible we are all worried how it will look when all staff and 60 children return. Can we also consider that myself and our staff have worked the hubs since week one of lockdown on a rota basis week on week off, on the week off we are carrying out CPD training and delivering home learning activities for our children through twitter and also call every parent once a week to check how they are doing and if they need anything. So just to clarify we have not been off for the 6 weeks of lockdown we have been working everyday including the easter holidays and the bank holiday so lets consider that before assuming children should return early during the summer holidays.
  • Posted by Pammylaird May 06, 2020 at 08:53

    There needs to be a phased return before the summer holidays for key year groups i.e. P6 and currents S3-5. The primary school children need to participate in a very important rite of passage of leaving their friends and going to High School and for senior school children, in respect of which the cancellation of exams could have serious long term consequences, they need to regroup with their peers and teachers to get guidance on the next stage of their school career. There has been so much emphasis on protecting the elderly to the sacrifice of our young people who are our and the country's future.
  • Posted by Pammylaird May 06, 2020 at 08:54

    Previous comment of mine should have read P7, not p6.
  • Posted by PDT10 May 06, 2020 at 08:59

    Consideration should be given to cancelling school holidays this year enabling children to return to school (if safe to do so). Cut class size to ensure social distancing is adhered to with children going to school every second day and given work for they day they remain at home. This will bring some semblance of structure back to their lives.
  • Posted by Louisethomson20 May 06, 2020 at 09:02

    For those who are relying on public statements of immunity and low risk for children: there is no real hard evidence. This is a virus that we are still learning about. I suggest we ask young people how they feel about being told back in you go so we can go back to work. At least at present the children whose parents have to go to work because they are key workers, they are benefiting from small numbers, social distancing measures and so on. Why should we consider widening the number of children going into schools before we can provide similar measures?? Please don t make this compulsory and remember our young people have a view on this too.
  • Posted by sharkfin0_0 May 06, 2020 at 09:05

    I wonder if there is an appreciation of the levels of anxiety being experienced by teachers across the country at this time? Most staff in my school worked through the Easter holidays supporting our local HUB school for children of keyworkers and are working hard every day to both staff the HUB school and provide support for home learning through platforms that are new to them. I am so proud of the way staff teams have pulled together to support each other and the children and families that they care about but many of these members of staff are also supporting their own children and other family members who may be unwell and/or vulnerable. Every day I wake up worrying about when and how we are going to be expected to reopen schools. How do we maintain social distancing with young children in small buildings (toileting, lunch times, moving around the classroom, play based learning)? If children are coming in to school on a rota, who looks after OUR children when it's not their turn to be in school? What about children of NHS workers, etc? Are we going to be expected to teach the children who are in school AND continue to provide home learning opportunities? Where does the buck stop if someone gets ill in our schools? Who is responsible for doing the planning of what schools should look like and how they should operate when they reopen? How much notice are we going to have of schools reopening? How on earth do we keep schools clean with minimal janitor and cleaning hours? I know I am not the only teacher waking up early every morning worrying about these things and many more. I haven't even touched on the health and wellbeing of my own children. I fully appreciate that we are not the only profession who are suffering from anxiety but schools seem to be top of the news every day and I have seen no evidence of recognition of what school staff are feeling. Thank you to everyone who is working their socks off to support children and families at this time.
  • Posted by JAB May 06, 2020 at 09:17

    I recognise the difficulty in making decisions about school; and I recognise that enormous challenge which schools and government face. In very difficult circumstances, schools have managed to deliver some education to some people some of the time. No mean feat. But I think that the situation has showed the limitations of technology. The online systems are simply not a like-for-like replacement for face-to-face engagement. They should not therefore be posited as an alternative. Distance schooling needs to be redesigned from the ground up with the limits (and enhancements) of the delivery mechanism fully considered. I like the idea of a blend. But I think that the blend really must involve some face to face time. Children need to get away from their families (in a good way); they need to engage with each other; and take responsibility (to a limited degree) for their learning. I am concerned that what we are losing now is not "education", but socialisation - as children learn to engage with each other, with the wider world and with authority. Although I am open to persuasion, I am not sure that technology can deliver the social aspects of education essential to being a rounded human being in adult society. I am also concerned that a reliance on technology will inevitably leave some children behind. And thus far, efforts to include them seem to me to have resulted in inadvertent stigmatisation. (Imagine being told that you are on the 5% in your school who must attend because you don't have access to internet, technology or opportunity.) So we need to find a way to promote inclusion which does not rest on a form of "lowest common denominator"; but which sets an objective standard for everyone. By the way, I really welcome the opportunity to take part in this kind of debate.
  • Posted by RMcg May 06, 2020 at 09:35

    Although it appears that the risk of children suffering from COVID-19 themselves is minimal, until we know whether or not they can transmit the virus to others it seems rather reckless to rush them back into schools. Anyone with young children will know that enforcing social distancing is almost impossible. They will not be able to maintain a 2 metre distance from each other or their teacher all day, never mind not touching the same materials, door handles, tables etc. It seems inevitable (assuming transmission is possible), that children will spread the virus at schools and nurseries and then take it home and infect their households. Many people have commented that returning to schools is essential for children's mental health. I agree that socialising with peers is a vital part of childhood. However, this will also need to be balanced with the anxiety and stress that an extremely modified and socially distanced school experience may cause. Teachers not being able to provide support or potentially wearing PPE, children themselves having to wear face masks, not being able to play with their friends and being constantly reminded not to touch things or get too close could be extremely stressful for children. Children are likely to be more susceptible to separation anxiety and anxiety in general after weeks of lockdown so their return to school has to be sensitive to children’s’ experiences and perceptions of the situation. Since the Government is considering a 'bubble' approach allowing households to mix, perhaps a similar system could work in schools? Having a small group of children and their teacher interact without strict social distancing but enhanced hygiene measures. This would make tracing any transmission a little easier and allow the children to have a more 'normal' and productive learning experience. It will be especially important that parents are kept well informed about the measures taken in each individual school when the children go back so that they can start to prepare their children for what to expect. I don’t just mean the general distancing and hygiene measures but a step-by-step example of what the new school day will look like.
  • Posted by kenbro May 06, 2020 at 09:42

    We need to consider out of school services as well. If schools restart with usual start and end times and parents go back to work, they'll need out of school care. We run an out of school club in a small childminding setting and social distancing would be impossible. And if school attendance was on alternate days, our service wouldn't be viable anyway if the self employed support scheme ended at the same time. Perhaps it would make sense to extend the school day or offer out of school care within school premises.
  • Posted by jessica78 May 06, 2020 at 09:50

    Schools re-opening and social distancing are mutually exclusive at present. It is neither possible nor desirable to have children and young people in an environment in which they are constantly having to police their interactions with others. What happens when I child is distressed, or a young person wants to disclose something in confidence? Either we accept that schools cannot reopen until the R number is sufficiently low to negate risk, or we decide that our economy comes first (which is by no means an unreasonable assertion, of course) and place our staff, pupils and wider community in danger. Even with provision of PPE a huge infrastructure issue presents itself for schools in terms of transport to school, handwashing facilities, catering etc. I have spent some time working in one of the school hubs and, over our two week period, accepted that we would essentially have to view ourselves as a household. There may well be scope to gradually increase the groups of small numbers of pupils in on e.g. two week rotations, but this can only happen if there are sufficient staff. It is assumed that there will be a scoping exercise to look at staff who are current shielding/vulnerable and whether they can reasonably be expected to work in school. Those who cannot work out of the home could then lead the online work for young people not accessing the school building. Schools are not childcare but out economy is set up in such a way that the majority of families need two wages in order to have any reasonable standard of living. The vast majority of families do not have one parent at home full time and this continued assumption is a huge frustration for those of us balancing work and family with two full time jobs to consider. There needs to be a very clear message to employers around continuing to offer the flexible and remote working they have been able to in recent weeks. Whilst this would not cover everyone, it would help to prioritise school spaces as we gradually expand current processes around the allocation of hub spaces for children who have both parents as key workers. For example, if construction is deemed a priority area, the children of two constructions workers could be given space. None of this, though, begins to address the issues around raising attainment and the statistical data that is currently used to hold schools to account. Only be announcing a suspension of this process (Insight, Education Scotland visits etc.)for two-three years can we hope that schools will make decisions about their young people based on wellbeing.
  • Posted by JDR May 06, 2020 at 09:59

    As a working parent with 3 young children (8, 6 and 4) I am really concerned about any further delay to them being able to return to school in at least some capacity. I completely accept that things will not look normal for them for some time to come. Our school have been fantastically supportive, however that does not replace the feedback children would be getting from their teachers if they were seeing them. Over the last few weeks I have witnessed their behaviour change as their anxiety and disruption to their routine increases. I fear that if they are not able to return before the summer, even in some capacity (ie a morning per week for a few weeks etc), the separation anxiety they will face if the period of absence is prolonged. My youngest is due to start school in the summer and is currently missing out on his funded childcare place and all the opportunities that would provide in terms of preparation for transition that I cannot replicate from home. I do not think delaying the P1 intake is a good idea, although I can see that having full classes is not an option, possibly even in August. I'd like consideration to be given to a reduction in the period of the summer holidays, with an earlier start for schools given that the possibility for holidays in any capacity is likely to be significantly reduced. Working from home and trying to educate children is impossible - until we can get children back into their routine, it is not possible to work effectively although I am very lucky to be able to work from home for the majority of my time and intend to continue to do so long after restrictions have been lifted. I expect schools could readily identify repurposing of their existing facilities, including dining halls, gym halls etc into spaces for teaching. My worry is that if children are not able to return in some form in June, schools will not have the ability to test the measures they put in place before the start of next session. There is a big difference between planning on paper and observing the impact of these measures in "real life".
  • Posted by Djalaodbdld May 06, 2020 at 10:10

    If there is a return to school before the summer holidays it should be at the parents discretion. I do not support the wearing of masks in schools as having worked in a primary school with young children this would just not be practical. I support children only attending say half the week and the other half the other week. I do not think that pupils should repeat the school year as this would be detrimental to those at the two ends of the schooling spectrum. I think that those who do not receive the grades that they feel they should due to the SQA basing results on teachers predicting grades should automatically have the option to resist the exams to attain a higher grade.
  • Posted by Whyte2007 May 06, 2020 at 10:23

    We should only be considering allowing schools back whether that be a phased return or other when absolutely safe to do so. I just don't know how a phased return would even be possible for working parents when normal childcare options aren't available. I have one child at Primary and one child at Secondary with both schools falling under different Councils would their school days be the same? What about School transport, we live in a village and rely on school busses, would they be allowed to operate? I think moving the school holidays forward and giving us time to get proper structures in place and hopefully more time to be closer to a vaccine is the best option.
  • Posted by Tiernan28 May 06, 2020 at 10:25

    As many have said it is the P7 group who are paying the highest price. No return to a familiar environment is on the cards and no closure for the last 7 years in primary school. This group should be prioritised and if possible return before the Summer break to allow for transition events. It is not conceivable that, despite the best efforts of schools, they should be catapulted into High School come August.
  • Posted by gmlw May 06, 2020 at 10:59

    This comment has been removed by a moderator.

  • Posted by glasgowdoctor May 06, 2020 at 11:03

    Can I strongly recommend that the Scottish Government urgently commences an ongoing review of the emerging evidence from other countries in both Europe and Asia where schools are re-opening or - in the case Sweden and South Korea - where schools have never closed. The current rhetoric from the Scottish Government completely ignores this emerging evidence. Additionally, early comment by Bruce Aylward at the WHO in particular indicated that intensive contact tracing overseen by the WHO in China outwith Hubei province indicated that children played close to no role in spreading COVID-19 there. This needs urgent investigation as if true, schools and nurseries can re-open without social distancing of children so long as staff can socially distance from each other which I imagine would be straightforward. Prolonged closure of schools or re-opening with strict social distancing for a long period risks the development of tens of thousands of children who have no recent experience of socialising in a normal way with their peers. It is not difficult to see how this could cause lasting damage to our society in terms of disintegrating social cohesion and - in a worst case scenario - societal breakdown in years to come. Finally, can I ask the government to cease the rhetoric regarding a return to school as being a risk to children. This completely reframes the notion of the risks that we take every day. Prior to COVID-19, children risked being involved in a car accident on the way to school or being run down by a car. Current statistics indicate that this risk (which was an accepted risk to the population and government given that it did no result in school closures/parents stopping their children attending schools) is substantially greater than a child becoming significantly unwell with COVID-19. Additionally, there are many other serious illness that are a much greater threat to children than COVID-19. Please be honest and admit that school closures were intended as a measure designed to protect the older members of society from COVID-19 and give the credit that is due to the children for making an enormous sacrifice for the benefit of others. The Scottish Government rhetoric on the risks to children from COVID-19 appears to be demonstrably stopping parents from seeking medical help when their children develop symptoms suggestive of these serious illnesses.
  • Posted by Nicmullan May 06, 2020 at 11:11

    Children should only return to school when proper procedures are in place for social distancing. Whether this part time schooling supported by online. There is no social distancing in the hub I work at and it is causing me a considerable amount of stress as a teacher to go and teach and then return to my 3 children whom I could possibly infect with this virus. There is no mention of this by the government at the moment. I am already endangering my family and I do not wish them to return to school until that the government are making sure they are safe. This is temporary and will pass however our children need to be kept safe.
  • Posted by Flowergirl May 06, 2020 at 11:24

    I come from a different perspective. I understand the desire for kids to be back at school but as the mother of a teacher I want to make sure my daughter is safe. What measures will be in place to protect teachers? It’s all well and good saying kids are not affected as badly by this virus but they can transmit it. I worry about my child and all other teachers.
  • Posted by helenC May 06, 2020 at 11:24

    Some schools may be able to implement social distancing and safety measures more easily than others - particularly rural schools with few pupils. Rather than a blanket 'one-size-fits-all' approach, it would be sensible to allow schools to work with the parents and guardians to find a solution that works for them. Some parents may wish to keep their children at home longer which is fine, but we should be starting the conversations with the school now to find the right path for all stakeholders.
  • Posted by mg74 May 06, 2020 at 11:28

    Schools need time to plan for social distancing. Many children in my area travel at least 30 minutes on busy school busses to get our secondary school. Online learning working well for older children, teachers have been brilliant. Rotating 1 week in school a month for contact time and therefore allowing numbers in school to be kept low could work well for S4 -S6.
  • Posted by Jo May 06, 2020 at 11:41

    I urge the Scottish Government to make some practical suggestions. Social distancing is not possible for any age group. Younger pupils don't understand it, older ones think they are invincible and will on the whole ignore it. The schools where I live have little space for the numbers of pupils as it was pre Covid19. To social distance in the classrooms of these schools would mean allowing only 3 maybe 4 pupils in a class at any one time. So for a class of 32 what are we going to have pupils attending once every 8-10 weeks. Schools do not have the resources to switch to online learning and teachers do not have the training. We cannot continue to allow fear to dominate the current situation. We need to take steps to return to normal and unfortunately I cannot return to work until schools go back. My child is due to transition to S1 not old enough to be left alone all day whilst "home-schooling". Schools returning are necessary unless the plan is we return to all women remaining at home!! After all the surveys have said 2 parents may be at home right now but it's the women who still do the majority of childcare and school work with the children.
  • Posted by LauraJones May 06, 2020 at 11:44

    Our children will be suffering from this for the rest of their lives, some will never catch up, and they will be paying the bill. We NEED to get them back to school and normality as soon as possible. Reopen BEFORE SUMMER as a priority. Another 15weeks without routine, learning, friends, not to mention parents who are trying to wfh with kids in tow who need homeschooling
  • Posted by Saltirelassy May 06, 2020 at 11:45

    problems - buses to school, classroom social distancing possible but outwith classrooms eg toilets, corridors poses difficulties. First aid duties in schools would not allow social distancing. If children were to have blended learning could 'younger grandparents' (under 70) be allowed to get involved to look after children, help with learning, even if parents are working from home - which is not easy with kids running around or for the supervision of education. Flexible learning ie 'workstores' rather than timetabled classes would give working parents the opportunity to assist with schoolwork in evenings and lessen the stress for all.
  • Posted by vic666 May 06, 2020 at 11:45

    Both my partner and I work for the NHS There are options Split week, Mon, Wed, Fri for 2 years, Tue, Thu & Sat for another 2 years Start year in July/August These are unprecedented times, need to use options outside 'norms' Basic PPE (gloves and masks) for everyone The kids need to go back, when it is reasonable to do so. Online learning isn't available to all, some just cant afford it, comments regarding this are just unacceptable. Some of the comments around keeping everyone safe are hard to take, especially when you are front line NHS Workers, and you come home to your three kids (teenagers) every day, who are having to home school themselves. Not really supportive of the NHS ? Need to move to some level of support-in school (current situation is unacceptable)
  • Posted by Thistle May 06, 2020 at 11:48

    I think that year groups should remain as last session between August and October - primary 7 should stay in primary to allow them to have some form of leaving celebrations and p1s shouldn't start until then either. Having only p2 - p7 and s2-s5 in secondary schools would help manage numbers though I know this would have an impact on nurseries too. 25% of pupils in at a time, and remaining in one class as much as possible with staff moving around the corridors rather than pupils. Practical classes in blocks to do the same. All pupils given a device or using their own as I can't see a solution to sharing computers. PA systems to be installed if not already there as a system of bells is not as flexible and this would allow staggered intervals and lunchtimes to be announced.
  • Posted by Gunsite May 06, 2020 at 11:55

    Leave schools closed till after summer holidays
  • Posted by Rabg May 06, 2020 at 11:56

    From what we have seen with Britain having the highest rates in Europe and only second behind the USA in total numbers, we have to learn the lessons of not going in a lockdown scenario sooner. Therefore coming out of the lockdown will be more damaging in the long term as the risk of a second or 3rd wave of the virus would be far higher. The lockdown should be extended till the end of June, so that the ‘R’ value has the best chance to come down, therefore reducing the risk of any further lockdowns in the future. If we reduce measures then before then people will naturally become more relaxed about the measures in place and the risk of further lockdowns would be inevitable. If the ‘R’ value is brought down to 0.1 or lower then it would be fair to say that we have beaten this, any higher would risk further infection and further lockdown. If we start to ease lockdown at the end of May then we are half heartedly beating this and not giving everybody the best chance to come out of this and resume normal life quicker. Short term pain for long term gain. If we lockdown till end of June then and the ‘R’ value is down at 0.1 or lower then we can basically resume normal life instead of prolonged agony of semi lockdown, social distancing for the rest of the year! For an extra 4-5 weeks of full lockdown is better than having another 5-6 months of a semi life that’s actually just rubbish. Children not getting the education they deserve because they are not at school as they should be, work places like the hospitality industries not being able to operate as they should. If we come out of lockdown end of May in stages we are just prolonging the agony of not being able to go to the pub, restaurant, work place, playing football with your friends or playing any sport with your friends. Why the contribution is important This idea is important because it’s the simplest and most effective way to beat this situation. Common sense should prevail and rushing back would in the long run just extend this period instead of beating this period and returning to a normal life. If we didn’t do this it would be like getting a prescription for antibiotics from your doctor and only taking half the course prescribed instead of the full course. The chance that you’ll be back at the doctors for another course of antibiotics would be inevitable. Just think about it!!!
  • Posted by EmmaHart May 06, 2020 at 11:57

    As the parent of a P7 and and S2, it is clear to me that the P7 needs to return to school more than the S2, who is able to manage fine with online work. My P7 is struggling with home learning and also with the idea of no proper high school transition. The P7 would love to return to school before the holidays, even if it is on a part time basis for a few weeks. I think every effort should be made to get critical year groups back as soon as possible. Schools also need to return before parents can return to work effectively as well. I also feel that the government has got the balance wrong when it comes to reassuring the population and scaremongering about the virus. The fact is, the vast majority of people who die are over 70 and/or have underlying health conditions. It also seems as if most infections in Scotland are happening in care homes and in hospitals, among patients and frontline workers. So, if measures are put in place to keep at-risk people away from schools, and to maintain best possible hygiene and social distancing in schools themselves, then I can see no reason why schools can't return in a phased way at the start of June. Of course, no one who feels they do not want their kids to go back should be put under pressure - return should not be mandatory. Also, I think wearing face masks should be required. I am very surprised to see how few people are wearing them in the supermarket even after the FM warmly recommended it.
  • Posted by Ballater24 May 06, 2020 at 12:02

    Whatever happens there needs to be some consistency. If schools reopen, little point in keeping those kids apart at other times. Why limit movement in general if its fine for kids to be shuttled around the place by parents and public transport ? All the chat around children not being at risk and controversy about transmission risk fails to realise these children will certainly be able to transmit surface to surface viral particles and their teachers are not immune. Either we want convenience (in which case lockdown has to stop) or we value caution (in which case reopening schools is madness). We cant have it both ways.
  • Posted by KimmieC May 06, 2020 at 12:07

    Fully support a phased return to school, when it is safe to do so, giving priority to vulnerable pupils and those transitioning into a new academic phase. However, all schools are different and cognisance needs to be given to the challenges of this approach to small rural schools. My P7 daughter is the only child in her year group. Returning only P7s would be near pointless, and quite traumatic for her as she would be the only one there. Transition to secondary school can be very challenging for rural kids who are often moving to a large school which also draws pupils from bigger town primaries who all know each other already. In normal circumstances schools are very good at managing transition for rural primary kids by getting them together in the final P7 term with other kids from other small primaries in the catchment area. In any phased return for P7s in such a situation, it may be worth considering pooling all P7s from similar small primaries in the catchment together. It would be nice for kids to have some time to say goodbye to their old school before moving up to secondary, but not if they are the only one there!
  • Posted by jsbg May 06, 2020 at 12:07

    I think all children should return to school even if this was on a restricted basis. Home working is not working as they are not getting enough work to do, my grandson takes a maximum of 2 hours a day to complete the tasks set for him. We are also experiencing problems with the Glow/Teams platforms as work seems to disappear. I wonder if the experts have worked out what would be the estimated change to the R number if children resumed some form of schooling in a restricted manner.
  • Posted by Catrionamurdoch May 06, 2020 at 12:08

    I believe schools should go back in June if at all possible, even if only for a couple of weeks before the summer holidays. If they don’t, there will be no chance of any summer holiday childcare happening (clubs, nursery’s etc) and people will not be able to get back to work until August. What will be different in August? We have flattened the curve, the NHS is coping and the damage to the economy will be even greater if this continues indefinitely. If families are shielding or parents don’t want to place their kids in school then that should obviously also be fully supported. People should be trusted to make the decisions that are right for themselves and their own circumstances.
  • Posted by KHD2005 May 06, 2020 at 12:20

    Children should only go back when it is safe to do so. Parents should also be asked to take more responsibility for their childs education and work in partnership with the school. School holidays also need to be reviewed - parents working from home are struggling to keep routine for children and work during holidays. Perhaps schools could post packs for parents who are trying to juggle childcare, home school, work, buisnesses etc. Front line key workers children should be given priority access to teachers online to help with learning. When schools do return priority should be given to key workers children (as they have sacrificed lots already), children with additional needs whose parents often spend a whole term preparing their child for holidays & change, and vulnerable children. Then parents who do not have option to work from home. Lastly children who have parents that can work from home. PPE should be given to everyone and extra handwashing stations with HOT water should be set up. Schools should be properly deep cleaned EVERY day after school is finished!
  • Posted by seamus May 06, 2020 at 12:20

    The schools should stay shut until social distancing can be fully lifted. Even if that is at the end of the year.
  • Posted by GHeg May 06, 2020 at 12:31

    Schools need to be re-opened in some form as soon as possible, our kids are missing out on their education and it may hold them back for years and years! Leaving schools shut until August solves nothing, what will change between now and the... nothing! All we will have done is delay the kids education. Anxiety is on the rise with kids and they need some degree of routine and normality returned, why should their mental health be less important than others health! Get the schools open!
  • Posted by TheScottishWomble May 06, 2020 at 12:31

    Reduce the number of pupils in school by setting up an online sixth form college for senior pupils. (Older pupils are allowed to stay at home unsupervised by parents over the age of 14?) Online lessons centrally produced by experienced teachers so that we don't have everyone reinventing the wheel.
  • Posted by barbarai70 May 06, 2020 at 12:36

    Those children with Additional Support Needs (ASN) eg Autism, ADHD etc need sound guidance on returning back to school, Increased PSA support etc due to the many challenges they face on a daily basis anyways and this has all been turned upside down by COVID. Much support is going to be needed both to pupils and staff in ASN to acclimatise back into an educational setting eg due to busy areas, noise, changes etc as they have been at home. Also guidance, PSA support, more training etc on any distressing behaviour that will undoubtably increase due to having to adjust back into education settings, trauma of the current situation etc Those children who are transitioning and this also applies to those children with ASN who would have had enhanced transition phases on going forward in their learning. More support staff is paramount to both support pupils and ALL staff themselves. Environment, sensory issues etc all need to be take into account other wise you are going to set those children who have ASN upto fail from the start and then sound transitional measures so it can be a smooth a change as can be achieved. Those who would be having to be study for exams next year would also be paramount.
  • Posted by davidh747 May 06, 2020 at 12:49

    The policy appears to await certainty on the control of the virus. As commented above, in the interests of our children schools must return within the next three weeks, and with that it is inevitable that a significant easing of lockdown must occur. While everyone wishes to save lives, that cannot be the only consideration: a generation is being critically endangered here both in education and employment prospects. It is time for a major change of policy and some courage from decision makers.
  • Posted by BenjaminGriffSPT May 06, 2020 at 13:48

    I don't think pupils should return to school before the summer as any chance, could risk in another wave of infections, making the situation worse
  • Posted by Haggis May 06, 2020 at 13:49

    Childminders over home care with small ratios, makes sense to open them first, help with the parents returning to work as many are starting to be asked to return to work. ELC have from 40 kids a day + Childminders have from 6/8. With a max of 3 under 5. Open lower ratio childcare first. Door step policy, stager drop off pick up times. Easier to put infection control procedures in place. Give them a choice to open or close. Keep schools closed till August, open childminders from summer for their existing families
  • Posted by Edin1234 May 06, 2020 at 13:56

    Children returning to school should be prioritised. Yes, there will be risks and those should be managed as well as possible so that staff, parents and children are reassured. Having said that, not everyone will be happy - but keeping children at home is not an acceptable medium/long term plan as it carries major risks for our children's future health and wellbeing. We cannot wait until the risk is tiny before children return to school.
  • Posted by fmcgov May 06, 2020 at 13:58

    If it is clear that all children cannot return to school by August this entire academic year should be repeated (aside from those in S6 who are able to leave school). This would allow a phased return to pupils or the ability for them to return when school life may be able to be more 'normal' should a vaccine be available soon. The concern is P7 transition is not going to occur in a meaningful way, this is already an anxious transition for lots of children which is heightened by the current pandemic. They need to go back and mix with friends and teachers before going to secondary school to protect their mental wellbeing.
  • Posted by marmo27 May 06, 2020 at 14:01

    Before schools go back many things need to be considered. Firstly school transport. How can you keep children apart on a school bus? Pupils who share taxis to get to school? Classes of 30 would have to be halved at the very least to allow some distancing in classrooms but even this would be hard to do in practical classes where pupils are required to move about the room to use certain tools in eg technical subjects. PE changing rooms would be another issue. Interval and lunchtimes would have to be staggered to allow distancing. Schools would have to be properly cleaned at the end of the school day and this includes computer keyboards etc. In saying all of this I think the longer pupils are away from school the more difficult it is going to be to get them settled back into school. The only way I think it would work is by part-time in school and part-time at home to begin with and gradually increase the time in school over a number of weeks once we know if the infection rate is stable.
  • Posted by kmack May 06, 2020 at 14:04

    There have been comments about children being less vulnerable to Covid-19. I feel that this is no justification for opening schools any time in the near future, considering the risk of children spreading the virus. Returning pupils to school prematurely will risk the lives of their adult relatives and school staff, as well as vulnerable children, and have a huge knock-on effect on the wider community. When schools do begin to reopen to more pupils, considerations must be given to increased/improved school cleaning, PPE for school staff, handwashing facilities in all classrooms, arrangements for vulnerable staff and pupils, and adapting spaces and routines to ensure social distancing in all areas of the school. It will clearly be difficult to implement social distancing in primary schools, as others have stated, but there will undoubtedly also be challenges in ensuring all secondary school pupils adhere to social distancing rules. There must be clear procedures in place for safely dealing with situations where pupils do not adhere to distancing.
  • Posted by Kate May 06, 2020 at 14:14

    I post as a parent of S3 and S4 children who live with and elderly, vulnerable grandparent. I think, given the timing, that schools should stay closed until after the summer break allowing for safe working to be established. It appears that working parents and difficulties with home schooling and childcare are the drivers for the call to return schools as quickly as possible. However, if we are not absolutely certain that this will not drive an increase in the R number then it would be a counter-productive move and could lead to further outbreaks and another sudden lock down, undermining the progress made to date. If childcare is a problem it is unlikely to be solved by part-time school attendance with different year groups attending at different times. There would still be a requirement on parents to be at home with children. Would it be possible to create childcare 'bubbles'? Where groups of 2 or 3 families are permitted to share childcare allowing children from each family to be looked after in another household thus allowing the other parents to go to work. This would also provide a degree of social interaction for the children. We are in an unprecedented situation and I don't believe that we have to remain tied to the restrictions of 'normal'. The P7s and future P1s could transition later in the year, perhaps, in October allowing some time for these transitions to be managed. This would also serve to reduce numbers in the larger secondary schools for a short period. The SQA exams could be tailored for this specific period to cater for a slightly reduced curriculum to reduce stress on teaching staff and pupils to cover the whole course. I think this might reduce the concerns of some parents greatly. Alternatively, next years exams could commence later in the year to allow for the teaching to be completed. My children attend a large school with approximately 1200 pupils. Social distancing will be very difficult and should there be any illness it would have the potential to spread widely. In the secondary setting the pupils change classes every 50 minutes and have different pupils in each subject. This will be extremely difficult to manage considering that if teachers are teaching reduced numbers they will also be required to set online work for the rest of the students. I think that the senior schools will also have to consider teaching in 'bubbles'. This would mean that the pupils remain in a constant group of children throughout the day. With this in mind, the schools could potentially expand to make use of other community facilities eg. hotels and places of worship that are currently not in use. Additionally, even if social distancing is established within schools, there are risks associated with pupils travelling to and from them either in large groups or on school transport. Boys will be boys and all that goes with that.
  • Posted by SteveDruitt May 06, 2020 at 14:27

    Primary schools on small islands deserve special consideration. There is no reason to close a primary school with just 14 pupils drawn from isolated homes spread over 25 miles on an island with a fragile economy, isolated from the mainland, where nobody is exhibiting apparent Covid-19 symptoms. Subject to parental and staff approval, such schools should be opened with immediate effect. A "one-rule-should-fit-all" covid dictat makes sense in many spheres, but Scotland is exceptionally diverse, and in general the education system recognises this. I believe there is no case for keeping schools closed under the real circumstances identified above.
  • Posted by MrsLogan23 May 06, 2020 at 14:33

    The school environment - both primary and secondary - is simply not one where social distancing is possible. A return in June (with phased/rotation options) does not leave enough time for any real depth of learning. A maximum of four weeks is left in the term and with pupils only attending for half (or less) of that time, the educational benefit would be low. Despite popular opinion, schools are not childcare facilities. In addition, it is essential not to forget school staff in this scenario. In a secondary school, class sizes are at roughly 32 pupils. If there are seven periods in one day, a teacher has interacted with 224 children. Not to mention interactions outside the classroom and with other staff members. It will be essential that things do not return on a 'normal' basis. A phased/ rotation type of return focusing on specific groups seems to be a good idea on the surface. The details of such a step would determine its validity. Finally, a return for staff before pupils is something I believe would help. Staff will need additional time to plan and prepare for a new way of working no matter which changes are made.
  • Posted by KathMcManus May 06, 2020 at 14:35

    As a secondary school teacher, I am desperate to return to work. Young vulnerable people are best protected within a school setting. Loss of real teaching & learning is a big worry and despite our best efforts to adopt a new way of teaching online, much of the necessary practical work is not possible. In spite of my desire to get back to school as soon as possible, appropriate preparations are vital to protect staff with underlying health conditions. Will PPE be provided where necessary? Will sufficient hand sanitizer be supplied? In a large school where many staff share the one classroom throughout the day, will classroom surfaces, computer keyboards etc require cleaning between periods? A thorough and strategic plan must be put in place before contemplating the phased opening of schools.
  • Posted by PeachesHumph May 06, 2020 at 14:40

    School work can be caught up on, you cannot bring people back from the dead. For all those people saying kids don’t get / transmit the virus, they do. Schools are not free childcare, teachers / staff and their families should be protected, social distancing is just not sustainable in a school environment. Schools should not re-open until it is safe to do so and those that wish to keep their kids at home should be fully supported / encouraged
  • Posted by libbydale May 06, 2020 at 14:41

    Accepting that we can only change so much at anyone time then re-opening schools should, in my opinion, be a priority. There are too many vulnerable children, children with additonal support needs, children with additional support needs waiting for CAMHS assessment who are finding the covid situation very distressing. This is impacts negatively on the rest of the family who don't have the usual support structures or even the opportunity for their own space. This includes siblings of those with additional support needs who are witnessing severe meltdowns and are sometimes the victims of outburts. These siblings are often forgotten victims with very little support. Nor do i believe it is practicle to start opening up business and the economy unless our children are taken care of first.
  • Posted by dougchristie May 06, 2020 at 14:42

    As a parent of children in private schools, I would be delighted if the children in state run education remain at home and unable to go to school. It will enable my children to gain an even bigger advantage, not just through further education but as well as into their future careers, which has been demonstrated time and again by academic studies. The Scottish Government knows what the impact will be on reducing the chances of these children in future lives, through lost and impaired education. It also has plenty of ways to reduce the risk of spreading the virus to those more susceptible. It also reduces the chances of their parents getting quickly back on their feet economically, if they continue to force them to have to stay at home to look after children, with schools shut. Open the schools as an immediate priority.
  • Posted by Gustavlinder May 06, 2020 at 16:07

    There is a great opportunity to allow children back to school for one month from the beginning of June or even earlier. There is evidence that children are in general unaffected by Covid. As an example one should look at the school-situation in Sweden. Sweden has allowed all primary schools and secondary schools for children up to the age of 15-16 to remain open, operating WITHOUT distancing rules. Focus lies instead on making sure pupils stay at home if they have any symptoms, good cough hygiene and hand-hygiene and no unnecessary contacts for pupils with elderly and risk-group individuals. The above approach has so far yielded 0 (zero) deaths in Sweden in the age-groups 0-19years old (government official data: Folhalsomyndigheten https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/09f821667ce64bf7be6f9f87457ed9aa ). To imply that schools being closed is the safest alternative to children at the moment is not true for many reasons, mental health and wellbeing being among them. Allowing children back to school before summer would give authorities and the public much needed confidence and also allow for a near normal school-situation after summer break. The R-number could also be monitored upon reopening schools prior to summer break with a natural closure after just one month that would provide another measuring point to elucidate the effect (if any) on the transmission rate. We may have to accept that the more strict rules on social distancing that apply to adults and the elderly do not apply to children and we should be thankful for that. Teachers should maintain social distancing between themselves and parents. The government could also change rhetorics as soon as possible to infuse confidence in the community so parents and children feel it is both safe and necessary to return to school.
  • Posted by S_arah May 06, 2020 at 16:44

    I think that the kids should stay off school until it is safe to return. My husband and I are both working from home and do some home learning. My kids are both in a classes of over 30 at a school at maximum capacity. So there is no way that they could social distance and would any child all the time. This would be a worry to me. Could other public buildings nearby been used as classrooms as well such as town halls etc going forward. As a parent could we look at a reduced curriculum? So we are focusing on fewer subject areas until the schools fully open. I note both my children are at primary level. What about training time for teachers etc in a new way of working? This will be difficult especially if the pupils are there in shifts etc and online. Could other local authority resources be used to provide technology support to parents and pupils. Each school has a dedicated tech specialist. I also think a national pupil project would be an idea. This could be loaded on the government website and at some point made into reality. Such as rainbow tiles used in a public building.
  • Posted by VFranks May 06, 2020 at 17:35

    Ideas for primary age children. I think there needs to be a split between childcare and school. Families will have to find childcare for work with other families and friends in a bubble where possible, and perhaps in additional out of school clubs. Children then go to school for a morning or afternoon and get focused teaching in groups of 5. (Remember that some primary schools have 700 children. 3 stream of 33 pupils and will be working with 1/2 number of staff due to shielding.) Employ significantly more cleaners in schools. All children in Scotland who do not have a laptop should be given one through the school, or offered one at a very reduced price, and the government should provide extra funding for this. Schools should insist that children bring their own basic supplies, like pencils, so they don't share, or more funding to schools for resources so children don't have to share. Simplification of the CfE. Government produced high quality online learning resources in a portal for home learning, for all stages. Teachers to focus on teaching the children they come face to face with. (You CANNOT give teachers the impossible task of home-schooling their own kids, managing an online classroom and teaching face to face each day.) Teachers and schools should have a say in who gets additional time in school to close the attainment gap. PPE for teachers AND pupils must be provided. Children cannot be expected to effectively social distance from each other.
  • Posted by GeoC May 06, 2020 at 17:40

    I am concerned that in many families as in ours after school care and care of siblings is provided by grandparents some in vulnerable groups. I hope that precautions can be taken of sheilding us can be put in place to reduce our risk to acceptable levels or sufficient alternative care arrangementc can be made. This child care is important (financially) to parents but allows to the mental wellbeing of the grandparents in participating in care of the family. I would alos support opening schools early after the holiday if safe and possible to allow some catch up
  • Posted by AlJones May 06, 2020 at 18:03

    For remote locations, specifically the Isle of Coll, where there have been no (reasonably) suspected or confirmed cases, it would be beneficial to the community for the school of 8 pupils to return as soon as possible. As we appear to not yet be on the Covid-19 curve, it is possible that we could be asked to go in to isolation at a later date when most others have returned to school. Our children would therefore be disadvantaged by missing even more school than others. With CalMac restricting travel, and social distancing being very easy to achieve, the current risk here of COVID-19 appears to be negligible.
  • Posted by Wittleeeyore May 06, 2020 at 18:03

    Im concerned about sending my children back to school for the simple fact i know of children who are in classes/nursery with my children who have not followed lockdown and have been socialising with family from other households every day. I dont think my children should be put at risk because of selfish people. Its also not fair to put teachers and other school or nursery staff at risk because some people are selfish. Get the lockdown continued and wait till after the summer holidays to send our kids back. Have a day or 2 where children going to p1 or s1 to have a look round classrooms and meet teachers at a safe distance so all these kids aint getting chucked into a room with strangers
  • Posted by ElaineRietveld May 06, 2020 at 18:09

    My daughter moved up to 2nd year this week. She can cope with the work on Teams although she would rather be in school. She is missing her friends very much though and as she is an only child this concerns me. Could there be a less formal class get together before the holidays? A class meet in the playing fields or on the beach, local park?
  • Posted by Rachyg May 06, 2020 at 18:10

    The schools and nursery need to open to allow the next phase of people return g to work. Supply the staff with PPE, hand sanitiser and hand washing as before. All those shielding or in families shielding continue with online learning. For some of the most vulnerable groups of children they need the face to face contact to make sure they are not at risk. Maybe a hub of shielding staff providing online resources. Also keeping primary school children in their current classes and keeping them with current teachers for their next year would help children settle in to the new school routine
  • Posted by Slr75 May 06, 2020 at 18:45

    I actually don't think the kids should go back for what will probably be 4weeks until the summer holidays. Why risk a second peak for the sake of 4 weeks an idea might be to reduce the summer holidays so they go back July instead of August
  • Posted by alisond May 06, 2020 at 18:51

    Agree with those who say school should open as fully as possible as quickly as possible. Given the overwhelming evidence that children are at low personal risk from Covid-19 and given that it’s usually universally accepted that the best interests of children should be of central importance, I really think we are getting the balance wrong at the moment and that the absolute priority in easing restrictions should be their interests. It’s heartbreaking to consider that only 1% of vulnerable children are taking up the school places available to them. I don’t see how children can develop healthily and safely if their near/foreseeable future is to involve the miserable educational provision and lack of remotely normal social development opportunities set out in yesterday’s SG paper, especially for those most vulnerable already. I would vastly prefer to take my statistical chances of catching a virus and dying (and see other adults do likewise) than live in a society which thinks the future of our children is an admissible trade-off in pursuit of a policy of suppression involving the kind of social distancing proposed until there is a vaccine (which of course, might be a long time away if ever). The suggestion for moving forward with a blend of in-school and at home learning is going to prejudice those children who don’t have support at home to learn. Even if they’re given laptops, and free internet, this doesn’t change the fact that the most vulnerable children are least likely to have a conducive home environment, appropriate structures and routines to enable learning and the necessary adult support. And, expecting children to spend their formative years 2m away from each other is both unworkable and I fear really developmentally harmful. It’s no good to say that the government will support people by doing X,Y and Z when these things are not the sort of solutions any of us truly think are adequate for our own children (if they involve accepting that unemployment, worse educational outcomes, no social opportunities except virtual ones for the foreseeable future, and long term poverty is their lot).
  • Posted by RebLTait May 06, 2020 at 18:51

    Maybe the pupils you mentioned you were considering starting back first could start back a week or two early in August. Then maybe the P7s could use between then and October break to say their goodbyes and get their much needed transition period before moving up to Secondary school. Then the other pupils Could start after this, and the P1s could maybe be delayed a start until after Christmas break since they require so much time and concerted effort. I am a parent of a P7 and it concerns me that she has not had any transition or preparation for Secondary school. But I do not think they should go back before summer break as this will be just a few weeks of school before another 6 or 7 weeks off. Its too much change back and forth. But an early August start could work better and be a natural lead in to that transition period for them.
  • Posted by GemHam May 06, 2020 at 18:58

    Schools and nurseries returning in some way is essential. I am really struggling to work and do childcare. The economy will not survive if we cant work at our normal capacity. I can also see both my children's mental health is being impacted by the isolation but also the fact they have to learn/play around my work. The education provided by schools for remote learning is poor at best and completely inconsistent. Children will struggle to return to school of this continues
  • Posted by Alanpenman May 06, 2020 at 19:10

    Some limited attendance perhaps. Important for those transitioning from primary to secondary to have a chance to say goodbye.
  • Posted by rossb May 06, 2020 at 19:51

    Start with the P7 pupils; this is an important term for them as they transition to secondary school. Use empty classrooms and teaching staff who normally teach other classes (which are not being brought back) to allow for social distancing while learning.
  • Posted by Mk1975 May 06, 2020 at 20:11

    Shield the elderly and vulnerable as they are making up the highest level of deaths and integrate the others back into a new normal. Tobacco, alcohol and obesity cause strain on the NHS and kill thousands each year but we’ve not banned them. Allow schools to go back as studies are showing children aren’t at risk and don’t transfer the disease to adults so no danger there. This will halt the future disparity in education between those children receiving virtual lessons and those not. Also those completing theirs lessons and those not. This allows the gradual introduction of people to the workplace which will stop future generations suffering tax burdens and loss of jobs. All of the above improves mental health of nation. Also stops the prioritising of elderly and infirm over people waiting with existing illnesses such as cancer and stops the future health time bomb were creating. Basing our current plans on guesses is a hugely dangerous way to go about this. Why the contribution is important Stops creating a future health time bomb that could kills thousands and re starts economy which stops future inequality as well as social issues and will go some way to stopping a tax burden on future generations.
  • Posted by RGordon May 06, 2020 at 20:11

    I agree with all comments above which suggest formally starting the summer holidays a week or two earlier and proposing a start date of earlier in August. If this turns out to be too optimistic, I do not think anyone will have lost anything.
  • Posted by Pamela6577 May 06, 2020 at 20:24

    I agree with most comments and think that the young children who need care so parents can return to work without expecting grandparents to care for them should be considered as well as the important transitions of children into primary 1 from nursery , P7 to S1 and the young people who are expected to sit prelims.along vulnerable children, ASN and Key worker children should also still be a priority. This would allow partial reopening of schools and allow some of the practical side to be worked through prior to August. A “recovery curriculum” should be a focus and reestablishing relationships are vital for any children returning to care or education .
  • Posted by Mitsimand May 06, 2020 at 20:26

    I think a phased return is a very good idea especially for transitioning students. I don't think that should happen before the summer break as i believe it is still too soon. Not enough people have been adhereing to the lockdown rules to really fight against this virus. I for one will not be happy sending my children back to school too soon with potentially people who have been flouting the lockdown rules. I would rather we waited until we knew for certain that the virus was under control before putting our children at risk. If it would be possible for childminders to be given first choice priority to look after those children whos parents are going back to work so that we are not opening the schools back up too soon as these would be breeding grounds for the virus.
  • Posted by NewYorkChrysler May 06, 2020 at 20:32

    1 - How are teachers protected in school? Respirators or face visor/surgical mask 2- Hand sanitiser in each classroom and building entry 3 - Distance pupils as much as possible in classrooms 4 - have cleaners on site all day rather than after class only so that common areas are cleaned frequently 5 - Restart school in June and continue through to the end of July. Homeschooling will not have been achieving as much as in class and so this will provide a catch up and transition P7 to S1. School term year then starts in September similar to England and Wales typical term start.
  • Posted by Itsjustmehere May 06, 2020 at 20:52

    Absolutely not. The safety of teachers and support staff has not even been considered here. children may not die from COVID 19, but their teachers and education staff can. Teachers didn’t go into education to provide babysitting or to out their lives on the line. They became teachers to teach. NHS staff know there is that risk,.,,,,,,it should not be the case for teachers who are generally very very scared. Please don’t allow the unnecessary deaths of front line NHS staff to be extended to teaching staff. There’s not enough science available to let us know if children can spread the virus to each other and adults. It’s just a guess at the moment. Schools should remain closed until the virus is properly under control. Yes, it’s sad that kids miss school. It’s hard for them. It’s hard for my son.......But the alternative is more death. More illness. I would rather continue as we are for now than see any more people die from this awful disease. Please don’t force teachers back to work when it’s just not safe for them.
  • Posted by Bugladycv19 May 06, 2020 at 21:05

    In order to be back at work parents need reliable childcare. We cannot keep doing half assed jobs unless you want every parent to lose their job. You also can’t expect young children to socially distance and I worry the long term effect of even trying to get them to. Kids don’t tend to get ill as they don’t seem to have the same Ags in their cells for the virus to get in and replicate. By this logic, they are bad vectors for transmission of the virus. Let the older kids who will have exams go in to s4/5/6 go back in June Let the private nurseries open the beginning of July with reduced social distancing and instead focus on PPE and testing for staff. Much more focus on temp checks and hand washing as 2year olds will NEVER BE ABLE TO SOCIALLY DISTANCE!!!! Let primaries go back in August but not start next classes until after September weekend... Spend August to help p7- s1
  • Posted by shazzaem May 06, 2020 at 21:10

    Personally I didn’t feel schools should have shut as there was no science showing a great risk of transmission in schools. There still is no science so I’d happily open up all schools immediately. The children do not need to socially distance. Vulnerable teachers should be protected by schools and any teacher should be allowed to wear PPE if it makes them happier and more confident in their return to work.
  • Posted by SJC May 06, 2020 at 21:28

    In any consideration of pupils returning to school Head Teachers and teachers must be fully consulted as they will be the people managing this situation. Very well to say to re-open schools but this puts all the staff and pupils in the building at risk and although pupils less likely to get Covid, staff can still get it. The idea of staff teaching on a rota and also being expected to provide remote learning is not feasible unless they work all day and all night - and most already work over 12 hrs a day with no breaks or lunch breaks. Teachers will need PPE and reassurance that they are safe too. It is very different living with your own children and teaching a class of even 10 when social distancing is, and will be, an issue. What about break/lunches/ corridor movement? What about those needing to use toilets? If behaviour was perfect in all schools this may work but for many schools, where pupil behaviour is increasingly an issue, managing this is going to be extremely difficult and can be very trying for teachers never mind adding this in to the equation. This needs to be thought through. Whilst appreciating parents are desperate for children to return, it has to be safe not only for children but staff too and all other children attending.
  • Posted by MDG May 06, 2020 at 21:34

    Just heard John Swinney on BBC confirm that only 1% of children are accessing the childcare hubs. Alongside the planning for the sensible return of priority pupils including vulnerable children, there does need to be an examination of exactly what long term benefits will come from continuing with the hubs as opposed to schools returning with a specific focus on certain groups. The Hubs are for childcare and not education, but at 1% what impact is that provision actually having on key working? Of course some key workers will have benefitted but the staffing of the hubs is extensive and is drawing on huge numbers of teaching and other local authority staff, sometimes for only a small number of children given that many vulnerable children have not been engaged. When does that 1% become sustainable against the such a high staffing ratio for such a small number of children, staff that could be back in their normal roles and dealing with the wider community impact that has been caused by the lockdown. Its also time for private providers to be re-engaged and provide the wider support, again for priority pupils. The hubs have been a credit to those who have run them and some great lessons have been learned from the hubs which can and should be used to assist schools in returning. Butt the hubs need to be scaled back and allow schools to start working with their own priority pupils, and that may include key workers, and re-start the education process slowly, that won't happen if the policy of childcare hubs continues. If more than 1% had been attending then it would be a different argument but clearly a lot of key workers have made alternative arrangements or found flexibility that may continue post COVID. Many local authority staff are now working in different front line roles that they didn't choose, such as care homes, so the argument about teaching staff safety not being considered is invalid, all staff who are deployed are done so as safely as is possible and any school setting would be just the same. Teachers aren't and wont be made to work in care homes where the need is, so they will not be at the high risk end where the R number is highest unlike other local authority staff and the full time care sector staff or NHS staff. They have shown ability and patience creating online teaching and will be utilised to teach, but that has to start soon in a safe, logical and controlled manner to allow a gradual return to normal school settings at some point in 2021. Its the people breaching the lockdown that are risking the R number rising in the community, socialising when they shouldn't, driving for a coffee when they shouldn't, driving about multiple times a day because they are bored inside their homes, sunbathing in a park like in Glasgow today and having friends round as normal. Its those people that are affecting the ability to get children back into school just as they are affecting the ability to get people back to work. Its a different thread but its also time, up to 28th May for Police Scotland to start fully enforcing the legislation, time for warnings is past and people know the rules and the consequences.
  • Posted by CK May 06, 2020 at 21:34

    It would be best to start back in August and an early decision on this would help parents plan. Not worth the risk of the R value increasing again for the last few weeks of school. Hopefully by August the infection levels will be much lower and the school environment safer.
  • Posted by MrsT85 May 06, 2020 at 21:44

    I think the R number needs reassessed in 2 weeks. If it is between 0.5-0.7 (or lower) then schools should be allowed to reopen at the beginning of June. First priority should be given to p7 pupils to allow some transitioning as well as S4-S6. Then possibly look at p1-p3 as this age group need most structure/routine. Pre-schoolers should also be allowed back to nursery to help them prepare to the transition to primary. After summer all pupils must go back, otherwise we risk damaging children’s mental health and developing social skills. If the R number is below 0.5 then I don’t think there is a huge need for social distancing, if above then some form of social distancing should be in place where practical. Either way a decision needs to be taken about when schools go back (ie before summer holidays or after) in the next 2 weeks so teachers and parents can prepare for whatever the decision is. If schools don’t go back until August then there must be some transition arrangements put in place for p7 and preschoolers who will be going through a daunting step in normal times never mind with so much uncertainty around.
  • Posted by Lori May 06, 2020 at 21:45

    We have not tested nearly enough people to know where things truly lie , 2nd wave is still a potential. Leave well alone kids stay off till after summer holidays very little will be achieved, hubs are established, employers could negotiate temporary changes in contractual hours to support their businesses and the parents to enable them to return to work whilst kids remain off
  • Posted by JVL May 06, 2020 at 21:46

    An ongoing “blend” of online (presumably home based) learning and class attendance greatly worries me. Many families are struggling to provide the support students need whilst also trying to earn a living. We are battling through hoping this will be a short term problem. The thought of this for the foreseeable is distressing.
  • Posted by IdaM May 06, 2020 at 22:05

    An appropriately phased reopening of schools should be a priority in any plan for easing. Ongoing closure is having a detrimental effect on children's mental health and education, as well as the ScotGovt ambition to close the attainment gap - kids from the most disadvantaged backgrounds will be left behind struggling the longer this continues. In the many, many homes where single parents, or both parents, are working from home, juggling ongoing childcare and distance learning with working is simply not sustainable over a longer period of time. Suggest one way to phase reopening is to gradually widen the groups eligible for current 'hub' provision to include those from poorer families, single parent families and homes where both parents work (irrespective of whether they are key workers). As others have remarked, the gradual return of various business sectors is simply not feasible without some childcare provision for a larger group of the population. I also believe that there is no need to stick to previous term dates - to allow a phased reopeing of schools and a transition back for children, the summer holidays should be cut short. No-one's going anywhere anyway! Most parents and children would prefer an opportunity transition back to school rather than having to face another 6 weeks of holidays dragging on. And finally, how about giving parents the option to opt out if they're not comfortable with a return to school yet.
  • Posted by SCW May 06, 2020 at 22:27

    Very concerned about bringing pupils back into schools before summer break and the implications that this could have on both pupil and staff wellbeing. I appreciate that many young people will not be coping without the structure and more often, sadly, the safety of school. I know many teacher truly cannot wait to work with young people in a classroom again; however, I simply cannot see how a school of over 1500 pupils can socially distance. I appreciate that many will say that only certain year groups could be brought in; however, in a school of such size, a new S1 cohort alone could be around 400 pupils. To facilitate social distancing, fixed furniture practical classrooms would mean that less than 10 pupils could be taught in the one room. Timetabling could also pose issues combined with the need for staff to have staggered breaks. Many schools have one central staffroom. If 100+ staff go for lunch at the same time, there simply isn't the scope to social distance and clean equipment (microwaves etc) unless the breaks and lunch hours for staff are staggered. How that is then fused well with half size classes and part time pupil timetables is beyond thought.
  • Posted by Lynnem41 May 06, 2020 at 22:32

    Open schools back up at beginning of August with well thought out social distancing measures. Give staff and teachers time to get organised. Do not rush it.
  • Posted by Dannit May 06, 2020 at 22:42

    I wouldn’t be happy sending my children back to school before summer. My youngest of 3 is transitioning from P7 to S1 and I’m happy for that to be done after the summer. Children are more resilient than we give them credit and for most they will transition with ease however it’s implemented. Most of the anxiety surrounding transitions comes from the parents! Please do not open schools for all or even for children transitioning unless they are vulnerable and it’s deemed more of a risk being at home than catching the virus.
  • Posted by Brownb May 06, 2020 at 22:45

    I understand that children under 10 are at very low risk of transmitting the virus so unclear why younger children cannot return to school. Whilst home schooling can keep education going it cannot help with socialising which is a key skill younger children need to develop. If the science is correct about children not transmitting it then no reason they cannot return. Also feel there is no need to wait until after summer break - schools have been closed for length of summer break already so why not cancel the summer holidays and open schools early July. Teachers can have holidays now and start back in July.
  • Posted by Salr May 06, 2020 at 22:56

    As many people here have pointed out if businesses are going to be allowed to re-open, schools need to start to reopen to allow the parents to either return to the workplace or work effectively at home without having to juggle home schooling as well. Coronavirus has probably swept through many of the schools already. My children's school has a week off in February and many kids went off on skiing holidays etc. I know there were cases of Coronavirus at my children's school after that - that's when the coronavirus really hit Scotland. I'm pretty sure we have all had it - before the Government was even asking people to self isolate etc. Also the majority of children are not badly affected by coronavirus. So if the teachers are given proper PPE why not get the children back to school by the start of June. Start with particular groups if you want, but the priority must be to get children back to school. The young and their future certainly seem to be well down in the list of prorities at the moment and its starting to feel a little unbalanced.
  • Posted by EMcKay May 06, 2020 at 23:14

    Staff need PPE, the promise that there will be adequate cleaning materials provided for classrooms, testing in place and social distancing to happen. What about staff who are shielding, high risk, absent etc? How will this be managed? Schools are often understaffed as it is/short on supply teachers/being able to afford to pay supply teachers which puts added stress on the staff that are there. All school staff shouldn't feel forced to return to work when it isn't safe to do so.
  • Posted by TStrachan May 07, 2020 at 01:08

    Perhaps bring the summer break forward and then afterwards use a phased return with agreed priority groups.
  • Posted by Missy May 07, 2020 at 04:55

    Please provide a distance learning option for children who have underlying health conditions or who live with someone who does. It is not safe for them to return to school until this virus has been eradicated.
  • Posted by Jen_m_wallace May 07, 2020 at 06:07

    I have a 6yr old who wasn’t yet diagnosed with Dyspraxia so who doesn’t fall into the vulnerable group and a 3yr old. And a husband who is a nurse. It’s been tough... 6yr old can’t do online learning the way older kids do ... My suggestion is to open schools up to kids who have one key worker parent first (not 2) - which would help get more of us back and reduce the worst pressure. I don’t think this means changing the legislation, just the guidance ...
  • Posted by Abdnshiremum May 07, 2020 at 07:31

    Please educate parents about how school is a safe place for our kids to be and get them back as soon as possible. Parents are confusing the risks to the wider community with the risks to our kids (negligible). My kids (P7 and S2) are doing 5 hours of school work every day, that’s a long time sat in front of a laptop and we’re in the lucky position of having two spare laptops (my husband and I both work from home) and a kitchen table they can work from. Other families do not have this space or equipment and the longer this goes on, the wider and more stark the inequalities will be. How many kids have not logged in and done any homeschooling at all? I also worry about kids fitness levels. We’re trying our best but even with family bike rides and garden exercises there’s no way my kids are getting the same level of exercise they did before and that’s really concerning when you extrapolate it to the health of all Scottish children. We need to keep our young people healthy and they need organised PhysEd etc.
  • Posted by beckyduncan May 07, 2020 at 07:31

    If my children are to return to school in August, on a part time basis, and as parents my partner and I are to homeschool part time..that is ok. But we can not afford to live on part time wages.We will need financial assistance to do this role. A universal basic income would solve this. Please start UBI payments in line with schools opening. Thankyou.
  • Posted by LynneConnell May 07, 2020 at 09:00

    I am a key worker. My partner is self employed (not working from home). I have 2 primary school children, one who is due to transition to secondary education. Currently my children are attending schooling for key workers, allowing myself and my partner to continue working. If schools return, I’m guessing the hub that my children attend will be closed. If schools return in a phased way, potentially this might mean that my kids are at school at different times. I will not have childcare for the times they are not there, which will pose me a massive problem with being able to continue to work. Will key workers children be able to attend school full time, to allow key workers to continue to work?
  • Posted by Spud May 07, 2020 at 09:17

    I fail to see how parents can return to work unless the primary school day goes back to what it was before eg 9am-3pm. Rather than half days, which just won’t work for most working parents, why not start off by offering families the option of attending school or continuing home learning? Those who desperately need to work will send their kids back, those who don’t want to send them back because they’re worried, or because they have a parent at home anyway, or don’t need to work, can continue home schooling. This will naturally lead to a reduced number of pupils attending school, making social distancing easier. Part time schooling will only lead to desperate families using grandparents as childcare, which is presumably not what you want to happen?
  • Posted by Jerryedwards May 07, 2020 at 09:19

    In Secondary settings. Schools could move to a four day, 32 period week. This would give an eight period day whi h could be split to morning and afternoon sessions. School roll could be split to allow four half days of teaching for children. School transport would also therefore be split. At the change over time transport can take morning children home then bring afternoon children to school. Teachers conditions of service would not require amendment.
  • Posted by Julief May 07, 2020 at 09:24

    I would support a phased return for all children. It is not risk free keeping schools closed. Waiting until it is 100% safe from covid 19 isn’t feasible. We need to get creative with how and where learning happens which could be a great opportunity to modernise teaching. But we need to start now on the logistics, how this could interact with potential bubbles, how we help protect vulnerable teachers, and teachers with children or vulnerable relatives. Change their roles so they can contribute but minimise the risk. From what I have experienced, we’re not harnessing technology enough. Many children have had zero contact from their school. This has to change now. I think we underestimate how capable children will be of social distancing. I know for some it will be impossible but there will be many who can adapt to it. Given that social distancing is going to be here for a long time, we need to figure out how we accommodate children who would find it challenging. To keep them locked up until a vaccination or treatment is available or they have reached a level of maturity to be able to maintain distance isn’t a solution, it’s creating a huge problem further down the road. I agree with those who say give parents the option. They know their children best. They know if there are family members that need to be protected. Is there a way to gather numbers on those that would be willing to return to school, then we could plan how to accommodate that and run some trials? I’m not sure having a plan to phase return without an idea of numbers will work.
  • Posted by suzierazz May 07, 2020 at 09:28

    When children return to school it should be as normal as possible and allowing children to be children and school as normal (with attention to hand washing as before) we dont want to create a generation of children who are scared to go near each other and who are faced with mask wearing adults - it is not practical to sterilise every pen, play item etc that they have contact with during a school day. Teachers have enough to manage in their work without having to chastise children for being close to one another or for forgetting to wipe down something with a disinfectant spray. My daughter misses seeing her friends, hugging them, playing Tig in the playground, climbing on the climbing frame etc - a return to school where the climbing frame has to be sterilised after every child uses it or where it is out of bounds because teachers cant clean it is impractical and leads to a culture of fear in the children.
  • Posted by Outdoorfamily May 07, 2020 at 10:11

    We are a high risk home due to asthma. There are 5 of us here. My youngest child starts nat 5 this year. If she goes to school and comes home with covid, all of us, including the high risk household members are at risk and would totally undermine our efforts to stay safe and shield. Can I suggest that where possible and suitable (and I agree it wouldn't be suitable for all school kids of same age) that those who have adapted and are doing well with the new virtual learning approach, that these families can elect to continue learning from home? This would help keep vulnerable families safe and reduce crowding in classrooms and allow for more social distancing at schools to protect other kids and teachers alike? Some teens have adapted amazingly well to the new normal of virtual learning. Not all are struggling. These teens can then have social bubbles, much like is being proposed for wider society, where they have a small group of pals that they interact with socially and for home study so that they are not isolated, but this would drastically reduce risk of infection and also help contain any outbreaks as and when they might occur. These home students could still interact with their class via zoom etc in the classroom for discussions etc too.
  • Posted by AA1234 May 07, 2020 at 10:25

    Need schools to reopen not only for the education of the children but economy cannot return to normal if people need to stay at home for childcare. (Also need to allow family to look after younger children if that is normal arrangement) If businesses reopen before schools then additional pressures are put on people who don’t have children who have to go to work whilst others are prevented from doing so because they need to stay T home to look after children.
  • Posted by debbiec139 May 07, 2020 at 10:51

    I am a teacher and regnise the importanxe of restarting schools for pupil wellbeing and the economy. I am however worried that not all parents will sent pupils back before the summer. This will result in even bigger gaps in education received and many teachers will be left teaching all day in school and then spending all night still providing online lessons and support for others. Most are already at breaking point just managing the later in addition to their own families and concerns.
  • Posted by WilfredLawrieNicholasJohnson May 07, 2020 at 11:04

    Reopening schools in a phased approach for older pupils would make some sense. Older pupils, are more likely to understand and appreciate the importance and requirement for social distancing. Certainly wouldn't entertain the idea for primary school children.
  • Posted by NKTC May 07, 2020 at 11:10

    Schools need to reopen to allow parents and those with child care responsibilities to return to work, but schools can only reopen when the risk of infection is low enough. Children might be less susceptible to the virus, but they touch things either directly with their hands or indirectly with their clothing, books, tablets, etc, which increases the risk of transmission outwith schools. If schools open part time or phased, this needs to be respected by employers whose staff will be unable to go back to working their full normal hours due to having to undertake childcare. Has any thought been given to binning the summer holidays and using part of that to make up for the shortfall in teaching time since March (if safe to do so)?
  • Posted by monkey3margaret May 07, 2020 at 11:28

    Careful consideration will have to be made regarding peripatetic teachers of refugees.
  • Posted by monkey3margaret May 07, 2020 at 12:25

    Consider delaying transition of P7 pupils until after October break which would allow pupils to integrate back into system. Delay new P1 starts until October break which allows for opportunity to observe social distancing amongst younger pupils and opportunities to improve where needed. Consideration and collaboration required for Teacher workload ie. teaching in schools all day and then preparing lessons for home working pupils. PPE an absolute must for visiting specialist staff. Hygiene in public areas - ancillary staff required throughout school day. Younger classroom assistants (no offence) to integrate during break times as they are less susceptible to virus? TTI system would allow some teachers to continue with outreach education. Learn from local Hub numbers/data - did social distancing work? Schools need time to design classroom layout - eg. protective screen installation; removal of desks/equipment; use of gym halls for P7 and S5/6 pupils for larger class sizes; deep cleaning on daily basis; PPE equipment for staff and pupils; timely consistent hygiene breaks through the day. With all of the aforementioned issues needing more consideration schools should not reopen before August.
  • Posted by WGnich May 07, 2020 at 12:36

    I would much prefer schools to remain closed until after the summer. I have a high risk 1 year old at home and wouldnt be happy for her sister to attend school until we are further down the other side of the curve. It would be really detrimental to my older daughter's psychological wellbeing for her classmates to return to school and her not to be able to as she is sheilding her sister and the risk is still relatively high. Caution please.
  • Posted by Anella May 07, 2020 at 12:42

    Children must most defy be able to return to school before summer ! They can’t be without schoolfor 20+ weeks! It’s not good for their mental health or wellbeing! If they can’t return for summer term , please shorten summer holidays! 🙏🏼Thanks
  • Posted by Together May 07, 2020 at 13:07

    I don’t have any school age children now, looking through the comments makes me aware of the complexities of everyone’s individual circumstances. I honest don’t know the right or wrong way to go about this. Strikes me that just now regarding school one main issue for parents is childcare. Lots of parents furloughed just now in in possible catch 22 regards returning to work v childcare and UK gov already talking of reducing furlough pay. Read some previous ideas and do think some form of staggered return would be good, for example 1 school with 7 different years, nominated days for each year or 2 of the years to attend school, with other years on line at home on those days, zoom looks good for that ? Where the nominated year is on site in class, those classes can make use of unused class rooms to enable better social distancing practices. Reduced school hours and incorporating time for on site pupils to wash hands etc throughout the day, provision of ppe for everyone where required and testing. Perhaps instead of simply reducing or removing furlough pay, a compromise or combination could be used to compensate in some way, any parents who, if able to safely return to work, can only work reduced hours due to childcare issues. I think def if some way of initially staggering the amount of children travelling to and from school during peak times, slight change to start/finish times ? would definitely be best but providing some form of financial support for parents who may have to temporarily reduce working hours around this. Also if that support was an option and employers were encouraged to give full support, this might initially lessen any rush hour travel congestion on roads and public transport. I completely understand this would not work for everyone but with flexibility and some form of continued financial support it could be a way forward when the time is right. Apologies to all parents if my suggestions would not work or are completely rubbish but can I just say that even tho my kids are grown up now, I take my hat off to each and every one of you during these times. You are absolute stars ⭐️
  • Posted by smcintosh27 May 07, 2020 at 13:13

    The health of our teachers and school staff is of the upmost importance. The risk of them returning soon will be of concern to so many parents. School work can be caught up on or dealt with in a different way. I would hope that a return in August will be considered the most sensible way forward with a different way of dealing with the exam years S4,5 and 6 being looked at for 2021 given these young people will have missed 4 months of curriculum time by then. The health of our society remains the most important issue. I would like you to consider this: a catch up proposal from July 2020 to Dec 2020 to catch up the 52 days of lock down missed or a proportion of that teaching time.... If schools had a shorter summer holiday and returned on for example 20th July for the exam years and worked a longer school day for S4,5 and S6 till eg 5.10pm and Friday afternoons between July 20th and Dec 20th it could be possible to catch up on the 52 days or 364 hours of teaching time missed on average. Home schooling in the exam years is no replacement for eye to eye contact with the experts in the classroom and we should not try to replicate that at home.
  • Posted by JohnA May 07, 2020 at 13:32

    I think reopening schools should not be considered as an entire chunk. The key thing is to keep R (the transmission rate) comfortably below 1. It is suggested that R is currently around 0.7. Opening schools might add 0.2 to that, to make 0.9. But, what would be the effect of only opening primary classes, for example? 0.05? 0.1? Why not gradually open up from the youngest age group first - year-by-year. This way you could slowly observe changes in R and also have time to get procedures in place before schools have to take on too many pupils at once. I suggest starting with the youngest for a few reasons: - They are the least susceptible themselves to the virus and some (Switzerland) suspect they may not even carry it in most cases. - They are the most time consuming to care for at home meaning the productivity of work from home parents suffer as well as the general workload of all parents. - They are the least able to be schooled from home as at young ages learning is more about interaction and feedback and less about self-study. - Their learning is the most valuable at a young age. Early education levels have huge effects on further educational attainment and life outcomes. It is harder to recover from lost education at a younger age than for older children. The lockdown is effecting them more. - They are the least able to interact with their peers outside of school during the lockdown as they are less familiar with social networks. I think by gradually opening schools from the youngest age group upwards you will be able to get the most benefit (improvements in wellbeing and education) for the least cost (increase in the transmission rate).
  • Posted by pdm May 07, 2020 at 13:50

    Return to school needs to take into account risks to pupils, to school staff and to adults accompanying pupils. Risks to pupils needs to balance the educational and mental health benefits of school against the possibility of transmission of Covid-19. Data appears to suggest that children are a low risk group in terms of the physical impact of the disease. It may be less clear how miuch they are liable to pass on the infection and depending on that it may be more or less possible for them to be subject to less rigorous social distantance restrictions. Staggered start/end times according to age may be a possibility, but it gets more complex where an adult might be bringing different aged children to school. Teaching often requires closer proximity to a pupil than 2m. Consideration needs to be given to different approaches/PPE. All staff need to be confident that risks to health are minimised, through full consultation with appropriate union reps. Regular cleaning of surfaces/equipment will be important. Movement of pupils within schools, especially in the secondary context, will require management. We need to learn from other countries experiences, to find out what to avoid what works and what impact return to school has on health of pupils and staff.
  • Posted by EllieMc May 07, 2020 at 14:00

    Opening schools as normal (as they were previously) is not an option. I think a balance of some face-to-face teaching and e-learning would be possible. I think the point that has been missed in many of these comments is that while children's health is not as adversely affected by COVID-19, the viral load they carry when infected is still very high. In this case, the virus would likely spread again if we were to bring 20+ children per class back into schools, as practising social distancing would be almost impossible in most schools. There simply isn't the space. You can't have 20+ children in a classroom, but you could probably manage a system whereby children come into school on a rota system. I would advocate for outdoor learning opportunities to be explored, as children need to stay active, and have fun learning. I would therefore suggest that some serious consideration be given to how to facilitate lessons in an outdoor learning environment, with proper consideration given to the risks involved. If the virus does not spread as readily outdoors, it would be a good way for children to socialise and would help combat the feelings of loneliness and isolation that they must surely be experiencing.
  • Posted by Vamboroolok1 May 07, 2020 at 14:05

    I cannot see any way in which schools can safely re-open in August, far less than before the summer break. I'm concerned that so little attention is being paid to how teachers are going to be able to work safely. We're told, correctly in my view, that we have to get used to a new normal. Schools re-opening in August can't be a part of that new normal. There isn't enough time to make the practical arrangements, all other considerations aside. My wife is a retired teacher who worked in a large Department of Additional Support in a large secondary school. She worked as a class teacher, assistant principal & then as principal. The Department had pupils with profound needs, with complex needs & some with both As a lay person I said to my wife that I could see no way in which such pupils could be expected to follow social distancing. She agreed. The logistical difficulties of even getting these pupils to the Department - most were transported in shared mini-buses or in taxis - was only the starting point. My daughter is a primary school teacher. She can see no way of her pupils, even in a reduced number class, observing social distancing. One of our grand daughters is due to begin school in August. She has missed out on the managed transition from nursery to school. Assuming school begins in August/September she is not properly prepared to start school. I 'm sure that other families have similar personal worries to mine.
  • Posted by eve3981 May 07, 2020 at 14:20

    I feel that the majority of pupils should not return to school in August. Transitioning P7 pupils should be enabled to do so by by delaying the transition to the first weeks of the Autumn term. P1's could be deferred to starting school until after the P7 classes have moved up to S1. Meantime children who are in the vulnerable group or whose parents are returning to work should be allowed to return to school should those parents wish it. I feel strongly that parents should be allowed to choose whether or not their child returns to school before the start of the Autumn term. Many parents may have concerns that returning too early may 'put their children at risk' . There should be no penalty for any parent making the choice to keep child at home. Perhaps they could join in some classes via video link. Another concern would be that children who contact Covid.19 may not themselves be at risk but may bring the virus into their home or after school club risking shedding the virus to elderly or vulnerable family members.
  • Posted by Kimmi May 07, 2020 at 14:27

    Too early to even be thinking about this. How would social distancing work? Classrooms are not big enough Many kids are also on the highly vulnerable list as well (or have family members who are) Unless you're looking to make school part time (even that's going to be difficult) there is still huge risks involved
  • Posted by PCL70 May 07, 2020 at 14:44

    As an early yrs practitioner I am desperate to get back to work, and have obvious concerns over the long period of lockdown for the children at the centre and the associated school pupils, but the logistics of explaining and expecting children from the age of 2-5yrs that they need to social distance is not practical in an early yrs centre. Id like some clarity on how this may be rolled out. Some people are saying that young children are at minimal risk to covid 19, but they can still be a carrier, bringing into the EYC and back home and then to their wider family community and the cycle of infection carries on and becomes unmanageable again. I have an older daughter who is nurse and still lives at home and could, despite all the Regimes we have in place to try and deal with infection control, could Still be a carrier and pass it on. I agree with some comments that a long transition once schools reopen after aug for P1/P7 children until jan 2021. I would expect that appropriate PPE would be distributed throughout all schools.
  • Posted by NewYorkChrysler May 07, 2020 at 14:49

    Government should find out how much attendance at school is needed. For example there will be a number of kids who have a parent or guardian at home typically and so do not need to return and can join their class using Zoom or Teams. Not sure what primaries are doing. There will also be some who are working from home more days per week and their kid may need to attend school from 1 day a week to perhaps 5 days every 2 weeks. The school numbers might be reduced significantly so reduce the risk of transmission because of improved social distancing and hygiene.
  • Posted by gwm111 May 07, 2020 at 16:32

    1. Scottish Gov needs to very carefully consider how social distancing will work with school-aged children and teenagers. I really can't see resuming a normal 8:30/9:00-15:00 day with a ~30:1 ratio being a safe option. And I'm not only concerned about children being asymptomatic virus carriers: plenty of children and teenagers (including some Scottish children!) have contracted this horrible virus and been hospitalized with complications. There is a serious risk to their health too, not just to the health of the adults. If a typical newbuild primary school houses ~400 pupils, and each room is designed to seat those pupils closely together at tables clustered within a ~12x15ft space, plus some open shared space between classrooms, then social distancing will be impossible to manage with the resumption of the school day as we know it. 2. I think if you want to resume schooling in the autumn, you'll need to seriously think about doubling your recruitment of teaching and support staff (or at least offer a very significant increase in salary and hazard pay as an incentive for the current staff's overtime), and then split the school day into shifts (e.g., an early morning pupil and teaching cohort, an afternoon cohort, and a late afternoon/early evening cohort). How else are you going to come close to offering a consistent education? 3. Parents will not be able to return to work full time and be fully engaged with their employers if their children are put onto an in-class/online rota, where they are only in school for a few days per week. I also can't see that scenario being ideal for pupil support. 4. My 14-year-old in S3/S4 would not do well with two days per week in the classroom and 3 days per week online. She is struggling with online-only learning as it is, and not every subject she takes is taught five days a week, so some of her classes would offer inferior support to her under that scenario, and a learning opportunity will be lost. If she is expected to sit exams in S4 under this kind of scenario, she will do poorly, and through no fault of her own. My 6-year-old in P2 could possibly manage better in an in/out scenario, but only because she is young enough that we are still teaching and reinforcing the basics, and only because we are confident enough to do some of this at home. As for my 3-year-old, I'm clueless as to how we could safely start a socially-distanced ante-preschool year in August. 5. If schooling entirely online is the only feasible option for the foreseeable future, then there needs to be a consistent set of distance-learning standards drawn up NOW for all Scottish schools, and training teaching and support staff needs to take priority TODAY. At the moment, I see individual schools working their socks off to put learning together, and a monumental effort to get that set up with less than a week's notice. But, it is inconsistent across schools, and that needs to be addressed if this situation carries on after the summer holidays. Some schools are using Microsoft Teams. Some are using Google Classroom. Some are doing video conferencing with Zoom or Google Meets. Some are leaving pupils almost entirely to themselves, with very little interaction or feedback beyond posting assignments and responding with a comment or score. There will need to be consistent standards with what technology teachers use, how often they video chat with students, how new material is introduced, what the new standards/rubric for coursework are, and how often parents are communicated with.
  • Posted by jamiestewart1980 May 07, 2020 at 16:35

    Before considering reopening schools (or relaxing any aspects of lockdown) there needs to be strong scientific evidence to back the decision. There is, as far as I can see, no conclusive evidence about the safety of returning children to school. Although we know most children are not badly affected by the virus, some are and some have died. We need to know what is behind that. We still do not know whether children are effective carriers of the virus. One Swiss study recently suggested they do not carry the virus which would be reassuring were it not for the fact that a separate study came out the following day to say that children are effective carriers of the virus and, because they do not follow social distancing rules as well as adults, could be a major source of disease spread. We also need to spare a thought for parents - many of whom may be vulnerable to the disease's complications. I would be quite uncomfortable sending my kids back to school as I have asthma and high blood pressure. My wife also has asthma. There will be many other parents and carers who are shielded with much more serious health vulnerabilities. We cannot expose them to any more risk than currently under lock-down. Finally, if we were to consider easing restrictions before a vaccine/treatment is found, an analysis of the key points of risk in the school day should be done and schooling should be strictly controlled to reduce risk. From a common sense perspective the key risks are crowded classrooms and socialising in the playground. So perhaps staggering school time to a few 2-hour afternoon or morning sessions per week for each child would reduce class sizes to safer levels and would omit the need for play-time/lunchtime socialisation. Although I am sure there are other risk points I am not thinking about.
  • Posted by allanview May 07, 2020 at 18:12

    A phased return seems best but whatever path is chosen I hope that the government is bold enough to take this opportunity to be radical. The current school year structure is very bad for disadvantaged children and now seems to be a good chance to change to something more family friendly. I agree with the suggestion that the new P1 intake should be delayed to October or even January. As a parent of teenagers, it will be increasingly more difficult to keep them inside. In fact they have already met with friends - and subsequently been grounded.Kids are already meeting up in groups and indulging in anti-social behavior (drinking, smoking weed, etc). If the schools don’t open up until August then the schools should increase the amount of work they’re expected to do. And yes, we need to think about health and well-being but poor employment prospects, unemployment, trying to deal with anti- social behavior and bored, uncooperative teens are much more stressful than expecting someone to read something or complete an extra assignment.
  • Posted by SMc May 07, 2020 at 18:14

    It's true that children are suffering due to social isolation - they need to see their friends. The answer to that isn't to put them all into school; it's to ensure that allowing children to meet friends in open spaces is a high priority when we come to easing social distancing rules. Perhaps extending this to include some sort of PE lessons or forest schooling in open spaces or the normal school playgrounds when it is safe enough to do so. It's true that families are struggling due to lack of childcare. Mine is, too. It's massively inconvenient. The answer to that isn't to send all the children back to school as soon as possible. It may be to increase how many children can be given spaces within schools, using the current system. It may be allowing two or three households to interact, so relatives or friends can provide childcare. It may be insisting that employers offer family friends shifts and home working policies whenever this is possible. My daughter is due to start P1 after the summer. She's really excited about it. But I won't be sending her to school until I know she can hug her friends. It's a huge transition and I want it to be a positive one. I don't believe that's possible when she can't see her teacher's face, approach her teacher for close contact help or play with the other kids in a relaxed manner. Her friends' parents are all saying the same - if social distancing is still in place in August, a lot of kids won't be starting school at the scheduled time. I would support having the school year change - it doesn't have to run August-June; it could be moved. I would support having the starting age change to six, as in so many other countries, and having all kids who are currently at school repeat the year (as much as the teenagers might hate that). I would support the extra capacity nurseries are currently creating for three year olds being used to keep five year olds there instead. The only option I don't support is rushing schools back before it's physically and emotionally safe for children and teachers to be there.
  • Posted by Kirsti May 07, 2020 at 18:52

    As a teacher, I fully support waiting until it is safe for children to return to school. I appreciate that vulnerable groups and pupils needing transition should be a priority when schools reopen, but this will cause staffing issues for schools as not all teaching and support staff will be able to return to work due to health issues or if their own children are not in school. Also, social distancing will mean that children attend for blocks/days, then provision must be made for teaching the remainder of the class who are learning remotely for some blocks/days.
  • Posted by alstroemeria May 07, 2020 at 19:07

    As a specialist infant teacher, I am greatly concerned about returning to school and would support a delayed start to Primary 1 for the upcoming cohort. Our children need to play; to play, they need to be in small, close groups. I do not know what the answer to this is, but I feel we *need* government guidelines and there must be consistency across Scotland. I am also hugely concerned about supporting vulnerable children and children with ASN in the mainstream environment. We have several children who chew on objects, who dribble, who cannot understand covering their nose and mouth when they sneeze. These children could not tolerate mask wearing. They often seek comfort in hugs. We also have children who will deliberately cough and spit. This type of behaviour cannot be condoned. Finally, as a single teacher with no dependents, I feel obliged to volunteer. This is taking its toll on my mental health. As a workforce, we all need clear support from our government.
  • Posted by Broughty_man May 07, 2020 at 19:17

    children's education is vital for the future prosperity of our nation. You are destroying the future for this generation - they can never recover this lost time. This isolation is instilling a fear of social interaction which will be permanent. Children are a LOW risk group -they do not need shielding. GET THE SCHOOLS OPEN NOW!!! Parents can decide whether to home school - not your decision. Focus your actions and resources on the vulnerable and high risk groups. Start a phased return ASAP and continue the school term through the Summer to catch up. This generation will be socially inadequate, stupid and unemployable - This is a vision for YOUR future Scotland.
  • Posted by Marie83 May 07, 2020 at 19:18

    This should be high up in the agenda.. if they open up workplaces and not schools I personally and I’m sure I’m not the only one who would be unable to go back to work due to childcare.... But I also appreciate and understand that teachers life’s shouldnt be put at risk..
  • Posted by NH May 07, 2020 at 19:38

    You would need rules about parents congregating at start and end of day. Would help to stagger the start and end times for different classes as also helps with the bottleneck of all kids going in/out doors at same time.
  • Posted by mrbsmith May 07, 2020 at 19:52

    Schools are not a childcare service. I cannot stress this enough. This will become evident upon the inevitable phased return. Regarding phased return, what will happen regarding children of key workers currently in school full time? Will they remain in full time while others are part time? This would create a two tier system unless other childcare provision for key workers is set up. Will PPE be provided? Regarding NIF data and attainment - will expectations be changed and guidance provided on this, taking into account the massive trauma and disruption to learning caused by isolation and this pandemic? Children in the early years will be unable to socially distance. Learning at all stages no longer takes place with children sat Victorian-style in desks where they are immobile all day. All scientific evidence shows that children do not learn effectively and indeed cannot in this way. Children are used to working collaboratively, with concrete resources, with play essential in the early stages. How will this be resolved? Attainment and mental health will dip even further if students are mandated to sit still at distanced desks all day with no interaction.
  • Posted by Chiara May 07, 2020 at 19:57

    I’m not comfortable with schools re-opening until we have some certainty around virus numbers continuing to decrease, and other social distancing restrictions are being lifted. Children can’t be expected to know how to stay away from others - particularly their friends who may be in the same classroom. What practical processes can and will be put in place to ensure the safety of the children and the teachers and other school staff?
  • Posted by JennyBee May 07, 2020 at 20:57

    I transport children with additional support needs into school in a taxi, and I'm really at a loss to see how we can do this safely. Firstly, the taxi driver also picks up passengers during the day- on a normal day this could increase exposure to possible infection from perhaps twenty passengers. The taxi is too small to fit any perspex shield and still fit the children( one is in a wheelchair,) into the space, and one child already sits next to the driver. Even with PPE I simply don't see how we could transport vulnerable children, already with serious health problems , into school. I'm desperate to get back to work, as my contract is only a temporary one, meaning it expires ,and us normally renewed, every June, but I don't want to put myself, the children, or the wider community at risk.
  • Posted by IndyScot1000 May 07, 2020 at 21:51

    we have to protect staff kids can’t benefit if school opens before sept, say and staff are still at risk. even if they go back, educational hours could be staggered, mornings only for one age group, pm for another, but if the herd immunity idea doesn’t work there’s no point asking any adult with health issues to return, it could be mass hospitalisation, this virus/es attacks all organs of the body, it could reduce staff numbers through them being off with multiple illnesses. I know of some staff who were ill with chest infections last year, yet got into trouble by their LA for being absent when very ill, all that’s got to stop, surely? especially when we see ukgovt probably knew covid19 was already in the whole country.
  • Posted by SH114 May 07, 2020 at 22:51

    I would love to see a sensible, phased approach which would acknowledge that children have missed schooling and transitions - they should start back where they left off until the October week to allow for not just transitions into a new year group but to get used to being in a school environment again - it will not be easy to readjust. Hold back the 3 year olds who were due to start nursery in August and the P7s due to start S1 and so on. Even the S6s could have a sending off for a few weeks before uni starts if they wanted!
  • Posted by TSmart May 08, 2020 at 00:38

    Would it be possible for children to return to their existing year group (in some format) in August or when the virus is under control? P1 intake could be delayed until transition visits have been made. All children then have the opportunity to participate in these important endings and have a sense of closure with their current teachers/nursery staff and peers before moving on. The new academic year could begin once the children have had a couple of weeks to return to the 'new normal' without experiencing the additional stresses of more immediate change in teachers and peers. Current teachers will know their children and how best to support them at this uncertain time. Could uniform rules be relaxed to ensure all children have a full set of clean clothing for each day of school? This is particularly relevant for secondary pupils where blazers are mandatory. It is not possible to wash these every night.
  • Posted by AgnesCB May 08, 2020 at 06:56

    Priority should be given to children who are due to sit their National 5 or Higher as the impact to their future is the greatest. All other groups have time to catch up. School holidays should be reduced for the remainder of this year and into 2021 to enable all pupils to catch up and pick up their learning from where they left off.
  • Posted by Noblec May 08, 2020 at 07:01

    Essential to avoid deprivation increasing and poor children falling further behind lockdown in unsafe environments
  • Posted by laumon May 08, 2020 at 07:27

    I am all for this option ! But ..... Test first ,to ensure all returning pupils are free of the viruz to begin with! Then : 1.Give priority to some age groups to return. 2. Shorter days to get as much done In thouse days, and then do work at home. 3.Provide MORE support for the age groups that are not initially prioritiz;.Zoom group classes and one in one would be helpful for the ones still at home. And the government would have to intervine to ask co operation from employers to be flexible and assist parents implementing this new system
  • Posted by owenc00 May 08, 2020 at 07:44

    There is loads of capacity in schools, in terms of staffing. There are also plenty of building near many schools which could accomodate teaching in the short term. We could easily send pupils in S4,5, and 6 back to school right now if we really wanted to. Seniors pupils can be trusted to observe distances, wash hands, wear PPE (if required). Sooner or later we are going to have to face this step - let's just get on it with it right now.
  • Posted by AnvilApril May 08, 2020 at 07:45

    I think most children should be allowed to return to school. Primary 1 could possibly be delayed given they would be more difficult to enforce any sort of social distancing on. For any families who have a high risk child or the parent themselves are should be allowed to remain at home with online school work still being provided. Checks could be put in place to ensure that a person is high risk and the child is completing the course work.
  • Posted by Drewsloan May 08, 2020 at 08:03

    I would recommend getting pupils who missed out on sitting exams this year into school from 1 June for at least 1-2 days per week each to ensure they do not suffer at exams again next year. Others at school have more chance of catch up over the course of several years and if required August will still work for those pupils.
  • Posted by shoreselkie May 08, 2020 at 08:24

    Everyone’s health and wellbeing (staff and children) needs to be the priority here.
  • Posted by LaineyMac May 08, 2020 at 09:20

    It was expected that it was unlikely that children would not be going back to school till August. However, I do believe that P7's be given the priority here for their transition to high school. The younger children are missing the routine and the interaction so this allows us to be more creative with their return, whether this be forest school, half the class in the morning, half in afternoon or alternate days. Safety is paramount for all children and school staff but I do not see the younger primary children being able to socially distance in class or playground. It is play and interaction that is highly important for their well-being at this time. This may be a big task but could testing all children be of benefit before sending them back to school, as well as all staff? Everyone needs to be safe before effective teaching can take place. I believe the priority for nursery and P1-3/4 should be interaction with peers, whether this is at school or outwith.
  • Posted by Fredbearwizard May 08, 2020 at 10:11

    My child WILL NOT be returning to school until way after summer and that is only if the virus is under control i will not risk my childs life when everyone in this nation can help teach their child either with online help or work sent home via teachers they do not need to be in school with the exception to p7 transition and s7 the less children in school the better as for workers then it should be as it is now those children can attend as long as its safe to do so our children are our future protect them
  • Posted by Isikaya May 08, 2020 at 10:37

    Nurseries and childminders should reopen as soon as possible. Research conducted in Switzerland has showed that under 4s do not pass the virus on. Additionally it id the youngest children who make the most demands on their parents in terms of childcare with non-existant support from nurseries. I work at home with my husband, we are both doing full time jobs whilst at the same time looking after a 2 year old and a 1 year old. The date of August may be applicable to schools re-starting but nurseries and childminders should absolutely be considered separately as they tend to be open over the summer anyway. It is completely unrealistic to expect people to keep working whilst looking after children that age for a duration of more than 5 months. In families where one or both parents are soon going to be expected to return to work physically it will be impossible if no appropriate childcare is in place. The Scottish Government talks so much about the importance of early years for the development of children and yet we have had no contact from anyone regarding this and those children are just completely forgotten about.
  • Posted by ProudTeuchter May 08, 2020 at 11:01

    No. This then becomes a hub for the spread of the virus. It's like requesting a second peak.
  • Posted by GrannyMargaret May 08, 2020 at 11:19

    Schools should reopen as soon as possible as August is too long for children to go without proper education and social interaction with their own age groups. The longer this goes on the more difficult it will be to get children to adjust back to school life and the routine it provides, especially for teenagers who can find it particularly isolating.
  • Posted by ChrisK May 08, 2020 at 11:35

    The children who should first be returning to school are those for whom the break in routine is literally the most devastating thing in their life ie severely autistic children and other pupils with major special needs. Do not forget these kids and their families who rarely have a voice.
  • Posted by crouisk May 08, 2020 at 13:54

    Re-opening schools for all children is going to be nearly impossible. Children will not heed social distancing guidance. How do you police toilet visits, moving through narrow corridors, cloakroom spaces, lunch queues? Classrooms are not big enough to accommodate more than 8-10 pupils at once. How can 33 pupils be accommodated by 1 teacher in this way? The fact that children don’t seem to succumb to the virus is immaterial. There are adults working in schools and at the school gates and children will pass the virus on eg through the handling of resources and personal materials. Are children going to then potentially take the virus home to family members. So much of teaching and learning is collaborative. Most people haven’t seen how schools operate since they were pupils themselves and are in an uninformed place to comment. Asking for schools to work through summer would mean no break for teachers either. This is a contractual requirement. Limiting numbers of pupils to return to each class while supporting home-schooling is also an impossible task. As a teacher of 32 years experience, I cannot see how I will be able to do that and meet the needs of all 28 children in my care. Reducing the curriculum to Maths, Literacy and Health and well-being could be considered, as could extending the school day or week. However there aren’t enough teachers to cover this and planning for separate groups for both classroom experiences and also for distance learning has massive implications for teacher workload. Teachers’ mental health would suffer because of having the stress of teaching and keeping children socially distanced while in school, and having insufficient training in the use of online tools and resources to support home-schooling over and above this. ASN pupils and pupils due to sit Nat 4/5 or Higher exams should be first to return. Vulnerable children should be further supported at home through social services.
  • Posted by alileslie May 08, 2020 at 14:03

    I’m really concerned by the number of people who believe enforcing social distancing with young children is practical or appropriate. Currently I’m still working with up to 20 children per day (key workers children only) and it is neither appropriate or sensible to expect these young children to police their interactions. Children need to play, to interact, to be shown affection and supported. Early years staff are incredibly proactive with handwashing and sterilising of equipment. Furthermore, with growing evidence to suggest children’s limited role in the spread of the virus, enforced social distancing with our youngest groups has the potential to cause social and emotional harm. Hygiene policy and implementation is the way forward in such settings.
  • Posted by sarahathompson May 08, 2020 at 14:24

    Missing real school is damaging children on many levels, socially, academically, physically. Children are not the problem in covid, vulnerable adults are. Children are being punished unnecessarily. The media and government have created a hugh anxiety in some groups of parents that is simply not justified. All children not in a vulnerable group need to go back to school ASAP. 18 may preferably, taking appropriate precautions. All regions are not the same WRT covid and all schools are not the same WRT social distancing. Nuanced local solutions are required. Quickly. August is too late to return to school.
  • Posted by nbm May 08, 2020 at 16:24

    I see no point in opening up schools for such a short period. Bring school holidays forward and start term earlier. I don't see how social distancing can be adhered to. Also it's not just the kids. Teachers are people too and not excluded from catching the virus. We need to think about them too.
  • Posted by Sarahelizabeth May 08, 2020 at 16:46

    As a parent (of both a child about to begin p1 and a p7), a teacher and an SQA assessor I have multiple invested interests in this situation - I firmly believe that schools returning would need to happen prior to recommencement of other working practices. Otherwise you are disadvantaging a significant proportion of the workforce (mainly female) who will be unable to work for childcare reasons. I fully appreciate that schools are not childcare institutions however given people have adapted working lives around them this is what they also function as for many families. As a parent I worry about my children missing essential transition, as a teacher I am concerned about the vital face to face teaching that is simply impossible to try and replicate on an online platform (while adhering to union advice that means we cannot see children via video means only hear them). It is also very hard to juggle setting work, liaising with pupils etc whilst also looking after and ‘teaching’ my own children. Phased return is problematic: For workers: if I am in school teaching others who is at home with mine? For key worker children: are they remaining in school full time? Who is looking after them when teachers are back with classes? For teachers: how do we both teach those in school and set work for online learning Ideas: The suggestion to delay transition until October is good. I would add that perhaps we could also shift exams forward a month to June - we usually mark in a three week window so, with good practice we could still reasonably expect early August results. And rather than starting secondary new timetables next year in June wait until August. This way over the next two years we would gradually recoup time lost.
  • Posted by mummywebb May 08, 2020 at 18:21

    Please can we prioritise the reopening of schools even in some small measure to support not only vunerable and ASN children but those children who are making an important transition - starting or moving up to Academy. They are already losing out on so much and are not, in my mind, being supported nearly enough (I am taking about P7 to Academy specifically as that is what I have experience of) either by their Primary or Secondary school. This is having a significant impact on children's welfare, mental health, education, career and life path and a balance must be found. We cannot hide from thsi virus, it will be there in the days, weeks and months ahead, I honestly believe people are being hoodwinked with talk of a vaccine - they take months and years to develop, test, manufacture and disseminate and who, to be frank, will be willing to take a vaccine if it is developed quickly? I appreciate every life lost to this disease is a life too many but please do not destroy our children's lives and futures - online learning is terrible, blended learning will be hardly any better. Kids needs to be at school - let's not take the easy route of saying keep them closed. Lets work to get them back - look to Denmark for example where they are making it work.
  • Posted by Tara May 08, 2020 at 18:26

    Can particular attention be paid to the need for PPE in special schools, where social distancing will be very difficult to perform and where a large number of pupils may find it hard to wear a face mask
  • Posted by Norrab33 May 08, 2020 at 18:40

    I agree with primary schools opening for P7 children to allow transition work sometime in June. High School staff and primary teachers could work with the children on this. Large classes would need to be split up into smaller groups and taught in different classrooms e.g. split the class up and different groups are taught different things and the teachers rotate rather than the children. Breaks and lunches could be worked into the rota to ensure it is easier for social distancing. The teachers who are in the vulnerable/ home working group could prepare the remote learning for the children in the other classes. Transition for new P1 children should wait as in no setting that I have worked in would children be able to socially distance at the age of 4 or 5. In August if returning in groups it should be set days rather than morning/ afternoons as it cut down on cleaning in between year groups. We need to be mindful of the safety of staff in schools and provide PPE for safety. Again, teachers who are vulnerable would set remote learning for children not in school and schools must be allow flexibility for staff who are caring for their own children to fit in a mix of teaching in class when their child is in school and remote learning when they are at home.
  • Posted by Concernedparent101 May 08, 2020 at 20:28

    I feel it is vital p7 children get an opportunity to transition appropriately. I'm unsure how social distancing would ever happen in a school, children mix both in and out of school it is also not a sterile environment. Even if cleaned after each group, germs would still be present. What about ppe for staff and pupils? Would this be required? My biggest concern with recent information from teaching unions is the plan for a part time placement in school to allow for social distancing then fir children to work online also. How is this a practical solution for parents who both work full time, are key workers. This idea is not practical and will fail both our children and the economy.
  • Posted by jps21jeff May 08, 2020 at 21:30

    Getting children back into schools has to be a high priority. Home schooling is very limited at best and no replacement for a school based education. Safe principals need established and then individual schools need time to work out how they can be implemented in their setting. Compromises will no doubt be required, eg. part-time, but something is better than nothing, then complemented with additional home working.
  • Posted by BilliB May 08, 2020 at 22:23

    If schools are opened too soon or without a serious approach, the virus will spread through every single school in the country, they kids and teachers will bring home the virus, then parents will take it to their workplace etc. 2nd wave. Maybe they could use cinema screen halls for near exam kids, churches and community halls for certain age groups, school buildings for P1, P6, P7. It’s a logistical nightmare. It’s nearly impossible, But maybe if an outbreak arises in one of these places it can be contained to a degree as the whole school won’t be infected as such. It’s either that way of thinking or just shut down the country and last one to leave turn off the lights.
  • Posted by DmcW May 08, 2020 at 22:28

    All children, regardless of stage in school, are going to have the impact of months out of school following them throughout their education now. Consider a resit of the current year and actually benefit our children’s education, bolster it rather than create even more problems... resitting is better than missing education. Change the start age of school to combat this. This way you give the system possibly 6 mths to stagger return. Nobody looses out this way, and it will only benefit the future of our children rather than them feeling the effects for many years to come.
  • Posted by mnOg6512 May 09, 2020 at 02:18

    Schools must reopen as soon as possible. All staff to be tested before reopening and required by law to self isolate as soon as slightest sign of possible infection and retested before returning. Contract between parents and school that children will be taken out of school if any household members are ill and all of child’s contacts at school tested. Parents must provide basic school equipment for their child. Extreme hygiene measures put in place including extra cleaning and disinfecting during school days and children of all ages can disinfect their own work area at start and end of each day, emphasising they need to help ensure the protection of themselves and friends. Outdoor learning to reduce risk as well as using currently closed community centres and other spacious nearby buildings where available. Period before usual holidays used to revise work up to lockdown and identify those that will need additional help to get to a reasonable standard. All above measures to be done in small stages and schools required to risk assess, report and respond to any challenges before introducing further intake of pupils or increase in hours. Emphasise to children that eventually things will return to normal and provide a positive and nurturing environment. Identify children presenting signs of unusual anxiety and distancing themselves and have psychologists attached to schools. Stagger holiday periods for year groups to further enable distancing. Children have been amazing during this period and have potentially had the most to lose. They should be acknowledged and rewarded for their huge efforts in cheering people up with their rainbows and fundraising and each should be given a rainbow certificate to thank them and make them feel a bit special. It would be part of their history for rest of their lives.
  • Posted by FM79 May 09, 2020 at 09:09

    The current methods of homeschooling are for the most part inadequate and not learning, simply a tick box exercise to try to keep some sort of pretence that education is happening during lockdown. Getting children back in to a formal education setting is a priority for all ages. If they cannot go back to the classroom any time soon then a rethink needs to happen and proper distance learning that is consistent, controlled and assessed across all schools and age groups needs to be implemented as the current methods are not going to be sustainable longer term to give kids the education they need to progress through primary or secondary school and onto further education or work. The longer term impact on our childrens mental wellbeing could be catastrophic if they don't start to be properly educated again soon.
  • Posted by Frosy87 May 09, 2020 at 09:44

    Temperature checka could be done when children enter school.
  • Posted by JLMBD May 09, 2020 at 13:00

    It's about finding a balance between normalising life for children and passing on a disease that kills people. Children may rarely become seriously ill with Covid19 but they could easily carry it and pass it on, especially small children who tend to contact each other closely and touch their faces all the time. It means that every person that child comes into contact with is at risk and every family who has a child in the same school is at risk. Eventually it will get to someone who does become seriously ill. We are near enough the summer break to leave schooling till the autumn when science has a better knowledge of C19 and it's transmission, and a better idea if a vaccine is likely to become usable soon. There should however be consideration for vulnerable children and a better system in place to protect them. Support for parents who are not able to support their children adequately needs consideration. I get that mental wellbeing is important, it's vital. But is a child going to deal better with losing a family member or being cooped up at home? The education issues are the same for everyone and in the future universities and employers will have to make adjustments for people who were at school in 2020.
  • Posted by Hata May 09, 2020 at 13:17

    As a teacher I am very disheartened at the general perception of teachers. We are working our socks off both physically in hubs (with minimal PPE and social distancing) as well as doing our best to completely change our way teaching to an online method with no financial support or additional training. We would love nothing more than to be back in our classrooms with our kids but only when it is safe for them, us and their families. Firstly schools have changed so much since we were at school. Our children are not used to 6 hours of sitting at a desk without moving or playing. Research has also proven this is not effective teaching and learning. The resources are no longer there for that and behaviour would be terrible. If we can't manage social distancing in hubs with 6 well behaved kids while providing a childcare role can you imagine actually teaching a full class including a range of additional support needs? Secondly most schools are at capacity with every inch used. No way could we fit the children in with safe distancing. We have approx 90 children in each of our open plan classrooms sharing 6 toilets, resources etc. How is this going to be safe? What about outdoor playground fresh air which is necessary for mental well-being. Yes, children are not likely to show symptoms but they can still carry it to their families. To the suggestion of opening schools over the summer: there is one huge problem. The government don't actually employ any teachers during these weeks so who is going to be in the schools? Some of us choose to split our salary over 12 months to account for this but we are not contracted for the full year. I whole heartedly agree that we need to have a consistent approach to education across Scotland and we need to look at how we help support all families at this time. This is not a simple solution and schools are not an easy fix.
  • Posted by ShireDweller May 09, 2020 at 13:33

    Consulation Response Schools should reopen when it is safe and practical to do so. This will depend on a range of factors. From a safety point of view: R Number and transferability: Much is being made about the risk to children from the disease being minimal but it is generally agreed they can carry it. At least 20% of a school population are adults. Hygiene Practises: Effective cleaning of buildings and school materials and how regularly this can occur needs to be considered. The practicality of Social Distancing in schools: Entry and exits to the school building and classes. Staffing staggered break times. Classroom reorganisation to maintain social distancing. A far greater consideration is the HOW schools reopen and the issue of lost learning. Schools closed abruptly on March 20th with very little notice or preparation time given to allow staff to support children in the meantime. Children left schools in a highly emotional state. For Primary 7s this meant they left not knowing if they would return to “their” school or if their next school day would be at Secondary. Nursery pupils face similar challenges. When schools reopen it must be with a clear plan of action laid out well in advance so pupils can have an understanding of what they will be returning to. Teachers will not simply “pick up where they left off” when schools reopen. Children will need a period to be supported back into a school community which may look very different from their previous experience of school. They may be faced with peers and staff in masks which may be highly unsettling for them. They may be working with staff carrying their own anxieties about being there who have to enforce social distancing practices. Their interaction with peers will be different, hugs, hand holding, tag games etc all off the agenda. Teachers will have to support children’s transitioning into the “New Normal” and this will be prioritised above any new learning. Think Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. To ease children back in the most supportive way when they return, they should return to their current class for a period of time. This means they will come back to work with well known adults and peers until they are ready to move on with learning. This may be until October or the Christmas break. This is important at all stages, but particularly for P7s to finish off their primary time with the usual milestones and transitions. Perhaps the best way forward is to look at this as an opportunity to reset the school year. Most children are starting nursery at three and some are arriving at school at little over 4 ½. Keep the February enrolment date and start the school year in January, with children who are all almost 5 years old. Holiday periods could be restructured with a 4 week break in the summer and three weeks at Christmas and Easter. The benefit of shortening the summer break would be that the regression in learning that normally happens over the summer would be reduced. Do not rush the return to school. Although it is understandable for parents to want schools open to enable them to return to work school is much more than a childcare service. Any phased return must also be carefully considered. The proposal to split the day into morning/afternoon would benefit no-one and would raise huge issues for cleaning and hygiene. Splitting classes with a week on/week off may be more practical, however it must be considered how children not attending the school building would be catered for. It is not practical for teachers to be expected to cater for both.
  • Posted by Forreslass May 09, 2020 at 15:30

    Forget summer holidays, kids and teachers will have to catch up or the attainment gaps will be too big. Or at least reduce them from 6 weeks to 3 weeks. Must think about education being a priority, ask teaching professionals to put the kids first. Kids only getting enough work for a morning if this continues over summer there won’t be such a big catch up if we leave it to August. Or move holidays forward eg 1 June and get kids back mid July, it’s not like we can go on holiday anywhere
  • Posted by waxwing May 09, 2020 at 15:50

    Let's start in a small way by allowing S5 and S6 to return in small classes, with social distancing. This approach is already being used in school buildings for childcare hubs for key workers.
  • Posted by petermuir79 May 09, 2020 at 17:41

    Should allow all children back at the same time. But have half the class one week and the other half the next week. You are never going to have enough space to have 2m between everyone so going to have to make do with masks and hand washing.
  • Posted by nltcthgc May 09, 2020 at 20:28

    Who are you trying to protect by keeping schools closed, especially primary schools? It is certainly not the children. Scientific facts so far prove that they have more chance of dying in an accident on the way to school than of covid 19. It has also been shown that it is almost impossible for young children to pass on the virus. Look at the Swedish model for clear evidence of that. What are teachers afraid of? The chance of catching and then dying from covid 19 are almost zero. That is what the current statistics from the scientific community tell us. When do you think it will be safe? There is no guarantee of a vaccine and even if one is developed, highly unlikely to be 100% effective. Think how many thousands of people still die from the flu. The scientific experts tell us 80% of people who get the covid 19 virus show no or very mild symptoms, so you'll never know if someone has it or not. You'll also not know whether or not someone has even had the vaccine. Based on historical, scientific attempts, it is also almost certain that a cure will not be found - there is no cure for the flu which has killed millions. So, I ask again, when will you feel safe? Life is full of risks and covid 19 is just one of them. Stop being afraid, the risk of dying from covid 19 for the vast majority of people is almost zero. If we really cared about our children, we'd be getting them back to school before the end of term and teaching them in a normal way, without any social distancing between children at all. Anything less than that is not putting the best interests of our children first, which is not how a caring society should function. Stop frightening our children with exaggerated risks and let them live and enjoy their lives the way children should. This has nothing to do with the economy or protecting vulnerable people, it's about protecting our children, the most vulnerable people of all, and letting them live. If you're worried about covid 19, check the facts from reputable sources like the bbc and Scottish government and reach your own conclusions. Thanks for reading, think about it . . .
  • Posted by ThomasM May 09, 2020 at 20:34

    I think schools do need to resume as soon as safe to do so. I am concerned that the longer schools are closed, the greater fear builds up in our young people. I am also concerned about those who are not getting educational support at home. If it is not possible for schools to return fully (all year groups in a manageable way) before the summer then could the holidays start earlier (e.g. mid June) and schools return at start of August. Perhaps no transition so all pupils return in August to their 19/20 year groups for first 2 weeks to allow a proper closure of year groups. With pupils moving up to next year group and P1/S1 intake mid August as normal. Also, concerned about childcare as businesses return with social distancing. What is the greater risk: schools returning or grandparents caring for children? And, if schools are not back, how can businesses not penalise workers who can’t return but yet still ensure they have adequate staffing? I think schools returning is key to the economy restarting and that needs to happen before mid-August.
  • Posted by jmcbirnie May 09, 2020 at 20:37

    As a primary teacher and a mum, it worries me greatly about the schools going back. I’m currently on maternity leave but would keep my current P3 and current pre-schooler home if I didn’t think it was safe. Children are used to working in groups. Even a tiny reduced class would be a nightmare to teach well. They couldn’t use the computers as the germ risk would be massive. No sharing musical instruments. They’d all need their own pencils, pens, glue sticks etc which are all currently shared. “Can you open my snack please?” ...sadly not. “My zip is stuck.” We can’t help. “Can you help with my work?” *tries to see hotter from 2m away and then help? What happens when a child is sick? What happens if they need a plaster? Door handles? Chairs? Someone needs the toilet and the whole class need to rotate to let them out (whilst desks get cleaned in between?!). We can’t leave the class to check they’re washing their hands properly. Staff photocopier would need cleaned between each use. Evidence based play learning wouldn’t work- one pupil could play with the blocks until they’re deep cleaned, sand would be a germ fest, painting table with individual sets of paintbrushes... Can’t play tig, don’t share the basketball/football. How about job shares? Deep clean at different points in the week needed. What about shielding members of staff or shielding members of their family. Key workers should still have a space for their children in school. The only answer I have is to keep the current hubs until it’s completely safe. Lives are too important.
  • Posted by GrahamDane May 09, 2020 at 21:24

    There may not be many children dying as a result of this measure (think about that "not many" - it may be one of your family!) but children are good at passing diseases on to other families, and many adults, especially grandparents, will die if schools are reopened before there is regular (weekly?) testing of staff and pupils.
  • Posted by mc1978 May 09, 2020 at 21:31

    What is clear from all the comments is that many see teachers as being lazy & that it is a holiday for them. Moreover, they've had enough of having their own children safe at home with them. I have 2 children at school (P6 & S2) Both their schools have been great at providing work & their teachers communicating with them via comments on their work which then submit online. It's not ideal but so much has changed in our lives over the last 2 months. Leave schools closed until August & have a national plan in place for children & teachers to return to schools safely. I'm concerned about the children who will fail to follow the rules that come about from living with the virus. These children don't follow the regular rules already in place in schools or society. Sadly, some parents will be complaining that their children are not back at school in August on a full time basis.
  • Posted by SBremner May 09, 2020 at 23:34

    Young children cannot be safely cared for at home while their parent is working from home full-time. This is a dangerous situation. Parents that are working from home full-time cannot home school young children that are learning to read and write while they work. Schools should reopen as soon as possible with half the children in the morning and half in the afternoon. This should be optional so that parents that are not comfortable with it can cover the work at home instead. Very unsettling to children who have just started school to be away for any longer. A brief return before the summer holidays in some capacity would help re-assure pupils. Sadly parents that are unsuccessfully juggling childcare home schooling and home working will be prime targets for redundancy. Many working parents rely on nurseries and schools to allow them to work and not having these facilities open is putting working parents at a huge disadvantage at work. Not everyone has other family members to help so relaxing the rules to allow others to provide childcare does not help. A lot of children normally attend summer clubs in the school holidays for childcare. Will they be allowed to open? Not all home working is flexible hours. Not all employers care about the welfare of children while people work from home. A lot of children are doing school work on a parents phone. Secondary school pupils would also benefit from a brief period of return half at a time prior to the holidays. Parents that object should be free to withhold their children at this time.
  • Posted by GCother May 10, 2020 at 00:23

    Whilst this is a long way off - and I agree with the premise that it should be safe to return - there are a great number of considerations to make prior to making the decisions. I have been fortunate to be able to provide key worker and vulnerable childcare allowing for services and life lines to continue running. This has also allowed me to gain an insight into what a return could possibly look like. Some considerations (and there are many more) are; * As a headteacher of a medium size primary school and ELCC, social distancing is impossible on return. By nature children will come together for play and staff will look to nurture them after this experience. The very thought that they should be masked, gloved etc is counterproductive and if not - it’s unsafe. * Whilst it is unclear about the risks, there is no need to put children and their families in danger of a second outbreak (or have we already forgotten the pictures from Italy, Spain, USA, Britain). You will also be asking members of staff, who may themselves or have families members that are higher risks to work in unsafe conditions. How many deaths are worth this return? * If PPE is to be worn, do we have the secure supply, large enough to cope with the increased demand and still supply NHS/care settings. * A phased return may work but there is no capacity currently to accommodate half the children within schools and still follow safety guidance. My school would need 4 groupings to accommodate all of the children. That is less that 1 day a week (allowing for cleaning). Is it worth it? * Will there be enough staff to man the schools? There are many staff members who are also in the vulnerable group. Do we have the capacity to cope with an outbreak in every school? * Whilst TTI is an effective way of monitoring the virus, only anti-body testing is effective at ensuring greater safety of those returning to schools and work. Will this be made available to all children, staff and visitors across the whole of Scotland? Do we even have the capacity for this testing? The most important thing to consider will be the impact on the children. Whilst an extended period of home learning is far from ideal, consider what the impact will be in relaxing the current parameters to then need to go back to them if the virus escalates again. Constant changing is far more damaging to children’s progress than establishing and improving current systems for home learning that can be built upon when it is appropriate to return. Any return should be based on solid, scientific evidence not rhetoric and media articles based on limited (and in some cases propaganda) ‘surveys’ and slanted opinions.
  • Posted by Rmar May 10, 2020 at 08:08

    Social distancing will be completely impossible in schools, especially infant classes in primary schools. Other measures need to be taken to ensure children and staff are safe. Will PPE be issued for situations such as first aid? Some p1 and p2 children will require help changing and getting shoes jackets on, how will this work? Equipment will need to be cleaned constantly, will there be a budget for extra materials to allow children to have one each rather than share?
  • Posted by Dmkeith61 May 10, 2020 at 09:22

    The vast majority of schools had already introduced extensive hand washing or sanitisation using hand gels before lockdown without social distancing and this was working well. With the rate of infection amongst the under 18’s being almost non existent schools should be allowed to reopen. Teaching staff and senior management teams in schools should be trusted to monitor health of staff as schools are used to mitigating risks of all sorts to protect children and colleagues. Start with P7 transitioning into S1, S3, S4, and S5 as these are all year groups that are at vitally important stages of their schooling. This would allow schools to attempt to catch up with missed work as not all children have fully embraced home schooling.
  • Posted by asnteach May 10, 2020 at 10:33

    My local hub is already running for 12 hours a day and the children attending are really tired as their attendance has to adhere to parents' work schedules. It is providing child care and not focusing on education... and yes the children find it hard to social distance. It is run by a substantial number of adults who are on a rota, none of them have PPE. I think there should be no rush to increase numbers of children attending as already we have a cluster of children and adults who are not being daily tested - with the only condition noone has outward showing symptoms. I also think that too much emphasis is being place on children learning in a building. There is a lot of creative work going on just now from pupils and teachers. Children can also be taught responsibility by taking on household tasks and discipline from completing daily online tasks. We are lucky to have this lock down in Spring when we have been able to use the outside environment for learning tasks. I think it is too early to increase amount of pupils attending school and this should only be done when there is at least a robust track and trace system in place. I can see the reasoning behind introducing key groups in first, such as those transitioning P7 to S1 and asn pupils. However, even if it is true (and not based on much evidence so far) that children are not the main spreaders, there will still be a number of adults returning to the workplace, who will be able to spread and acquire the virus. ASN pupils, especially those with complex needs can often require intimate care as well communication support involving adults to work in close proximity to one another and the pupils. So yes, it would be good to have a detailed plan on which groups are returning first in a phased approach. But do this slowly and carefully when we are sure that the risk of infecting each other is very low, we have track and trace in place, daily tests for staff and pupils entering the building.
  • Posted by SStar May 10, 2020 at 11:05

    I am concerned about the increase of the r number if schools open. Denmark has opened schools with very small class sizes and it was stated this morning that the r number has gone from 0.6 to 0.9. Shops and other activities have still to open there. Class sizes must be much smaller to keep everyone safe. How will this work for teaching staff who have their own young children at another school? It will require flexibility as many teachers will no longer have family support to drop off and collect children. Would it be possible to offer support at schools to help staff with this? Social distancing will be extremely difficult in nursery and primary settings. I would rather schools opened gradually in the next school year.
  • Posted by PegAbdn May 10, 2020 at 12:21

    I don't envy the people that have to make this decision, but please consider everything carefully. Even when a decision is made, schools will need time to work out how they, individually, can implement it. They will need resources, they will need money and they will need very clear guidance about expectations for teaching. If a teacher is in the class teaching small groups, they cannot also prepare online lessons. Can they even use the resources they have at school if multiple children are going to touch them? If going back to school is about continuing education, what is going to be provided so that teachers can actually teach with all the new restrictions? What is going to be provided to continue online learning? Teachers can not do everything - many of them were at breaking point before this due to their workload. That has certainly not got easier in the last few weeks. From reading comments, there are some that see school as child care and believe a return to school would allow people to get back to work. Will it really help people get back to work if there is a phased return, smaller classes, and a blended school/home learning approach? There needs to be much more support for 'child care' to get people back to work than relying on schools for this. A plan for child care needs to be set up alongside the plan for children returning to school. This will need larger buildings/outdoor spaces than previously and more staff will be needed. Are plans being made for this now? It is not just children in school, nor do young children walk to school on their own. There are many adults in and around school. Many staff may also be shielding. People are saying that cats can carry the virus on their fur - surely then, children can carry virus into schools on clothes and belongings. Adults in schools will be at risk - please consider their health and safety. Schools will not be able to remain open if the staff are ill, shielding or die from the virus. Those that argue that children should be back at school because they are 'not at risk' really are not seeing 'the whole picture'. Young children (especially nursery, infants) and many with additional needs will not be able to maintain social distancing - the rules that are likely to be imposed may be as mentally distressing to these children as current lock-down restrictions, perhaps more so. If it is true that young children are unlikely to spread the virus then perhaps it is worth considering the option of the youngest children being looked after by grandparents so that parents can get back to work. This may be a lot less distressing for the children than other options. There is still so much we don't know about this virus. What will be worse in terms of potential spread? Mixing children from many different families in a large school (one family is infected = many possible cases) or keeping children in small family groups by letting grandparents help with childcare (one family is infected = few possible cases)? Track and trace will not be effective in stopping the spread through a school if it turns out children do spread the virus - the whole school would need to self-isolate - but it might be effective with small family groups. Given the high number of children and staff that were self isolating from my local school (1/3 of children, 1/4 of staff) the week before schools were closed, and knowing that most (if not all) went untested, I really cannot see how anyone knows for sure what role children play in the spread of the virus. Nothing about the current situation is easy - no plan will be perfect - we cannot expect 'to get back to normal'. Please make sure the things that steer this decision in any given direction are the right ones. We can make plans to fill gaps in education when this virus is under control, but we cannot bring people back from the dead. Nobody wants a second 'Spanish Flu'.
  • Posted by devham20 May 10, 2020 at 13:39

    There are so many considerations here and I do not think a rushed approach, getting kids back for the sake of a few weeks before the summer holidays is the answer. Robust measures for safety, hygiene and education will have to be put in place and good communication for pupils, teachers and parents before anyone can go back to the classroom. Feasibly this would take at least until mid-June by which point we are almost at the summer. Children will be able to adapt if adults around them are sensible. Schools should plan to return at the usual time in August with robust systems in place. Hopefully between now and then, with some relaxing of lockdown, children will get the opportunity to go out and mix with friends and return refreshed for a new, although different, school session. I have seen several comments about an early return but already we have a shorter summer holiday than most other countries, returning in mid-August. Let’s not put added stress on our children by making them feel they are behind and have to ‘catch up’. In August schools will have had a chance to organise the way forward.
  • Posted by Charlotta May 10, 2020 at 14:55

    Look at how the Scandinavian countries are handling this as they have been among the most successful at managing this crisis while keeping a balanced approach. The Norwegian Public Health Authority published their report on school closures last week and this confirmed that the consequences of keeping schools closed far outweigh any risk. Also consider Sweden, where primary schools, childcare and children's activities have remained open throughout. Official Swedish statistics show that ONE person between the age of 0-19 has died from Covid-19 and there are no reports of teachers becoming ill or dying. Sweden does have higher death rates than the rest of Scandinavia but that is driven by their failure to keep it out of care homes (similarly to here). Keeping children at home like this is difficult for most families but catastrophic for those living in dysfunctional homes, challenging circumstances, kids with special needs. There is no online teaching for primary schools (we get a 10 minute weekly 'assembly video' and a bunch of links to online games) so only those children with parents who have the time, resources and ability to 'teach' them are getting any education. If there are concerns about too many children being close to each other, there are lots of options like being outside more, kids going alternate days, shorter days etc. But we also need to get more information out there highlighting that children are NOT a risk group to stop parents worrying. Focus the effort of shielding vulnerable people and providing health workers with equipment.
  • Posted by Scot1983 May 10, 2020 at 15:21

    Please consider the health and safety of teachers and their families when you make the decision about when and how to open schools again. As a primary teacher, I know that however much children are reminded to use a tissue to catch sneezes and coughs and to wash hands regularly, the vast majority of them don't follow the advice. We are sneezed and coughed at on a daily basis and Covid 19 won't make any difference to that. I've taught for long enough to have experienced a couple of winters when staff numbers were hit dramatically due to seasonal flu. 'Staff were going down like flies' was a phrase often heard in school during those times. And those were 'normal', non-Covid 19 times. I am currently on a rota to look after vulnerable and key workers' children in a local school. Despite lots of measures being put in place and sounding great 'on paper', the reality is that children do not socially distance. It's all but impossible to manage social distancing in a classroom and in the playground as well. The children who need help simply can't get it unless a teacher sits beside them and works with them. As we are hitting hay fever season, we have more children sneezing constantly and, from my experience in recent weeks, they are still not regularly sneezing into a tissue and discarding it afterwards, then washing their hands. Will children be asked to wear face masks to protect their teachers? Will a teacher be expected to wear a face mask? I can't begin to imagine wearing one all day, or trying to teach when wearing one, but if that is what it will take to help children become aware of how much they cough and sneeze and it it protects everyone even a little, then I would support that move. I'm as keen as anyone to get back to a level of 'normality' and schools returning would undoubtedly aid that. However, I would also like to feel safe and as protected as I can be in my workplace. Do not forget that, not only do many teachers have children of their own to come home to, but they also have elderly and vulnerable relatives whom they will continue to have to avoid due to being in contact with so many children on a daily basis in school.
  • Posted by mina412 May 10, 2020 at 16:28

    I have tried to read some of the many and varied posts here. I write as the grandparent of a child who is at the moment attending key workers school. Before the Covid-19 crisis, myself and my husband were the only childcare for our grandchild. I am asthmatic, but not in the shielding category. My daughter and son-in-law are both key workers in the emergency services. I would like to voice the following concerns. If the schools return, do myself and my husband go back to caring for our grandchild? My daughter and son-in-law also work day and night on various shifts, also through the night. Due to the nature of their work, at times they can be held on at work and this can be for many hours. Occasionally, we had our grandchild overnight to stay as there was no alternative. Other relatives/grandparents cannot share the care as they are either working or in ill health. So my husband and I are the only childcare. When I collected my grandchild from school, it was by bus as I cannot drive. Before Covid this was not a problem, but I admit to being extremely apprehensive about using public transport now. If people return to work and their children return to school, the grandparents, who are in the high-risk category will be left to do the drop offs and pick ups before and after school. For my grandchild and for many others there is no childcare alternative other than older family members. When I collected my grandchild from the primary school she attends, the playground is packed with parents, grandparents and younger children. You are often passing in very close proximity to others in the playground. Nursery and younger primary school age children have no understanding of social distancing. I can only offer my own point of view. I have much sympathy for the difficult situation that parents, guardians and teachers are in. I do think however that the safety of all within the school environment must be considered before agreeing to open the schools. Will teachers and children and other school staff need PPE? I would certainly think so. Will young children wash their hands and follow social distancing? Children may not be affected, but the older generation who in the main are the childcare, will be and as someone else posted there is the possibility of staff and children taking Covid home unknowingly to relatives etc. Can we not study how other countries are opening schools? Eg Spain or Italy? Can we learn from them?
  • Posted by kpm321 May 10, 2020 at 17:08

    Yes, let's have a phased return to school, with S5 and S6 pupils returning first.
  • Posted by CathMacInnes May 10, 2020 at 22:25

    Keep schools closed except for transitioning years (not P1, they could start later Monitor this and set up robust process for full return in August - wether that means staggered day for classes and / or more outside learning to allow for distancing if that is still required The re-opening of schools should be looked at in conjunction with childcare and work / working from home Providing more flexibility for childminders to take funded 2yr old spaces, open new childcare centres where there are gaps Provide childcare for those who are key workers and currently rely on grandparents No half day sharing but shorter days with more social activities after school for those needing childcare
  • Posted by JDDJ May 10, 2020 at 22:32

    Given the current evidence that children are minimally affect if they catch Coronavirus I think that looking at how to allow children to return to school must be prioritised. Home learning does not give children the full spectrum of education they need and will widen the gap between more privileged and the disadvantaged even more. This is even more important at the younger ages. Schooling is also about social skills which are key at a young age. Perhaps phased start and end times each day and staggered break times would help. Also only packed lunches to reduce the need for catering staff and limit movement to dining rooms. Also shortening the school holidays, perhaps moving a week to later in the year to break up the autumn and winter terms into 3 terms as someone else has suggested
  • Posted by CathMacInnes May 10, 2020 at 22:43

    Prepare each school with a Mental Health coordinator Look at new ways of schooling and reform - now is a very good time to do this And by this I mean providing schooling/educational opportunities for those currently excluded - for many reasons - mental health, anxiety, Illness, domestic circumstances One size does not fit all and there is an opportunity to provide more apprentice type learning and focus on children’s strengths
  • Posted by jeankemp May 11, 2020 at 00:31

    No teacher should have to return to work until the Covid curve is well suppressed in Scotland and a massive community programme (194000 tests per day) of Test, Trace and Isolate is firmly established.
  • Posted by Henderson May 11, 2020 at 09:33

    How are the Scottish government measuring the transmission rate in children? Do we have any evidence that children of key workers have passed on the virus to teachers whilst being in the hubs during the pandemic? The National Records of Scotland show that no child under the age of 14 yrs has died in the weeks 1-18 related to Covid 19 and that 75% (2097) are over the age of 75 yrs. The population have to have confidence in sending children back to school and the teachers confidence that they are not going to be infected. Do we have to have the antibody test in place before we know the true spread of the virus and contact tracers to follow up on known cases? I believe this happened in France when a 9yr old British boy on a ski-ing holiday had Covid 19 and of 170 contacts none (including his siblings) contracted the virus. There must be other evidence on transmission rates emerging from countries that have come out of lock down or not implemented it in the first place. I know we have to prioritise many aspects of life during this pandemic, however I would urge the government to consider the education and well being of all children to be of paramount importance.
  • Posted by Scotland_is_flatlining May 11, 2020 at 10:54

    With the school holidays in June this question is something of an irrelevance. Maximising time at school would be in the best interest of pupils and therefore Scot Gov should immediately declare the start of the school holidays and prepare for a phased return to school in 6-8 weeks (start-mid July) by which time information will be clearer and schools will have developped appropriate ways of working.
  • Posted by Carojaneparent May 11, 2020 at 11:08

    It is important to get school pupils back to school before then end of the summer term for their social and mental wellbeing, particularly those who have had exams cancelled and need to focus on studying for their first set of exams next academic session. As parents we’ve seen and had to support the adjustment first hand which has been significant, not just on the exam front but on the social and mental side. The remote learning is intense and challenging for those fortunate to have access to remote technology. For teenagers all geared up for exams, their life’s plan as far as they had known it was all ripped up in the space of a week. We need to ensure that our children are not left to fall behind and certainly not in an approach inconsistent with the rest of the UK. Instead we should adopt an approach which promotes equality of opportunity to education and social well being creating access to school (not remotely which undermines the latter who have less access to quality technology) and take a consistent approach across the UK. Even the 2-3 weeks in June for Scotland would create an opportunity for pupils to importantly socially and mentally reconnect with other pupils, ahead of the summer recess; it would also give important opportunity to try out the social distancing logistics ahead of what must surely be a full resume in August to ensure the educational impact is minimised. It will also given Teaching staff the opportunity to understand how well or not pupils are engaging and learning through remote means. Please don’t disadvantage our children any further than is necessary, and certainly not on grounds of differences of political opinion; which is now how its starting to come across. Appreciate it is hard choice but we need to safeguard the future opportunities for our children based on the solid foundation of their education
  • Posted by Carojaneparent May 11, 2020 at 11:11

    It is important to get school pupils back to school before then end of the summer term for their social and mental wellbeing, particularly those who have had exams cancelled and need to focus on studying for their first set of exams next academic session. As parents we’ve seen and had to support the adjustment first hand which has been significant, not just on the exam front but on the social and mental side. The remote learning is intense and challenging for those fortunate to have access to remote technology. For teenagers all geared up for exams, their life’s plan as far as they had known it was all ripped up in the space of a week. We need to ensure that our children are not left to fall behind and certainly not in an approach inconsistent with the rest of the UK. Instead we should adopt an approach which promotes equality of opportunity to education and social well being creating access to school (not remotely which undermines the latter who have less access to quality technology) and take a consistent approach across the UK. Even the 2-3 weeks in June for Scotland would create an opportunity for pupils to importantly socially and mentally reconnect with other pupils, ahead of the summer recess; it would also give important opportunity to try out the social distancing logistics ahead of what must surely be a full resume in August to ensure the educational impact is minimised. It will also given Teaching staff the opportunity to understand how well or not pupils are engaging and learning through remote means. Please don’t disadvantage our children any further than is necessary, and certainly not on grounds of differences of political opinion; which is now how its starting to come across. Appreciate it is hard choice but we need to safeguard the future opportunities for our children based on the solid foundation of their education
  • Posted by ELCworkingmum May 11, 2020 at 12:47

    I work in a nursery with children aged 2-5 years. I find it very difficult understanding how sending the children back with this current pandemic still around is possible. To protect staff we need PPE but this will terrify the children. And how is it emotionally or socially acceptable to distance children when they do not understand. They wont understand why they need to stay away from friends, cant hug staff or why the nursery has all but changed to them. Inclusion, nurture and routine are paramount to our children. I cannot refuse to comfort a child if they are upset or want a hug. Not only would the child question why i dislike them it would change our relationship in the future. I am a mum with 3 children and 2 step children. My eldest daughter is about to begin secondary. And although i feel like transition is important so is her health and wellbeing. I would rather know she went back after the summer with support and guidance from the school for the first few weeks maybe even first day going to the primary and them walking them together to the secondary than send her to school at risk. My other children are about to go into p4 and p5 and i feel like staying at home is whats best for them as they can social distance, stay safe whereas at school they would find this difficult. The problem with opening schools and nurseries and even workplaces is most people rely on grandparents for childcare. I would not feel comfortable sending my children to my father in law when he is at risk so for other parents in this situation who arent keyworkers how do they get childcare? Lots of people will put their children first and would risk losing their jobs to do so which would then in turn make more people unemployed. As a mum and a ELC worker i pleade not to open until after summer. I am still working in hubs as a keyworker but its hard on us as staff and mentally draining not being able to do the job properly and nurturing in a way that we are used to. I get times are changing but dont let it change the hard work we have done to make our children in scotland grow up thinking they have keyworkers who care about them by putting them in positions which makes their little minds think otherwise. I want to work, i want to see their wee faces but dont put them at risk. Dont let us be the reason they and our families are put at risk.
  • Posted by icecreamqueen May 11, 2020 at 13:13

    My child and I live with my 80 year old mother. Lots of other families live in multi generational households like us with no alternative living arrangement. I feel there are obvious risks to my mum by my child being in school. This is not an issue of childcare. Children will interact with family members in their home. While children may themselves be at low risk of the virus, what are the options for families who due to shielding reasons, may not wish their child to return to school along with their peers initially? Would the government support home learning till the overall risk level is reduced or test and trace procedures were working efficiently? I certainly wouldn’t be returning my child to school at the moment. I worry also about our teachers who do an amazing job. Let’s ensure they are protected properly and their views and ideas are listened to.
  • Posted by Underhill May 11, 2020 at 13:22

    I want to know how the government will support and safeguard pupils and all staff (teaching, support admin etc), who are in schools which provide provision for students with profound and multiple disabilities, where social distancing is impossible due to moving and handling, personal/intimate care, giving medication, violent incidents (including biting and spitting). Pupils who have severe and profound autism and challenging behaviours. There are often many adults in one room to support students and at least two adults when carrying out personal care. This environment is almost more like a care/medical environment, so what protections/safeguards will be put in place? And can guidance be issued for these specific types of settings for safe practicies and not just forgotten about.
  • Posted by SYP May 11, 2020 at 13:36

    The Scottish Youth Parliament, YouthLink Scotland and Young Scot have partnered to deliver Lockdown Lowdown - a survey of young people from across Scotland on their concerns about COVID-19. You can find the full report here: https://youngscot.net/observatory/lockdownlowdown-keyfindings As part of our 1st-3rd May weekly check-in survey, we asked young people what actions they would like decision makers keep in mind when thinking about re-opening schools. Of the 93 responses we received, young people highlighted the following: - 37% noted concerns around safety of returning to school - 24% wanted the impact of lockdown and social distancing on mental health and wellbeing to be kept in mind. - 23% felt the long term impacts on education, qualifications and employment should be kept in mind in making these decisions. Other key themes raised include: - Managing expectations of things returning to normal straight away (17%) - Focus on how to achieve social distancing within schools (17%) - Risk to the health of others (16%) - Practicalities of the learning environment (11%) - Ensuring decisions are suitable for all circumstances (11%) 10% of respondents also noted that they want to see decisions clearing communicated and/or influenced by young people.
  • Posted by Blair10 May 11, 2020 at 13:36

    As a teacher, I would like to express views on the reopening of schools. As an infant teacher, I find it unimaginable of how I could be in my classroom with children and keep a safe distance. They require help with everything, even if it is just logging onto an iPad, not to mention when they need to show you their sore finger! The list of close contact could go on and on as you can imagine. Proposals for part time may be an answer for older children. Even then, teacher’s own personal situations would need to be addressed- if I am working full time but my own children are only in part time, where do they go on the other days? Grandparents cannot help as they usually do. I commend the running of ‘Hubs’ and suggest they are the way we continue to educate the most vulnerable until it is safe for us all to return. Lots of my pupils are working from home, accessing my online teaching. Most of their parents do not work so they are in a safe place with no risk. Perhaps working parents would benefit from their children having some hours allocated at a hub. Perhaps an application for school hours may give a good indication of how many parents would infact be sending their children back to school before any decisions on how to accommodate them are made.
  • Posted by EGJ May 11, 2020 at 13:50

    Schools & Early childhood Centre's should only open when safe to do so. They are educational establishments for our children and children have the right to be safe while in our care. Any plan needs to be carefully thought through for each age group, type of establishment and protection of staff. It definitely shouldn't be rushed.
  • Posted by rad70 May 11, 2020 at 14:03

    Kids could return to school until the summer holidays. This period could be used to trial new ways of running classrooms and finding successful ways to bring kids back into the classroom. This would remove anxiety for children as the longer the period is that they are away from the school the harder it will be to adapt back to the classroom. Priority should be given to children that are at critical phases such as the transition from primary to secondary. An earlier return back after the summer holidays would also be a good way to get some children back in a phased manner. Holidays could be used to extend the school year and make up for lost teaching time, especially if the class sizes need to be smaller and kids need to attend the school on different days. A rotational system for teachers and pupils that ran over the holidays would allow for max flexibility.
  • Posted by edinfolks May 11, 2020 at 14:34

    Something to consider if/when pupils do return is how many people need to isolate in the event of a positive case in the school community. If pupil tests positive, should the entire class and teachers isolate or the school? If this happens in a secondary school that could mean several members of staff off at the same time. Schools may need to dedicate a teacher manage the remote learning of pupils who are unable to attend due to shielding (for themselves or family members) or temporarily isolating because of exposure. But this would mean a member of staff unable to take up other duties. It would be unmanageable (and unreasonable) for teachers to provide both on-site and remote learning for members of the same class.
  • Posted by Pac2377 May 11, 2020 at 15:12

    The government really needs to stop the rhetoric regarding a 'return to school' being a risk for children. School closures were intended as a measure to protect the older members of society from covid-19. Children have made an enormous sacrifice for the benefit of others. I would argue that school closures will have far more long-term health and wellbeing risks for children than Covid. Scientifically, the government has already confirmed the R number would not rise significantly if schools opened, especially if done strategically. As a teacher and parent of P7, I believe this year group needs a return to a familiar environment to provide proper closure of their primary years and to provide appropriate transition opportunities. Whether this happens in mid-June or mid-August is debatable. Yes it might mean postponing the move to the next school year until September but it is unthinkable to thrust them into High School after the upheaval they have been through.
  • Posted by CarolineS May 11, 2020 at 15:16

    Priority should be given to getting children with exams next year back to school as soon as possible - hopefully before Summer break if safe. That is, current S3-S5. Some schools, and family circumstances, are able to provide significant on-line learning, others less so. A return to the classroom would raise attainment and equality of opportunity across the board. If need be, perhaps exams could be sat later in 2021, say June , to allow for lost time in April and May to be made up. It would not be reasonable to cancel examinations or use estimated grades next year - for some year groups, this would mean both Nat 5s and Highers or Highers and Advanced Highers had been estimated, causing all sorts of issues, from question over credibility of grades to children being unprepared for the next stage, whether work, apprenticeships, or university.
  • Posted by CarolineS May 11, 2020 at 15:21

    I would also like to see children in all year groups going back to school as soon as possible, hopefully June - mixing with other children and equality of learning opportunities is so important for their mental and intellectual well-being. The scientific evidence suggests that children are less at risk than other groups, of severity of symptoms and in spreading Covid-19. A return in early June for 3-4 weeks before Summer beak would also allow and spoke in transmission caused by return to be quelled once school holidays start
  • Posted by lulu42 May 11, 2020 at 16:13

    SQA will need to consider exams for next year if pupils aren't back full time. There is barely enough time to teach to a 1 year timetable (especially since my kids' school has cut the number of periods they are in Maths/English to allow them another subject). Now they are not going to get the full teaching commitment (since they would start in June). Are exams cancelled next year?
  • Posted by Lusi May 11, 2020 at 16:49

    There is significantly lower risk of transmission of Covid19 in the outdoors. Phased return to school with half of the class at a time entirely outdoors. There is a vast amount which children can learn in the outdoors - most of the Curriculum for Excellence. There are huge benefits to children's and teachers' mental and physical health of being outdoors as well as increased physical actvitiy, increased concentration, improved academic learning, lessons are more memorable, reduced stress, and more. We have to be very careful that when children do return to school that they are nurtured and their social skills are carefully supported, and the outdoors is the perfect place to do this. Now is the time to re-design schools around outdoor learning when together, combined with clear online academic learning for the half of the week they are at home. More will include vegetable growing, food forests (orchards underplanted with other edible and biodiversity promoting plants), circular seating areas (these can be logs to start with), composting and much more. Signs which the children make can explain what is growing in each area and why it is important. Small group sizes will make social distancing more manageable, and the support easier to give to those who need it most.
  • Posted by mpiper May 11, 2020 at 17:39

    There are many unknowns about the coronavirus, however one thing that is very clear is that the risk to school age children, and in particular primary-school age children, is essentially zero if they have no underlying health conditions. The reason to close schools to date is to reduce community spread and protect the health of teachers, and this was the correct course of action. If children in general were a high-risk group, schools should remain shut until the pandemic is crushed, but thank goodness they are not a high-risk group (quite the opposite). Schools should be opened as soon as community spread reaches an acceptable level. Pupil attendance in the initial weeks should be entirely voluntary to support those parents who do not wish their children to return immediately. In primary schools we should have smaller groups of children taught together, staggered arrival times etc... as Denmark - anyone who's had kids this age knows social distancing is not going to be 100%. Teachers with increased risk of any kind (including age) should work from home. PPE should be available. It will not be school as normal, but it will be something. In summary? 1) The risk to children without underlying conditions is low - close to zero. Children at increased risk, or those were their parents wish it, should remain at home. To expand the risk point, it is a fact that a child without underlying health conditions is far, far, far more likely to die in a road traffic accident than of Coronavirus. We accept that (much, much larger) risk to get our kids to school, as it's seen as an acceptable risk in return for educating our children to give them better lives (Because isn't that the point of education?) 2) Social justice. It is the most vulnerable children who will be most scarred by school closure. School closures will widen the attainment gap. And children will pay for the educational scarring they are experiencing for the rest of their lives. 3) Maintain public support for the lockdown and ongoing measures. In families where all parents work, or where furlough is not available or not offered (a very large proportion of the private sector), the choice is work and neglect your kids, or financial hardship and perhaps destitution. This will erode public support for the lockdown and ongoing measures. And support for these measures will be required to protect those at high risk from Covid, and keep overall death rates down
  • Posted by LMCD00 May 11, 2020 at 17:52

    Unfortunately most of the schools are at capacity as nee housing schemes get built but no schools to cope with the influx of children. There is no possible way classroom sizes can be reduced to a safe size unless the government start building new schools. Also in order to allow home teaching pupils would require adequate ICT and internet access which many don't have. I would love the children to be able to go back in August if the covid numbers have dropped but I don't see how it would be possible
  • Posted by Haggis1 May 11, 2020 at 18:22

    As long as pupils & staff are protected, keep to social distancing, employ staff to support staff with this. P7 to have the opportunity to do some transition to secondary school.
  • Posted by AnyaHill May 11, 2020 at 19:04

    I don't see how my kids can do social distancing in their schools. They're already at capacity and having to split classrooms to fit in more classes. How will they manage kids passing in the corridor/ going to the loo etc? There's not much doubt that sending kids back to school now is going to see an upsurge in the virus, and probably a worse peak than we've had, since the UK lockdown came early in terms of our position on the curve. Someone in our household is in the vulnerable category. No matter how careful we are, sending the kids back to school will make it almost impossible to avoid his getting the virus. I don't want to risk his life, and I don't believe the Scottish Government will require it of us. If you need to send kids back, make it optional, please, and livestream classes so kids at home can benefit from teaching as well.
  • Posted by AlbertRoad81 May 11, 2020 at 19:42

    Although the evidence that we have is not as much as we would like, all of the evidence that we do have is that children are very unlikely to get Covid-19, very unlikely to have any serious complications, and very unlikely to spread it. Childcare and school should resume ASAP, perhaps with rotation in bigger busier settings such as high schools. Of course this brings a small chance of an increase in transmission, but from what we know this would be very unlikely. See Sweden. This will improve the health and wellbeing of both children and parents, and allow parents to get back to work. Unfortunately the reality is that there does need to be a trade off between economic activity and the risk of increased transmission. However, many parents are now genuinely fearful for the safety of their children, and this fear whether irrational or not, cannot easily be taken away. I do sympathise with parents who themselves have a serious underlying health problem. For this reason school should reopen but not be compulsory until August.
  • Posted by Gi May 11, 2020 at 20:27

    Schools should not reopen in any capacity (except to current children of key workers) until after the summer and only if robust evidence says that it is safe to do so. It is nearly impossible to enforce proper social distancing with young people in schools.
  • Posted by Claresy May 11, 2020 at 21:08

    Special consideration is required for children with additional support needs in special schools. These pupils will struggle with social distancing for a number of reasons: 1. Personal care needs that require close support from 1 or 2 staff at a time (feeding, changing, toileting, medical support) 2. Lack of social awareness 3. Need for support in order to access opportunities and move around school 4. Anxiety around others particularly given the long period of time at home 5. Pupils are transported to school, often in mixed classes. 6. Pupils often mouth materials and equipment; there is not sufficient time or staff to clean everything thoroughly. Staff and pupils are very vulnerable if there are up to 10 pupils in a class with a large number of staff. Cleaning is challenging with the current allocation and additional cleaners would be required to maintain standards required. If mixed groups of pupils are sharing transport and then mixing in classes, this hugely increases the risk.
  • Posted by cadatta May 11, 2020 at 21:38

    People cannot get back to work and the economy cannot get moving again unless schools and other childcare providers start back. We have to balance the impact of them not opening and the repercussions of all that that entails against the potential number of Covid related deaths. I have already very sadly heard of a number of people with young families who have taken their own lives recently. I am not sure that schools going back before summer is a good idea but rather take the time to really think through and plan how it can be done as safely as possible whilst shielding vulnerable groups. I think it would be important for those at key transition points in schooling to go back as soon as feasible
  • Posted by BilliB May 11, 2020 at 21:43

    Having a child of 4 years old due to start school this summer and a 9 month old who was due to have a settling in period for nursery, in order to return to part time work from maternity leave then people in my position would need the same days for both children to make it possible to work if it’s decided that school children would alternate days from different year groups.
  • Posted by elt162020 May 11, 2020 at 21:48

    S4-6 must be prioritised, these people don't another year to do school, it is essential for our futures that we can receive our final years of education
  • Posted by Gillak7 May 11, 2020 at 21:59

    As a teacher I am currently very worried about the danger I will be in going back to teach in schools. I would like the government to consider the following: 1. Likelihood of severe illness is partly due to the amount of virus exposure. Teachers in a classroom could be exposed repeatedly as you cannot tell if children are asymptomatic. 2. Some research from USA shows social distancing is not effective if you are in an enclosed space for long periods ( more than 15 minutes) if someone in the room is infected. Virus will spread easily in classrooms. 3. Masks should be compulsory in schools to stop the transmission. 4. How are staff and children with underlying health conditions be protected. 5. Science must show that health is not being put at risk...and the science needs to be published...otherwise teaching staff will not want to go into the classroom. 6. Will PPE be provided? 7. I currently have no confidence about the safety of re-opening schools and the pressure to reopen schools by many (so that parents can go back to work) is causing extreme anxiety in the profession. This will cause a mental health crisi amongst teaching staff. 8. If you reduce class sizes, how are you going to find extra teachers. 9. Children cannot socially distance...
  • Posted by ib15 May 11, 2020 at 22:03

    I am a DHT in a primary school, delivering Gaelic medium education. Whilst I know that online learning is not the best for our children, I am certain that until we can return to school safely this must continue. We have vulnerable families and I do believe we should look at how they can be better supported throughout all of this. However, knowing children, there is no way that children will be able to successfully self-isolate. Moving to a blend of digital and schooling, when it is safe to do so, will require careful workforce planning, particularly where language acquisition is involved. It is vitally important that we are given time to plan for this effectively. Whilst it is important for children to get back to school, keeping everyone safe must be our priority. Teachers are skilled in working with children from where they are, and when we return, this is how we will require to operate. Issues such as PPE require to be looked at in addition to this.
  • Posted by Kelly May 11, 2020 at 22:08

    I'd like to know how teachers and children are going to be able to work and play safely, whilst keeping at a safe distance. If children were to return to schools and nurseries it should be as normal as possible and when safe to do so. How do children get to school/nursery ? How do children follow social distancing? Children could be infected and can infect others. This should not be rushed and should be a phased return. I work in a nursery setting we're children would be unable to understand and follow any social distance and hygiene requirements.
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