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Covid 'stay alert' plea to Sutherland school communities as pupils return as some lockdown restrictions relaxed


By Hector MacKenzie

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Cllr John Finlayson: 'While we understand the feeling of normality which accompanies the return of pupils to school, it is important to remember that the virus is still present in Highland'.
Cllr John Finlayson: 'While we understand the feeling of normality which accompanies the return of pupils to school, it is important to remember that the virus is still present in Highland'.

School communities are being urged to remain vigilant on safety measures following today's partial return to the classrooms.

P1 to 3 and nursery pupils went back to Highland Council schools today for the first time since the Chrtistmas break as part of a planned phased return following the latest Covid lockdown.

Education committee chairman John Finlayson said: “I am delighted to see the return of some of our pupils to education settings across Highland today.

“However, I want to take this opportunity to urge the members of our school’s communities to remain aware and continue to follow national guidance to reduce the risk of transmission of the coronavirus.

"While we understand the feeling of normality which accompanies the return of pupils to school, it is important to remember that the virus is still present in Highland and in order to protect our school community, and keep schools open, we must work to make sure that there is reduced opportunity for the virus to spread outside of schools too.

“I want to thank each child, young person, parent, carer, staff member and their families for their ongoing compliance with these measures and for their patience and understanding while we have worked to deliver a quality education experience in these challenging times.

“We will continue to work towards the return of our other young people and information will be provided when further guidance is made available from the Scottish Government.”

On February 16, the Scottish Government confirmed the phased return of some pupils to school settings will go ahead from today.

That involves:

Full-time attendance for early learning and childcare (ELC) children, and for children in P1-3.

Part time attendance for young people in the senior phase who need to attend in order to complete practical work that is necessary for the completion of national qualification courses.

For vulnerable children, including a small increase in provision for children and young people with significant additional support needs where there is a clear and demonstrable necessity.

The Scottish Government has made a special allowance for schools with a roll of 25 pupils or fewer, where all of the pupils are taught in one single class. In Highland schools like this, all pupils from P1-P7 will be able to return to school from today.

The current position for school aged childcare settings remains unchanged: only children of key workers and vulnerable children can access childcare in out of school settings (other than childminding services).

Information, guidance, and support can be found at www.highland.gov.uk/backtoschool


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