Staggered return of pupils to schools to start next week in Scotland

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LONDON, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) — The phased return of pupils to classrooms in Scotland will begin on Monday, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed Tuesday.

Sturgeon told the Scottish parliament that youngest pupils, from Primary One to Primary Three and those at pre-school, could return from Feb. 22, while the other age groups will continue to learn from home.

A limited number of senior phase students who need access to school for “essential practical work” can also return to classroom on Monday.

She said it was unlikely that any other pupils would return to school before March 15 at the earliest, as lockdown in Scotland would continue until at least the beginning of March and “possibly for a further period beyond that”.

She warned that the situation is “still very fragile”, and parents should not socialize at school gates for fear of transmitting the coronavirus.

Sturgeon said there would be trade-offs, as getting children back to education may mean “the rest of us living with some other restrictions for longer”.

The school reopen date in Scotland is two weeks earlier than the potential date proposed by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for the reopening of schools in England.

On Saturday, Johnson said he is “optimistic” ahead of his announcement expected on Feb. 22 about a “road map” for easing England’s lockdown.

Johnson said his plan would prioritize the reopening of schools from March 8, followed by non-essential retail and then hospitality venues.

Meanwhile in Wales, children aged three to seven will also return to the classroom on Feb. 22, along with some older children on vocational courses.

In Northern Ireland, ministers are set to discuss a potential date for reopening schools at a meeting on Thursday, the Sky News reported.

England is currently under the third national lockdown since outbreak of the pandemic in the country. Similar restriction measures are also in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States have been racing against time to roll out coronavirus vaccines. Enditem

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