Mon 27 Jul, 2020

The guidance around social distancing for secondary pupils and staff is as clear as mud Ross Greer

There will be “limited opportunities” for high school pupils and staff to maintain safe distancing when schools reopen, the Children and Young People Spokesperson at council umbrella body COSLA has admitted.

Last week the Scottish Government advised that older pupils should maintain 2m social distancing when they return to school “whenever practicable”.

But at today’s virtual meeting of Holyrood’s education committee, councillor Stephen MCabe, co-chair of the Scottish Government’s Education Recovery Group said: “The reality is there will be limited opportunities to maintain social distancing in secondary schools.”

Education Secretary John Swinney then added safe distancing was a “precautionary principle” that shouldn’t be prioritised over full-time education. He later admitted the testing programme for teachers will not be ready for the start date of August 11.

Commenting, Scottish Green education spokesperson Ross Greer said:

“The guidance around social distancing for secondary pupils and staff is as clear as mud. Most schools just don’t have the space or capacity to do this if every pupil returns full time next month, as they have been instructed to do. Schools have been issued two recommendations which are impossible to deliver at the same time.

“The single most effective measure, which would reassure staff, pupils and parents, would be to offer regular testing of all staff and older pupils. The Greens proposed this in June, as did public health experts. Instead, the Scottish Government are planning for ‘surveillance testing’ ie not regularly available to all staff and older pupils. And now we’ve learnt today that even this surveillance testing won’t be ready for schools returning on 11st August, which is frankly unacceptable.”

Get involved

More like this

SQA Appeals: Greens Demand ‘No Detriment’ Policy

Thu 6 Aug, 2020

Scottish Greens Education Spokesperson Ross Greer MSP has called for the SQA to adopt a ‘no detriment’ policy for its appeals process, to ensure a fairer outcome for the thousands of young people who saw their grades lowered by SQA moderators.

Ross Greer: School return needs more reassurances

Thu 23 Jul, 2020

Teachers and parents need more reassurances that the return to school next month will be safe, Scottish Greens education spokesperson Ross Greer has said, with further clarity on testing of school staff, social distancing measures and risk assessments for vulnerable young people urgently required.

Responding to the update from Education Secretary John Swinney, Ross Greer said:

“The Scottish Government has promised a final decision next week on whether schools will return full time, but if that is to happen parents and teachers will need more reassurances that it is safe.

Testing teachers must be at heart of schools return say Greens

Thu 16 Jul, 2020

Regular coronavirus testing must be available to teachers and other school staff as classes go back says Scottish Greens Education Spokesperson Ross Greer MSP. 

Commenting on new Scottish Government guidance for schools, Mr Greer said:

“This new guidance shows that the ‘back to normal’ scenario outlined by the Education Secretary just a month ago isn’t going to happen anytime soon and, coming less than a month before pupils are due to return, raises a number of serious concerns.