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Scottish Government announces easing of Covid-19 school rules

By Ewan Malcolm

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FACE coverings will no longer be required to be worn in high school classrooms across Scotland, the Scottish Government has announced.

Face coverings will still be required in communal areas. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.
Face coverings will still be required in communal areas. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.

The change will come into effect From February 28, after the mid-term break. Teachers and pupils who want to continue wearing face coverings in the classroom will continue to receive support.

However, face coverings will still be required in communal areas.

Specific mitigations relating to assemblies and transition visits for learners who will start primary or secondary school in August 2022, will also be eased as of February 28.

The decision comes as covid cases among secondary-aged pupils continue to fall.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "In recent weeks I have promised to keep Parliament and school communities updated on mitigations within schools - including the use of face coverings within classrooms.

"I have been clear that we do not want to keep these measures in place for any longer than is necessary, but that we must continue to be led by scientific and expert advice.

"On Tuesday our Advisory Subgroup on Education and Children’s Issues met to discuss a number of issues, including the use of face coverings.

"The group reiterated its previous position that the removal of mitigations in schools should follow a phased approach. It also advised that the next phase could begin after the February half-term break, with the removal of face-coverings in classrooms – for both pupils and staff - on February 28.

"In arriving at their decision, the Advisory Sub-Group pointed to reducing case rates for secondary-aged pupils, falling hospitalisation rates across all age categories, and the fact that the estimated R rate is below 1 and decreasing. In addition, vaccination rates for young people continue to increase.

"This change represents a further step in allowing our children and young people to return to a more normal school experience after many months of sacrifice.

"We currently expect that face coverings will still be worn outside the classroom, in indoor communal areas of schools, after February 28. This will be kept under regular review. In addition, anyone who wants to continue wearing a face covering in classrooms will, of course, be supported to do so."

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