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Phased schools return, lockdown remains

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Pupils will begin a phased return

Schools in Scotland will begin a phased reopening from 22 February, but the general lockdown will continue until at least the end of the month.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said there will be a full-time return of early learning and childcare for all children below school age

This will be followed by a full-time return to school for pupils in primaries 1 to 3 and a part-time return for some senior phase pupils to allow practial work to be completed for national qualification courses.

However, there will be no more than between 5% and 8% of a secondary school roll physically present at any one time for these purposes.

The First Minister said the lockdown and stay at home measures will remain in place “at least until the end of February”.

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“I am afraid we will also have to accept that the price of greater domestic normality is likely to be, for a period at least, not going on holiday overseas,” she said.

She told MSPs that the four UK nations have agreed that travellers coming into the UK from countries with a travel ban in place will be required to quarantine in hotels.

She expressed concern that “this does not go far enough”, because very few people are coming from countries with a ban in place anyway, and people could arrive into the UK via another country.

Announcing a tougher clampdown on travellers, Ms Sturgeon said that often by the time a new variant has been identified through genomic sequencing, it will already have spread across borders.

The Scottish government, therefore, intends to introduce a managed quarantine requirement for anyone who arrives directly into Scotland, regardless of which country they have come from.

The First Minister added that the Scottish government cannot unilaterally implement immediate managed quarantine for people who arrive in other parts of the UK before travelling on to Scotland.

It will therefore urge the UK government to adopt a comprehensive approach.

Ministers will ask the UK government to “work with us to reduce the risk amongst people travelling to Scotland via ports elsewhere in the UK”, she adds.

There will be more information on how the managed quarantine system will operate as soon as possible.

CBI Scotland issued a list of  six priorities to shape the country’s exit from lockdown, echoing the same roadmap issued by the CBI head office in London at the weekend.

Tracy Black, CBI Scotland Director, said: “While businesses recognise the rationale for extending lockdown, there’s a growing need to start planning for the re-opening of the economy once it is safe to do so. Jobs, firms and livelihoods can all be saved by undertaking important preparations now.   

“Business has supported the strategic framework approach to reopening the economy, seeing it as a transparent way to explain decision-making around restrictions.

“By building a route map now for exiting the current lockdown, we can minimise economic casualties in the coming weeks and months.”



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