COVID-19: Phased return of schools in Scotland to begin on Monday, Nicola Sturgeon announces

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A phased return of pupils to classrooms in Scotland will begin on Monday, the first minister has announced.

Nicola Sturgeon revealed the news in a statement to the Scottish parliament this afternoon, as she said the country's lockdown would continue until at least the beginning of March.

Ms Sturgeon said earlier this month that the return of pupils would be supported by an expansion of testing, with older pupils and anyone working in schools or childcare settings routinely tested twice a week.

The return date is two weeks earlier than the date proposed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson for the reopening of schools in England.

In Wales, children aged three to seven will also return to the classroom on 22 February, 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.