Schools in Scotland back from Monday in first easing of COVID lockdown
Watch: Phased return of schools in Scotland to begin on Monday, Sturgeon announces
Some pupils in Scotland will begin returning to school on Monday, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
However, all other lockdown restrictions will remain in place until 1 March at the earliest – and the first minister warned the return of children to schools "may mean the rest of us living with some other restrictions for longer".
Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday: “The core stay at home requirement will remain in place until at least the beginning of March and possibly for a further period beyond that.”
The reopening of schools will mark the first easing of Scotland's coronavirus lockdown, and is another divergence with the policy of Boris Johnson's Westminster government.
Johnson has said it will be 8 March "at the earliest" when England's lockdown will be eased with pupils returning to school. He is set to present a "road map" of how England will leave lockdown on Monday.
Sturgeon said the first phase of reopening will see primaries one to three and senior phase pupils in secondary schools – but only to complete “essential practical work” – return to schools next week.
Further returns will not happen before 15 March, with the government to assess the ramifications of the return in phase one.
And warning Scots of the "trade-off" needed to open schools again, Sturgeon said: "We are very deliberately choosing the very limited headroom we have right now to get at least some children back to school, because children's education and wellbeing is such an overriding priority.
"Being able to get children back to education may mean the rest of us living with some other restrictions for longer and that's a trade-off we need to be willing to make at this stage."
Parents, meanwhile, have been urged not to socialise at school gates for fear of spreading the virus, with Sturgeon saying the reopening of schools must only be treated as “a return to education for children only, and not as a return to greater normality for the rest of us”.
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Speaking of the wider lockdown in Scotland, Sturgeon also said returning to “100% normality” will likely not be possible in the near future.
She went on to warn Scots against booking Easter holidays, but added “staycations” during the summer may be allowed depending on the infection data.
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