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Teachers call for continued Covid-19 caution as kids return to schools in Scotland

SCOTLAND’S largest teaching union called for continued caution around Covid-19 today as pupils and staff return to classrooms.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) said that safety measures must continue to protect workers and children and expressed concern about the risk of the virus being passed through school communities. 

Protections in schools will remain in place for at least the first six weeks of term, requiring continued social distancing and the wearing of face coverings in classrooms, though self-isolation regulations have been loosened slightly since last term.

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan welcomed the continued protections and urged schools to continue to apply rigorous safety mitigations to reduce the risk of outbreaks.

“The roll-out of the vaccine programme has allowed the country to move out of lockdown and lift many restrictions, but it is very clear that the virus has not gone away and remains a threat — particularly to those in vulnerable groups,” he said.

“The EIS continues to expect local authorities to take all possible steps to protect pupils and staff within those groups, including the continued ability to work from home for those who are clinically extremely vulnerable. 

“While we all want to see life in society at large and in our schools return to normality, we must continue to exercise appropriate caution to reduce the risk of further Covid spread through school communities.”

The union’s warning came after the Scottish government was told to provide further details on plans for next year’s school qualifications.

The NASUWT teaching union said that plans for awards in 2022 must ensure fairness, reflect the level of disruption pupils have experienced to their education and protect against the unacceptable and avoidable workload pressures teachers experienced in the last academic year. 

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