Scots schools 'must stay open' in Level 4 lockdown

Scots schools should stay open in the west of Scotland if level four restrictions are imposed across the region later this week, a parents’ campaign group has said.

The country's biggest teaching union, the EIS, has already said schools should be closed, with a return to blended learning in areas where the highest level of restrictions come into force.

They have even threatened "safety strikes" amid soaring school absentee levels in Scotland.

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will set out the latest review of the five-tiered system of restrictions in place across Scotland tomorrow, but the strong indications are that Greater Glasgow and Lanarkshire will move to level four.

Scots schools returned in August
Scots schools returned in August

Ministers have made it clear that schools will remain open in level four, the highest level of restrictions, although non-essential shops, pubs, restaurants and all other hospitality will closed.

But Jo Bisset, organiser for UsForThem Scotland, said: “The EIS and certain politicians are pointing to increased absences, but the vast majority of these cases feature healthy children who should still be in school.

“It’s an entirely manufactured picture, and the Scottish Government should stick to its word and keep schools open as normal, even in tier four council areas.

“We know there are influential groups who’ve wanted schools shut right from the start and now strike action is being used as another tactic to force this through.

“All of this serves to damage the wellbeing and prospects of children. Schools are and should be considered critical infrastructure."

UsForThem Scotland, which now has almost 12,000 members, points to a survey among its own members suggesting most children have not been forced to self-isolate since schools returned – and most of those who were sent home never developed symptoms.

Ms Bisset said: “Blended learning was, at best, a farce. For many in the poorest areas, it cast children adrift from an education system which they’re now unlikely to catch up with.

"How anyone can think this is good for society, the attainment gap or mental health is an absolute mystery.”

Education Secretary John Swinney has previously insisted that schools are "very safe" and that few sources of infection relate to education.

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