Reopening of schools - Frequently Asked Questions

On 16 February, the First Minister confirmed plans for the re-opening of schools and childcare for some pupils.

Speech bubble update

Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions and answers to help provide clarity on any of the aspects of the return to school on 22 February:

Who will be returning to school?

  • Pre-school children who attend our nurseries
  • Children in primaries 1, 2 and 3
  • Part-time return for a limited number of senior phase students who need access to school for essential practical work
  • As well the return of these children and young people there will be a limited increase in provision for vulnerable children - specifically those with the most significant additional support needs and where schools believe this is essential.

When will they return to school?

Schools will re-open to these pupils on 22 February 2021.

Are schools safe?

The Scottish Government has taken the decision to reopen school based on advice from Public Health Scotland and the Directors of Public Health in Scotland. The advice is based on ongoing evidence from PHS that shows; education settings are not high-risk transmission settings for children and young people, and education staff, when mitigations are closely adhered too; children diagnosed with COVID-19 continue to be in areas with higher community prevalence; teachers are not at increased risk of being hospitalised for COVID-19 compared to the population as a whole; teachers have a lower risk of having severe COVID-19 compared to the population as a whole; and; crucially, that the evidence indicates that transmission occurs predominantly outside of school, in social and household settings.

In addition, a testing programme is being put in place for people without the symptoms of coronavirus as part of the package of coronavirus risk reduction mitigations in education settings. The Scottish Government has introduced asymptomatic testing in all schools and nurseries. The testing will be available to all members of staff who work within the school (in whatever capacity) and also to senior phase pupils.

More information on the asymptomatic testing programme in schools:

Will Free School Meals be provided?

Yes. Free School Meals will be provided to all Primary 1-3 pupils and to children attending our nurseries.

Will catering facilities be open in secondary schools?

Yes. Catering will be available for secondary school pupils who attend their school to undertake practical subjects, in accordance to the timetable that is provided from their school.

Will school transport start again?

Yes. Transport will be provided as normal to all eligible pupils returning to school. In secondary school transport, 2m physical distancing will be observed as an additional mitigation measure. Face coverings should be worn by all children and young people aged over 5, in line with the government position on public transport. Car sharing with someone from another household continues to be strongly discouraged at this time.

Drop off and pick up

As before, schools may implement staggered start and finish times, to safely manage drop off and pick-up times. Given the ongoing stay at home message that remains in place, we would ask that, if possible, only one parent/carer comes to the school/centre at drop off and pick-up times. In line with government advice, we would ask you to maintain 2m physical distancing with other parents at the school gates. All establishments will continue to restrict access to their grounds and/or buildings. As before, face coverings should continue to be worn by all adults (unless exempted) when they go to the school/centre.

I am a senior phase pupil. How will I know when to attend for my classes?

Your school will communicate with you to tell you if you should attend school for

Will remote learning now stop for Primary 1-3?

Following the Scottish Government's decision that our schools should now re-open full-time to pupils in Primary 1-3 and our nurseries, this means that remote learning will no longer be provided to these classes. Teachers will be returning to their classrooms full-time to provide learning to pupils.

When will schools re-open to other pupils?

The First Minister stated in her announcement on 16 February that the Scottish Government will need to monitor carefully the impact of this initial return, along with the general trajectory of the virus, before it can commit to any future phases. The First Minister hopes that in two weeks' time, on the 2nd of March, she is able to set out some detail regarding the second phase of re-opening. However, at this time, she does not envisage any further return to school or childcare before the 15th March.