The EIS has responded to the Deputy First Minister’s announcement this morning that Secondary school pupils aged 12 and over will be required to wear face coverings in school communal areas from the 31st of August.

Commenting following the Deputy First Minister’s comments, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said: "The EIS welcomes this decision by the Scottish Government today, which reflects the updated advice from the World Health Organisation recommending face coverings for those aged 12 and over, where 1m distancing cannot be maintained. Schools are busy places with a large number of adults and young adults moving around."

"The use of face coverings in these circumstances is a sensible and appropriate step to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading through school communities."

Mr Flanagan added, "While we welcome today's announcement, the EIS believes that effective physical distancing between pupils is the best means of reducing the risk of COVID-19 spread in schools." 

"This is an area where the guidance from the Scottish Government currently lacks specificity; there needs to be a much sharper focus on ensuring social distancing in schools to protect pupils, staff and the wider community. Smaller class sizes to ensure appropriate physical distancing of pupils are essential."

He concluded, "Across all sectors, smaller classes would be a huge boost, also, to the educational recovery of those pupils most disadvantaged by the impact of lockdown. The Scottish Government, indeed, all political parties within the Scottish Parliament, should prioritise the expenditure required for the extra teachers needed to help our pupils."