Lockdown announcement and schools impact - EIS response

The EIS has expressed its support for the decision to keep schools on a remote learning platform for at least the month of January, as part of the lockdown announced today by the Scottish Government.

Commenting on the decision, EIS General Secretary, Larry Flanagan said, "There was already heightened concern from teachers in Level 4 areas around school safety and the surge in infection levels, driven by the new variant, will have compounded those concerns especially as it seems clear that children can be as easily infected as anyone by the new strain, with subsequent transmission also occurring."

"Given that social distancing amongst pupils is physically impossible in crowded classrooms, moving to remote learning is the correct decision, therefore, if we are to successfully drive down community infection levels.  Suppressing the virus is key to school buildings safely reopening."

He added, "Whilst the education system is better prepared to deliver education remotely than during the first lockdown, challenges remain and we need to ensure that all pupils, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, can access learning on an equitable basis."

Mr Flanagan concluded, "We have raised with the Scottish Government the question of prioritising vaccination of school staff as a mechanism to allow school buildings to reopen for all pupils."