The EIS has noted the statement from the Deputy First Minister in the Scottish Parliament about potential changes to how schools may reopen in August.

Commenting on the statement, EIS General Secretary, Larry Flanagan said, "Clearly, if the suppression of the virus continues to be successful, public health guidance may change and this will impact on schools as well as every other aspect of society.

"It would be a grave mistake, however, to believe that the virus has gone away and therefore in the event of schools reopening more fully than currently planned, appropriate mitigations must be in place to protect staff and pupils and prevent flare-ups either in terms of localised resurgence in infection or even a full second wave.

"In terms of schools, this means looking at measures already being used elsewhere such as mandatory face coverings, protective perspex shields, proactive testing of teachers and an appropriate level of physical distancing between pupils and most certainly between pupils and staff, alongside continued protections for vulnerable groups. The EIS would expect these issues to be agreed within CERG before schools could reopen more fully.

"A great deal of work at school level has already gone into planning for a blended learning model from August 11th, so any change to that will require time to adjust plans and conduct revised risk assessments. Again, this will need to be subject to discussion and agreement.

"Everyone wishes to see schools operate as normal, but this should be done in a way which is demonstrably safe for students and staff, which doesn't undermine public health messages, and which is done with the interest of school communities being first and foremost and not political expediency."