“Tier” Plans need to Articulate Triggers for School Closures

The EIS has called for clarity from the Scottish Government as to the triggers for school closures as part of any tiered approach to tackling the spread of Covid 19 infections. 

As many schools in the west of Scotland return after the October break whilst other parts of the country begin their holiday, EIS General Secretary, Larry Flanagan has said that transparency around such planning is critical to avoiding the political wrangling now evident elsewhere in the UK.

Mr Flanagan commented, "It is clear that school closures, either locally or nationally, need to be considered as part of measures to control the growth in the R figure and to deal with local outbreaks, where they occur."

"As a country we should be open and transparent as to the type of indicators which would trigger such a move so that pupils, parents and teachers can be as prepared as possible for such an occurrence; a few days' notice, for example, would be woefully insufficient."

Mr Flanagan added, "We also need to be confident that schools are able to switch effectively to remote teaching, or to blended learning, so that we don’t see a repeat of the "digital divide" which was evident in the last lockdown, with pupils from the poorest backgrounds being disproportionally disadvantaged. Failing to learn lessons from that experience would be inexcusable."

Mr Flanagan concluded, "Everyone understands the importance of schools being open but as is now evident from decisions and discussion elsewhere, if they need to close, even temporarily, in order to control the virus, that is a decision we need to be prepared to make."