Almost all school pupils returning to classrooms after Easter break

Almost all of Scotland's school pupils will return to classrooms after the Easter break as planned.

The first minister has confirmed everyone, except youngsters who are on the shielding list, will be able to get full-time, in-person teaching when the new term starts.

Those who are shielding are being asked to stay at home until April 26, when it is expected they will be able to go back to normal lessons.

Two-metre distancing rules in secondary schools will be removed.

Nicola Sturgeon said: "This I know, will be a huge relief to many children and young people – and of course to many parents and carers. I know though that the return to school, particularly for older pupils, will cause concern and anxiety – to pupils, to parents and of course to teachers and others who work in schools. So let me give an assurance that we will continue to give paramount consideration to safety.  

"The return to school will involve the removal, where necessary, of strict 2m physical distancing between pupils in secondary schools - but we are asking schools to consider how they strengthen other mitigations.

"Twice-weekly lateral flow testing is already available for all school staff, in primary, secondary and special schools and also for all secondary school pupils and I would encourage as many staff and pupils as possible to make use that testing.

"We will, of course, continue to study and assess the data, in order to quickly identify and limit any outbreaks that do arise, and make sure that we are also learning from them.

"For now, let me thank everyone who is working to make this return to school possible. For many teachers and school staff, I know, this  has been the hardest year of your professional lives. I am very grateful for the way in which you have adapted to such difficult circumstances."

Ms Sturgeon says she expects to be able to confirm a further easing of measures later this month.

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