Scotland’s Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville says the Scottish Government is “looking seriously” at changing isolation rules for school children.
Currently if one child tests positive for coronavirus everyone in their bubble, often an entire class, needs to go into self-isolation for 10 days.
However on Tuesday 6 July UK Education Secretary Gavin Williamson confirmed sending whole ‘bubbles’ of children home if one of them tests positive for the virus will stop at the end of the summer term in England.
Today Ms Somerville says that is one option the Scottish Government is also looking at.
‘We know young people and teachers have an exceptionally difficult time’
Speaking on Good Morning Scotland, the education secretary said only around 3% of school absences in Scotland were children who had contracted coronavirus – the rest were all self-isolating as close contacts.
She said: “We know that young people and their teachers have had an exceptionally difficult time over the past year.
“We know there has been disruption and we are aware that has impacted on young people differently in different parts of the country.
“We are determined to do everything we can so young people go back to school in as safe a way as possible with as few restrictions as possible, if the clinical advice allows for that to happen.
“At the end of the school term the absence rate was around 4%, but only 3% of that number had Covid.
“The vast majority of the rest of the pupils were self-isolating, and that shows why the government is looking very seriously at what changes we can make to the self-isolation measures in place for children and young people.
That is why the government is looking seriously at what changes we can make to the self-isolation measures in place for children and young people.
“We are not seeing any large outbreaks in schools at all before they broke up for the summer – it was through community transmission, and then coming into school.
“But we can all play apart in ensuring that doesn’t happen by getting vaccinated and getting tested.”
SNP needs to be clearer on ending restrictions, say Conservatives
This comes as Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross says the SNP needs to be clearer about what restrictions will end, and when.
He said: “While we recognise that cases are on the increase in Scotland, SNP ministers must understand that individuals and businesses are desperate to know if Scotland is going to move to level zero on 19 July.
“Ministers must avoid muddying the waters ahead of any future announcements on current restrictions easing.
Ministers must avoid muddying the waters ahead of any future announcements on current restrictions easing.
“The public deserves to know what longer term measures are going to be in place.
“This constant ambiguity and last-minute decision making must end.
“It is imperative that SNP ministers give businesses and people as much confidence as possible that Scotland will move to level zero on July 19.”