Safe opening of Schools should be dependent on local circumstances

Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart has today sought assurances from the Education Secretary that a local approach to the opening of schools will be considered ahead of more children returning later in February.

During a session of the Scottish Parliament’s Education Committee this morning the Shetland MSP asked if local circumstances would be taken into account when it comes to the reopening of Schools, and asked:

“As one constituent put it to me, will the decision about Shetland's schools returning be dependent on the virus prevalence on the mainland?”

In response to Ms Wishart, the Education Secretary said he would not rule out the possibility of taking distinctive decisions in individual communities as levels of community transmission across Scotland as a whole go down.


Commenting, Ms Wishart said:

“The announcement yesterday by the Government has provided a chance for families to plan ahead for the return to schools partially reopening. It is a moment of hope for some of those families struggling to juggle home learning along with work and other responsibilities.

“It is clear that remote learning is a struggle for many, and based on feedback from constituents people seem to be finding it harder this time round. The Level 3 restrictions in the islands also mean more parents are expected in work, which has a knock on effect for remote learning arrangements.

“Strains on mental and physical health are building, and despite the clear best efforts from everyone involved remote learning can’t compare to a classroom experience. That’s why it’s important to allow for a return as soon as it is safely possible.

“As those plans take shape, the local context must be properly reflected. The Education Secretary should give full consideration to a local approach, so that young people in the Northern Isles get the best safe learning experience possible.”

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