High school pupils to wear face masks between classes

From August 31, pupils should be wearing face coverings in areas where physical distancing is not possible.

Face coverings: The fight to stop the spread of coronavirus goes on. Jeff J Mitchell via Getty Images
Face coverings: The fight to stop the spread of coronavirus goes on.

High school pupils must wear face masks between classes from Monday.

Education secretary John Swinney said pupils should be wearing coverings in areas where physical distancing is not possible, like corridors and communal areas.

He said “obligatory guidance” would be dished out to high schools for all pupils 12 or over.

Swinney added the Scottish Government is going further than the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidance by recommending face coverings on school buses.

ADVERT

All children aged five and over will be required to cover their faces on school transport, in line with the rules for public transport.

The full guidance will be published later on Tuesday.

Scotland’s largest teaching union the EIS has welcomed the update to guidance.

But it says more needs to be done to make physical distancing easier in schools, such as by investing in more teachers to reduce class sizes.

ADVERT

Swinney said: “We said that our guidance would be kept under constant review and, following updated scientific and public health advice and the experience of schools reopening, we are making changes that will apply from August 31.

“There is increasing evidence that face coverings can provide some protection for the wearer as well as those around them.

“We also know that some pupils have found it very difficult to physically distance when moving around school, which could increase the risk of transmission of the virus.

“And on school transport, as on public transport, there can be mixing between different age groups.” 

He continued: “We have worked with partners on the education recovery group to update the guidance to ensure face coverings are worn in corridors and confined communal areas in secondary schools, and on school transport.

“Schools will be asked to ensure children and young people have clear instructions on how to put on, remove, and store face coverings.”

Some pupils will be exempt from wearing a face covering, whilst those who do not want to wear one are not to be excluded from school.

ADVERT

The deputy FM added: “Alongside this change to the wearing of face coverings, we need to reinforce the importance of maintaining high standards of cleaning, personal hand and respiratory hygiene and physical distancing, where possible.

“In situations where there is a local cluster, use of face coverings throughout the day may be required.

“The position will be kept under review to ensure that our approach remains commensurate with the evidence and the levels of transmission in Scotland.”

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: “The EIS welcomes this decision by the Scottish Government today, which reflects the updated advice from the World Health Organisation recommending face coverings for those aged 12 and over, where 1m distancing cannot be maintained.

“Schools are busy places with a large number of adults and young adults moving around.

“The use of face coverings in these circumstances is a sensible and appropriate step to reduce the risk of Covid-19 spreading through school communities.”

But he added: “While we welcome today’s announcement, the EIS believes that effective physical distancing between pupils is the best means of reducing the risk of Covid-19 spread in schools.

“This is an area where the guidance from the Scottish Government currently lacks specificity; there needs to be a much sharper focus on ensuring social distancing in schools to protect pupils, staff and the wider community.

“Smaller class sizes to ensure appropriate physical distancing of pupils are essential.

“Across all sectors, smaller classes would be a huge boost, also, to the educational recovery of those pupils most disadvantaged by the impact of lockdown.

“The Scottish Government, indeed, all political parties within the Scottish Parliament, should prioritise the expenditure required for the extra teachers needed to help our pupils.”

Jo Bisset, organiser of the campaign group Us For Them Scotland which opposes mandatory masks for pupils, said the government’s decision is “a very disappointing move”.

She went on: “Parents across Scotland will be angry at this new rule.

“It will impact vulnerable pupils the most and creates another unnecessary challenge for children who’ve already endured months of misery.

“This is also a slippery slope. Today it’s over 12s in certain areas of school.

“But parents are worried that will very easily become all areas of the school, including the classroom.

“And if masks must be worn by those over 12, why not by eight and nine-year-olds?”

Demand for GP services ‘has never been higher in Scotland’

Tory MSP Dr Sandesh Gulhane said he saw double the patients he would normally have seen in pre-pandemic times last week.

FreshSplash via IStock
Tory MSP Dr Sandesh Gulhane said demand for GP services is 'unsustainable' as Covid cases continue to rise.

The demand for GP services is “unsustainable” as Covid cases continue to rise across Scotland, claims one NHS doctor.

Dr Sandesh Gulhane, shadow cabinet secretary for health, said he saw double the amount of patients he would normally have seen in pre-pandemic times last week.

Speaking on The Sunday Show, the Glasgow MSP said: “The demand for GPs has never been higher.

“On Monday, I had 80 patient contacts in general practice. That’s not safe, that’s not sustainable, but it’s the level of demand we’re facing.”

ADVERT

He added: “Pre-Covid you would have about 20 patients in the morning, and you’d have about 15 to 20 in the afternoon.

“And that’s sort of the levels that we would want to be working to, so it’s almost doubled the demand, and the telephones are ringing off the hook.”

Dr Gulhane said patients need to be flowing through NHS services again to help with the current demand.

“We need operations to start again, we need patients being seen in clinics,” he said.

ADVERT

“We’re struggling to treat them (patients) and all the new patients that are coming to us, so we need to get that flow going.”

Dr Gulhane said one of the main problems behind the backlog of patients was the lack of anaesthetists in hospitals.

He said the Scottish Government needs to make more of an effort to come up with a “strategic recruitment plan” to hire more anaesthetists to assist with appointments in clinics and hospitals.

On Friday senior surgeon Professor Michael Griffin, president of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, said the majority of the issues in Scotland’s hospitals and the knock-on effect to the ambulance service are not due to Covid.

Prof Griffin warned Scotland has “a real workforce problem in the NHS and in social care” that needs to be addressed and it is causing a “vicious circle” impacting all parts of the health service.

He told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme that increasing numbers of Covid cases and infected patients in hospitals are adding to the “very, very complex problem” facing the health service – including under-pressure paramedics.

It comes after the Scottish Government officially requested help from the army to support the ambulance service amid deteriorating response times.

ADVERT

The comments appear to contradict Nicola Sturgeon’s insistence that the crisis in the ambulance service is “largely caused by the Covid pressure” and it is “the latest in a number of significant challenges posed to us as a result of this pandemic”.


Three men killed and five injured in M8 motorway crash

The westbound carriageway was closed near junction 31 following crash early on Sunday morning.

MarioGuti via IStock
Police investigating fatal road crash in Renfrewshire.

Three men have died after their car left the M8 motorway and crashed early on Sunday morning.

The men, two aged 27 and one aged 31, were pronounced dead at the scene.

Five other men were taken to hospital for treatment of serious but non-life threatening injuries.

The incident happened at around 5.05am on Sunday, when a blue Audi Q7 left the road on the M8 westbound near to junction 31 in Renfrewshire.

A 35-year-old man has been arrested in connection with road traffic offences.

ADVERT

Inspector Darren Cook, of Police Scotland’s Road Policing Unit, said: “Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of those who have lost their lives as a result of this crash.

“Our enquiries are currently ongoing to establish the full circumstances surrounding the incident and we are seeking assistance from the public to help with our investigation.

“Although this happened in the early hours of the morning, we believe there may be other road users that can help with our enquiry.

“I would ask if you were driving in the area around the time of the incident or have possible dashcam footage that you come forward and speak to officers.

ADVERT

“Police can be contacted by calling 101 and quoting incident number 0860 of Sunday, 19 September, 2021.”

More on:

Only Fools And Horses star John Challis dies aged 79

The actor cancelled a 30-date speaking tour earlier this month after only one appearance due to ill health.

Stuart C. Wilson via Getty Images
Only Fools And Horses star John Challis has died.

Only Fools And Horses star John Challis has died from cancer at the age of 79, his family has said.

He was best-known for his portrayal of unscrupulous second-hand car dealer Boycie in the beloved sitcom, alongside Sir David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst.

He cancelled a 30-date speaking tour earlier this month after only one appearance due to ill health.

A statement from his family to the PA news agency said: “It is with heavy hearts that we bring you such sad news.

ADVERT

“Our dear friend and yours, John Challis, has died peacefully in his sleep, after a long battle with cancer.

“He will always be loved for being ‘Boycie’ and leaves a great legacy of work that will continue to bring pleasure and smiles for many years to come.

“Please respect the privacy of John’s family and friends at this difficult time, and be assured that in the future there will be an occasion to celebrate John’s life – when everyone will be welcome to come along.”

Challis played Terrance Aubrey Boyce in Only Fools And Horses from 1981 to 2003, as well as in Boycie-focused spin-off show The Green Green Grass.

ADVERT

He recently became an honorary citizen of Serbia, where the BBC sitcom remains hugely popular.

Challis made the documentary Boycie In Belgrade, exploring why the show was so beloved in the Balkan country.

Boycie, a cigar-smoking businessman with a mocking laugh, was married to the feisty Marlene – played by Sue Holderness – and regularly butted heads with Sir David’s Del Boy.

Challis was also known for playing Monty Staines in ITV sitcom Benidorm.

His family have requested that instead of flowers, donations are made to his favoured animal charities – Cuan Wildlife Rescue, Tusk and The British Hedgehog Preservation Society.


Celtic slip up on the road again as Shinnie secures Livingston win

Livingston moved off the foot of the table after stunning Celtic.

Ross MacDonald via SNS Group
Andrew Shinnie produces a clinical finish to sink Celtic.

Andrew Shinnie’s first-half strike consigned Celtic to a sixth defeat in seven away games under Ange Postecoglou as their poor record at Livingston continued.

Shinnie got across Stephen Welsh and fired the only goal into the top corner in the 25th minute to earn Livi their first cinch Premiership win of the season and take them off the bottom of the table.

The touch and finish was the sort of quality Celtic lacked in the final third as they failed to make their possession and territory count and went five games without victory at the Tony Macaroni Arena.

Celtic got a number of crosses into the box but home centre-backs Ayo Obileye and Jack Fitzwater marshalled striker Albian Ajeti as the visitors ended the day in sixth place.

ADVERT

Postecoglou handed Boli Bolingoli a recall as the left-back played for the first time since he breached quarantine rules at Kilmarnock on August 9 last year, days after a secret trip to Spain.

Celtic had Liel Abada back on the right wing after he missed the Europa League defeat by Real Betis but were still missing a number of regulars including skipper Callum McGregor.

James McCarthy was handed his first Celtic start while Anthony Ralston was rested as Josip Juranovic moved over to his natural right-back position. Welsh replaced the absent Carl Starfelt in central defence.

Livingston started with five in midfield including three natural left-backs and on-loan Rangers player Ben Williamson, with Shinnie handed the lone striker role.

ADVERT

Home skipper Nicky Devlin received a yellow card within the first minute and team-mates Jason Holt and Adam Lewis joined him in the book during the first quarter as Celtic dominated.

For all Celtic’s possession, Max Stryjek’s biggest worry during this spell was when he fumbled an overhit cross from Bolingoli.

Joe Hart made his first save from Jackson Longridge’s long-range strike but he was beaten a minute later when Shinnie met the left-back’s low cross and finished from 14 yards.

Celtic still struggled to test Stryjek. David Turnbull shot wide after a loose ball flashed towards him and Cameron Carter-Vickers twice headed off target.

The hosts came close to doubling their lead just before the break when Fitzwater volleyed a Lewis free-kick but Hart threw out a hand to divert it over.

Stryjek was busier early in the second half, stopping Welsh’s header on the line and getting down to hold Turnbull’s long-range effort.

But the game soon went back to the first-half pattern with Celtic playing in the Livingston half but unable to carve out chances.

ADVERT

Ajeti finally got a couple of opportunities as the game entered the final 20 minutes, heading wide from six yards following a corner and forcing an excellent stop from Stryjek after getting the ball to feet on the edge of the box and turning his man.

Postecoglou made three changes in between those opportunities but his only attacking option was Mikey Johnston, who came on for his first appearance of the season following injury, in place of Tom Rogic.

Stryjek parried from Turnbull but Livi came closer when Hart touched substitute Alan Forrest’s angled drive past the post.

The Hoops continued to push but their final threat came when Carter-Vickers shot wide from 25 yards. 


‘Racist and sectarian’ singing at Orange marches condemned by police

Arrests made as chief superintendent says some attendees were intent on 'causing offence and stirring up hatred'.

Jeff J Mitchell / Staff via Getty Images

Outbreaks of “racist and sectarian singing” by people attending Orange Order processions through Glasgow have been condemned by police.

Officers say they made several arrests as thousands of people marched in the city on Saturday.

Crowds lined the city centre, including on George Street and West George Street, and there was a large police presence at Glasgow Green where members of the parades gathered in the afternoon.

This year marks the 200th anniversary of Orange parades in the city and follows the cancellation of the biggest annual event – commemorating the Battle of the Boyne – the past two years as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

ADVERT

Chief superintendent Mark Sutherland, divisional commander for Greater Glasgow, said some people in attendance were intent on “causing offence and stirring up hatred by singing unacceptable sectarian and racist songs”.

He said: “We are aware that on a number of occasions today there have been outbreaks of racist and sectarian singing by some of those attending to support the Orange Order processions, this is utterly unacceptable and we completely condemn this behaviour.

“Where possible, we are seeking to take action against those intent on causing harm and dividing our communities, we have already made arrests in connection with various offences and will continue to do so where required. With large crowds gathering today, our main priority has been public safety and to ensure minimum disruption to the wider public.

“Once again, we see a number of people intent in causing offence and stirring up hatred by singing unacceptable sectarian and racist songs, I want to again condemn this behaviour in the strongest possible terms.

“It is clear that sectarianism remains a serious, ongoing problem in Scotland and whilst policing has an important role in tackling this type of behaviour, this is a collective problem and needs to be addressed in a collective, collaborative manner.”

Earlier this week, Glasgow’s police chief warned the force will not tolerate “offensive behaviour, including hate crimes, drunkenness and disorder” and urged the “large majority” who behave in the “right way” to influence those around them.

Jim McHarg, Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland, told STV News: “As per normal, our members behave in the right manner and always have done and always will do.

ADVERT

“Everyone in the parade shows respect to every part of the community and all we ask for is the people who come along to support understand that, and indeed the people who object to our existence – that they respect us.”

But the Church of Scotland took to Twitter as the marches took place to condemn anti-Catholic bigotry.

It said: “The Church of Scotland opposes anti-Catholic bigotry and sectarianism. We have a very close working relationship with the Roman Catholic Church.

“Over the years we have worked together to tackle sectarianism and support one another.

“We speak to leaders in the Roman Catholic Church every week and greatly appreciate the friendship that exists between our churches and our communities.”

Up to 800 police officers were deployed to manage Saturday’s event, which saw marches proceed through the city centre and past Catholic churches.

Following an assault on a Catholic priest in July 2018, marches were re-routed to avoid passing St Alphonsus church on London Road in 2019.

ADVERT

Members of Call It Out, a campaign group that opposes anti-Irish and anti-Catholic bigotry, were spotted holding “peaceful vigils” outside churches on the routes.

A spokeswoman for the group said: “We are calling on all Glasgow citizens, trade unionists, anti-racists, equality campaigners and those opposed to egregious manifestations of anti-Catholic hatred to join us in peaceful protest in response to the imposition of these marches by anti-Catholic organisations.”

Hundreds gather to celebrate final day of Hindu festival

Colourful celebrations at Glasgow's Kelvingrove Park as Indians living in the city showcase their culture.

STV News

Hundreds of people have gathered in a Glasgow park to celebrate the final day of a Hindu festival.

The event has been run by Glasgow Indians for the last decade.

Organisers say it’s a chance to celebrate and sustain their culture, and share with family who still live back in India.

Abhijeet Chavan of Glasgow Indians told STV News the celebration helps bring communities together.

ADVERT

He said: “People can come here, they can celebrate and back home, their parents and their relatives can see that, you know, the culture is going on.

“Glasgow is a city that says ‘Glasgow loves culture’ and ‘People make Glasgow’ so that is the reason, this helps us.

“We really love Glasgow and Glasgow allows us to celebrate our culture right and it is open to everyone.”

Man dies in paragliding crash as woman suffers serious injuries

The 54-year-old lost his life in the collision near Loch Na Gainmhich by the A894 shortly before 4:45pm on Saturday.

© Google Maps 2020
Man dies in paragliding incident.

A man has died following a paragliding crash in the Highlands.

The 54-year-old lost his life in the collision near Loch Na Gainmhich by the A894 shortly before 4:45pm on Saturday.

Police also confirmed a woman has been left seriously injured as a result of the crash.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “We can confirm that a 54-year-old man has died and a woman has been seriously injured following a collision involving two paramotors yesterday afternoon.

ADVERT

“Police were informed about the incident near Loch Na Gainmhich by the A894 shortly before 4:45pm and enquiries to establish the full circumstances are ongoing.

“The next of kin of those involved have been informed.”


Body found near Loch Lomond as police probe ‘unexplained’ death

Discovery of man's body was made in Balloch, West Dunbartonshire, at around 11am on Sunday morning.

mrdoomits via IStock
Police investigating after man's body found near Loch Lomond.

The body of a man has been found near one of Scotland’s most popular tourist destinations.

The discovery was made near Loch Lomond at about 11am on Sunday in Balloch Road, Balloch, West Dunbartonshire.

Officers have launched a probe into the death, which is currently being treated as unexplained.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “The death is currently being treated as unexplained and inquiries into the circumstances are ongoing.

ADVERT

“Emergency services remain in the area.”

More on:

Scotland records two Covid deaths and 3833 new cases overnight

Scottish Government daily figures show 100 people are receiving intensive care in hospital.

Sudok1 via IStock
Covid: Scotland's latest statistics.

Scotland has recorded two further Covid related deaths and 3833 new cases in the past 24 hours.

The latest figures mean the daily positivity rate currently stands at 9.1% a slight increase from Saturday’s statistics.

The death toll under the daily measure of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days is now 8378.

A total of 100 people are in intensive care with recently confirmed Covid-19, up one from the day before, and 1074 Covid patients are in hospital overall.

ADVERT

So far, 4,155,048 people have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccination and 3,806,980 have received their second dose.


You're up to date

You've read today's top stories. Where would you like to go next?