Labour: Explain scientific reasoning for reopening schools

Schools are due to reopen in August, with no requirement for physical distancing between children.

Pupils, parents and teachers deserve to be told the scientific evidence for classes returning next month, Scottish Labour has said.

Schools are due to reopen in August, with no requirement for physical distancing between children.

Education secretary John Swinney has been urged to reveal what the evidence is and allow schools to examine it themselves.

Scottish Labour education spokesman Iain Gray said the scientific reasoning must be explained to give staff and pulls the confidence to return.

Under the Scottish Government’s proposals, pupils are due to go back to schools from August 11 if coronavirus is adequately suppressed, with a blended model of both in-school and at-home learning as a contingency plan.

Mr Swinney said there will be a review on July 30, 12 days before children are due to go back to school, which will be the last chance to make the decision on a full return.

Urging him to release the evidence, Gray said: “We’re now just one month away from the return of full-time face-to-face education and the cabinet secretary is still skirting around the scientific safety information that should put education staff and parents at ease.

“It’s not enough to give a brief description of scientists’ position – we need to know how and why they reached that position.

“Schools and councils had been planning for Mr Swinney’s blended learning model and phased returns, only to have the plans changed at the last minute without even being consulted.”

He added: “Nobody wants to keep children out of classrooms for any longer than is necessary but after a global pandemic and worldwide lockdown it is understandable that school staff, pupils and their families should have every bit of information available to them so that they know they are not being put at risk.

“The time is up. The Scottish Government must present the scientific safety evidence or lose the confidence of the staff they’re ordering to the frontline.” 

The Scottish Government has been contacted for comment.