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Scottish schools will re-open on 11 August

Mark Moran
31 July 2020
First Minister Nichola Sturgeon
First Minister Nichola Sturgeon


Children in Scotland will return to schools full-time from 11 August, with quick access to testing for all those who are symptomatic, and a targeted surveillance programme to highlight any impact on pupils and staff.

The news was a central element of First Minister Nichola Sturgeon’s announcement that Scotland will remain in ‘Phase 3’ of the Scottish Government’s route map out of lockdown due to the ‘fragile position’ the country faces.

Two sets of indicative dates have been announced for sectors that remain shut as a vital part of the country’s public health measures in tackling COVID-19. These indicative dates are contingent on the continued suppression of the virus. Re-opening dates for indoor gyms, swimming pools and sports courts (including dance schools) will be reviewed in three weeks to see if they can be brought forward.

The return to schools will be supported with an additional £30mto recruit new teachers. This brings the total additional Scottish Government investment in the teaching profession to £75m, enough to recruit up to 1,400 new teachers.

On top of £20m of funding previously committed, a further £30m will also be available as part of a £50m education recovery fund for local authorities. This will support cleaning, facilities management, school transport and other practical issues that are vital in ensuring a safe return to school.

During a statement to Parliament, the First Minister also confirmed that shielding advice will officially pause from Saturday 1 August, meaning those who have been shielding to protect themselves can now follow the advice set for the general public.

Routine eye care services can resume within community optometry practices and in patients’ own homes from Monday 3 August, and urgent dental care involving aerosols may begin in practices for NHS patients from 17 August.

The First Minister said: “In many ways, Scotland is in a better position in relation to COVID than I would have dared hope a few weeks ago. But this position is fragile. If we are not careful now, then in two or three weeks we could easily be facing some of the issues here in Scotland that we are currently seeing around the world. The two changes I have announced – on schools and shielding – are very significant, and we need to see if there has been any impact from changes that have already taken place. It is important, in particular, that we allow the impact of re-opening our schools to be assessed before we proceed with further major changes.”

Confirmed dates

  • Pause in shielding advice (1 August)
  • Relax certain restrictions on some support groups and services and for sports coaches, following relevant guidance (3 August)
  • Routine eye care services can be provided within community optometry practice and in patients’ own homes (3 August)
  • Children to be able to return to school full time (11 August. Some schools may operate a phased return with all children back by 18 August)
  • Urgent dental care involving aerosols may begin in practice for NHS patients (17 August)

Indicative date: Monday 24 August

  • Live outdoor events, with physical distancing, enhanced hygiene, restricted numbers and following guidance
  • Organised outdoor contact sport for all ages, following guidance from relevant sports bodies
  • Bingo halls, snooker/pool halls and indoor bowling, with physical distancing, enhanced hygiene and guidance
  • Funfairs (static and travelling), following guidance
  • Amusement arcades and casinos, with enhanced hygiene and following guidance
  • Driving lessons can resume, following guidance

Indicative date: Monday 14 September

  • Indoor gyms, swimming pools and sports courts, with physical distancing and enhanced hygiene (to be kept under review in case earlier date feasible)
  • Soft play, with enhanced hygiene and following guidance
  • Indoor live events, with physical distancing, restricted numbers and following guidance
  • Theatres, live music/concert halls and other indoor entertainment venues, with physical distancing requirements and following This does not include nightclubs – engagement with the sector will take place ahead of the next review.
  • Limited reopening of stadiums, following guidance and with options for testing on earlier dates where agreed with government.

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