Coronavirus: Schools could close until the summer

Scotland's first minister says schools will not close yet, but if they do it is unlikely to be a short-term measure

Henry Hepburn

Coronavirus: Schools could shut until the summer

Coronavirus could force schools to close until the summer, Scotland's first minister has said.

In a briefing this afternoon, she indicated that schools would not close yet, but that if and when they did it was unlikely to be a short-term measure.

"It is not the advice right now that [Scottish] schools should close," she said, and the same applied to colleges and universities. But she added that any future closures will "not be for a week or two weeks".

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She said: "This would be something that was advised to last throughout the peak of this infection, and that is potentially until the summer period."

Ms Sturgeon added: "I am not standing here saying schools will be closed for months." But she stressed again that it would "not necessarily be a short-term thing".

Earlier today, it emerged that Ireland would be closing all schools, colleges and childcare facilities from tomorrow, as part of a partial lockdown that will apply from 6pm tonight until 29 March.

The first minister also updated the advice on school trips. She said: "We are now advising that overseas school trips should not go ahead."

She spoke alongside health secretary Jeane Freeman and chief medical officer Catherine Calderwood, after they had taken part in a meeting of the UK government's Cobra emergency committee.

Ms Sturgeon had already addressed the Scottish Parliament on school closures earlier in the day, when she also revealed that all mass gatherings of more than 500 people in Scotland would be cancelled from Monday, to relieve the pressure on emergency services dealing with Covid-19.

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Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn is the news editor for Tes Scotland

Find me on Twitter @Henry_Hepburn

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