Freeman says schools will not reopen in next few weeks

Scotland's health secretary says she has not seen plans that would lead to schools reopening in the next few weeks

Henry Hepburn

Coronavirus: Scotland's health secretary, Jeane Freeman, says schools will not reopen in the next few weeks

Scotland's health secretary, Jeane Freeman, has dismissed suggestions that schools in Scotland could reopen in the next few weeks.

At the Scottish government's daily coronavirus briefing this afternoon, Ms Freeman said: "I want to say something about reports in the media today about plans for a three-stage approach to lifting lockdown, and to claims that schools may open in the next few weeks.

"These are not plans that the Scottish government has seen, and from what we have read, they are not plans we would currently endorse.

"We have committed to publishing later this week our initial thinking on how Scotland plots our way forward."

She added: "This will focus on the issues that have to be weighed up, and the changes that will be required for society to adapt as safely as possible to the presence of the virus.

Coronavirus: When will schools reopen?

"We confirmed only three days ago that the current lockdown remains in place for another three weeks.

"We will use that time to assess the evidence and the options before we make any further decisions."

It was reported this morning that schools in England could reopen as early as 11 May, as part of a three-phase UK government plan to lift lockdown measures, although UK government education secretary Gavin Williamson later in the day said he could not give a date for school reopenings because five safety tests would have to be met first.

But school leaders' union the NAHT said it would be "extremely reckless" to reopen schools without including leaders in the planning stages or sharing proper safety arrangements.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted in response to the media reports: "Decisions need to be solidly based & not premature. We don’t yet know what will be possible & when."

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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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