Here are the key points he addressed:
- At-home, lateral-flow testing for Covid-19 will be made available twice a week for staff and students at schools.
- Around 2,500 schools have now received testing kits.
- Testing will be “entirely voluntary”.
The “key risk” from reopening schools is not the transmission of the virus within them, but that opening them up again could lead to more contact between adults
John Swinney: Blended learning could last 'considerable' time
Also this week: SQA and Education Scotland reform demanded by MSPs
Parents should continue to work from home, even after their children have returned to school or nursery: “Don’t use this return as an opportunity to meet up with other parents or friends,” Mr Swinney said.
- Part of the reason for P1-3 children returning next week is that they have been finding “the greatest of challenges with remote learning”, compared with other age groups who have found home-based learning less difficult.
- When asked why informal indoor playdates involving as few as two children are still being advised against despite the return of many pupils, Mr Swinney said the classroom is a more “organised environment whereas there is less certainty over who would be coming into contact with each other if playdates were allowed”.
The Scottish government is launching a new campaign to remind people of the importance of following coronavirus guidance, which “emphasises the need for all of us to stay on our guard, even as our vaccination programme is rolled out”.
Thanks @STVNews for asking my q at the #DailyBriefing. @JohnSwinney glossing over the main issue of evidence of transmission between school children in other countries, apparently not relevant to scottish context, but so important for viewers to hear these issues exist. pic.twitter.com/x2kwujGgtj— Nuzhat Uthmani (@NUthmani) February 19, 2021
Mr Swinney, who is also deputy first minister, said: “This partial return of education is an important milestone.”
He added: “The use of testing is a very important addition to the other safety mitigations that are already in place.”
Meanwhile, it has also emerged today that new students will not be admitted to Scottish dental schools in 2021.
Deputy First Minister @JohnSwinney says testing will be made available to senior pupils and staff who will be returning to schools as part of the phased reopening of education— BBC Scotland News (@BBCScotlandNews) February 19, 2021
Live updates: https://t.co/Xh25JxwGd4 pic.twitter.com/O4Lu5ZtQeB