We want to avoid school closures ‘at all costs’ – DFM

Rising Covid cases have vindicated decision to retain face coverings in secondary schools, says deputy first minister John Swinney

Tes Reporter

We want to avoid school closures ‘at all costs’ – Swinney (Copyright holder: PA WIRE Copyright notice:PA Wire/PA Images Picture by: Jane Barlow)

The Scottish government wants to avoid closing schools in response to rising coronavirus cases “at all possible costs”, deputy first minister John Swinney has said.

He spoke after first minister Nicola Sturgeon warned that she could not rule out reimposing Covid restrictions as the number of new daily cases in Scotland hit the highest-ever level.

Mr Swinney, who is also the former education secretary, said the return of Scottish schools after the summer break had contributed to the rise in cases.

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Speaking on the BBC radio’s Good Morning Scotland programme today, Mr Swinney said any new restrictions would be “proportionate”.

Asked about schools, he said: “Cases have risen very significantly within Scotland and we are looking closely at why that is the case.

“Undoubtedly, the gathering of people together in schools will have fuelled that to some extent. You can see that in the proportion of younger people who are testing positive.”

Asked if school closures could be among any early restrictions, he said: “We want to avoid that at all possible costs. That’s why a few weeks ago we were being criticised for the retention of face coverings within secondary schools, people would tell us we shouldn’t do that.

“But of course the justification for it appears to me to be ever stronger.”

Mr Swinney also said that the Scottish government is not considering cancelling large events such as football matches and concerts.

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