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Pupils in P1-3 will go back to school in Moray on February 22

By Chris Saunderson

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PUPILS in P1-3 will return to school in Moray next Monday.

The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the move in parliament this afternoon.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon addressing parliament.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon addressing parliament.

All pupils have been learning from home since the beginning of January.

However, with Covid-19 infection rates starting to fall, the Scottish Government has decided that a phased return of pupils to school can take place.

All nursery children will also return from Monday, February 22.

Some senior pupils preparing for examinations can also resume face-to-face lessons in class, however, they will have to adhere to 2m social distancing in school and on buses.

However, all P4-7 pupils and secondary pupils in S1-4 will remain in online learning mode for now.

And Ms Sturgeon said the earliest that a second phased return of pupils would happen is March 15.

She urged parents not to "socialise at school gates" and parents working from home, should continue to work from home, even if their children are back at school.

The core 'Stay at Home' message remains in place until March 1 at the earliest.

The vaccination programme was "outstanding", said the First Minister and now 1,288,004 have received a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

After six weeks of lockdown infection levels are falling, however, she said they have only fallen to the same level as they were in the first week of December.

"The situation we are in just now, while better, is still fragile," she said.

"Even a slight easing of restrictions now could cause cases to start rising rapidly again."

"For a period yet we require to be extremely cautious."

A gradual phased return to normality is planned.

However, the First Minister warned: "We must be driven by data and not dates. I know this is difficult given how desperate we all are to get back to some kind of normality."

She said the trade-off in getting some children back to school was many people having to live with restrictions for a little while longer.

The First Minister said education was the top priority.

She added that the government had to be "careful, cautious and gradual as we exit lockdown" in order to avoid a resurgence in the virus and the need for a further lockdown later in the year.

"A cautious approach, however, frustrating it is, will be more successful and more sustainable.

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