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Thu, 21 January 2021

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Nicola Sturgeon says Scottish schools will reopen two months after England as she unveils 'routemap' for easing lockdown

Nicola Sturgeon says Scottish schools will reopen two months after England as she unveils 'routemap' for easing lockdown

Nicola Sturgeon has announce her "routemap" for easing restrictions

3 min read

Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that Scottish schools will not reopen until the middle of August as she unveiled her "routemap" for lifting the lockdown from the end of May.

The First Minister confirmed confirmed schools would return from August 11 using a "blended" model of education - more than two months after England's planned June 1 reopening date.

The announcement came as Ms Sturgeon confirmed she would begin to ease restrictions in the country from 28 May as part of her four-phase plan for lifting the lockdown.

Ms Sturgeon said the "proportionate and suitably cautious set of first steps" would see Scots allowed to spend more time outside, including taking part in sports such as golf, tennis and fishing.

Meanwhile, she said that households could begin to spend time with other households during the first phase provided they remain 2 metres apart and "initially in small numbers while you are outside".

She added: "This is a change which we hope will benefit everyone, but particularly those without gardens or who live on their own."

Waste and recycling centers will also be allowed to reopen, while construction firms will be able to restart work provided social distancing rules are met.

Teachers will be asked to return to schools in June to prepare for reopening, but she said pupils would not be asked to return before 11 August.

Meanwhile, the SNP leader said the measures would be reviewed every three weeks, but warned restrictions could be reimposed the virus begins to spread again.

And she added that she could not "set in stone" the dates for her future phases, saying the Government would only lift restrictions further if medical and scientific data showed it was safe.

She added: "There is no completely risk-free way of lifting lockdown, but we must mitigate the risks as much as we can, and we must not at any stage act rashly or recklessly.

"For all our progress, this virus has not gone away. It continues to pose a significant threat to health and if we move too quickly or without proper care it could run out of control again very quickly."

Her announcement after she clashed with Boris Johnson over his decision to implement similar measures for England almost two weeks ago, saying Scots should not be "distracted" by his announcement.

But she insisted keeping the lockdown in place for longer in Scotland had been "absolutely necessary" to prevent the spread of infection.

"However, the lockdown is creating harms of its own. Loneliness and social isolation, deepening inequalities and serious damage to our economy. None of us want it to last any longer than it has to," she said.

"There is no completely risk free way of lifting lockdown, but we must mitigate the risks as much as we can, and we must not at any stage act rashly or recklessly."

She added: "For all our progress, this virus has not gone away. It continues to pose a significant threat to health and if we move too quickly or without proper care it could run out of control again very quickly.

"And the danger of a second wave later in the year is very real indeed. We musn't forget any of that."

A Number 10 spokesperson said: "We welcome today's announcement as it shows the UK-wide approach is working.

"We set out the road map a few weeks ago and now the devolved administrations are following that path at the right speed for them."

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