More West Lothian pupils set to return to class

West Lothian schools are ready for the second stage in the phased return of pupils.

Friday, 12th March 2021, 7:00 am
Stock photo by John Devlin.

From Monday (March 15), all children in P 4-7 will return to school on a full-time basis. All primary school children will also be able to return to regulated childcare, including after-school and breakfast clubs.

It is also the intention that all secondary school pupils will return to spend some time in school until the Easter break. In secondary schools from March 15 there will be a combination of in-school learning and remote learning for all S1 - S6 pupils.

All secondary pupils are expected to return to full-time schooling after Easter, subject to continued suppression of the virus and the requirement for two metre physical distancing between young people being removed. Individual schools will put specific arrangements in place and communicate directly with parents and young people.

West Lothian Council, via all schools, is issuing information to all parents/carers.

In line with national guidance here are some key points to note: Senior phase learners who are taking national qualifications, must have priority for face to face learning and teaching in school.

In the run up to Easter, remote learning will remain in place, although it is recognised that the nature of it may change given that schools are prioritising face-to-face learning.

Face coverings should now be worn at all times by staff and young people in secondary schools, in classrooms, in communal areas and when moving about the school.

The requirement for two metre distancing in secondary schools may be relaxed when young people are outdoors for the purpose of outdoor activities and learning.

School transport will return as normal, but the two metre distancing rule for secondary pupils on school buses will be relaxed, and replaced with other mitigations, for example each pupil sitting on their own, wherever possible.

The offer of twice-weekly at-home lateral flow testing will be extended to all secondary pupils after the Easter break.

Executive councillor for education, David Dodds, said: “We are delighted to be nearing the date when more young people can return to their school. It’s such an important step in a young person’s development.

“We have followed the guidance set out and our schools and early learning centres have placed a high priority on reinforcing the current arrangements designed to maximise safety and reduce risks for children, young people and staff.

“I’d like to thank all those who have been working tirelessly throughout this period of lockdown to ensure that children were provided with the best possible education given the circumstances. Although online learning will continue for some pupils for a time, we are hopefully nearing the end of this period of significant disruption.”

James Cameron, West Lothian Council’s head of education, said: “Once we get over the initial return it is extremely important that our school communities are allowed to move on with their learning and their own development.

"The council and schools have worked extremely hard to ensure that parents receive timely and accurate information throughout this pandemic and we will continue to ensure this continues.

“Rest assured, we have done everything we can to ensure schools are safe and welcoming environments for all children and we look forward to welcoming all our young people back to school in the near future.”