Secondary school students should keep a social distance of two meters when returning to the classroom, experts from the Scottish government have advised.
The measure is one of the stricter restrictions recommended by the Scottish Government Advisory Group on Education prior to gradual return to schools.
In addition to school grounds, it should also apply to school buses, the group said.
Education Secretary John Swinney said the latest advice was “an important scientific and clinical update”.
An updated group note on remedial measures to minimize coronavirus transmission during the gradual return to face-to-face learning states, “As an additional protective measure, a two-meter spacing should be introduced for secondary school age at the present time, in addition to continuing for staff in secondary schools. #
“The physical distancing requirements in primary schools remain unchanged: the two meters distance between adults who do not come from the same household should be maintained. If possible, there should also be a distance of two meters between adults and children of primary school age.
“In line with the reinforced recommendations on physical distance of two meters in secondary schools, it will also be necessary to ensure a distance of two meters for secondary school transport, taking into account that this may not be possible with school taxis or airplanes. ”
The group said schools should be given “adequate support” to take the proposed steps, “taking into account local conditions and the practical constraints that different schools face on issues such as building design”.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon previously said primary 1-3 students could return to classrooms starting February 22, along with upper secondary students who need school resources to complete coursework.
However, she has claimed that ministers will make a final decision on Tuesday that will depend on the spread of the virus.
Scottish Conservative Education Spokesperson Jamie Greene said: “Proposals to expedite return to the classroom are welcome, but safety policies must also be sensible, proportionate and funded to help councils and schools put the measures into practice .
“In reality, it will be very difficult for many councils to achieve universal social distancing, and the SNP ministers will have known that for a long time.
“We need to see what measures they have taken to help schools introduce social distancing as this problem has been consistently marked for months.”