A senior councillor has welcomed the First Minister’s confirmation that a phased, gradual return will begin from next Monday (Feb 22) to nurseries and schools for certain children and young people.
Children and families convener Councillor Stewart Hunter is calling on everyone to keep following the rules and help drive down cases further so more pupils can get back to the classroom.
The First Minister’s announcement will see a full-time return for early learning and childcare and P1-3 classes, with a part-time return for senior phase secondary pupils for in-school practical work for national qualifications.
Senior pupils and all staff in council nurseries, primaries and secondaries who are regularly attending the premises have been contacted about a process of asymptomatic coronavirus tests which is beginning.
Councillor Hunter said: “This is extremely good news, but I would urge everyone to keep sticking with the rules so that this return can pave the way for even more children to get back in the classroom.
“I would like to thank families for helping us get to this stage during what has been an extremely difficult time.
“Our nurseries and schools have been preparing for the initial return of certain children and young people and staff will be communicating with families about details for Monday.
“Families of pupils in P4-7 and S1-3 classes are also being told about the continuation of remote learning beyond February 22.
“I would ask those families to engage with the imaginative range of remote learning that is available, and to keep playing their part to drive the number of coronavirus cases down.
“It is vital now that we all play our part to ensure that this initial return is a success and I would ask all our school and nursery communities to keep up their efforts.”
Dundee City Council nurseries and schools will also still be open for the children of key workers and vulnerable children.
However, with the return of more children to school it is essential that key workers requiring support ensure that requests for all places are a last resort and only requested for days where no other option is available.
Head teachers will be speaking to families directly about these arrangements as more pupils prepare to return to the buildings.
Dundee draws skilled workers from a 60-minute catchment population of 640,000 and has a local population of over 140,000. The availability of a large pool of highly skilled labour is a key feature in the Dundee economy. Flexibility in the labour force is currently more prevalent in Dundee than in Scotland as a whole. All forms of labour market flexibility - part-time, temporary employment, self-employment and shift work - are widely operational within the city. Labour force stability in the city is excellent, enabling companies to plan with confidence. Labour turnover levels are less than 5% and absenteeism averages 2%.