All schools will close from tomorrow – but some teachers may go back in next week, a senior union official has said.
The Scottish Government announced yesterday that schools across Scotland will not reopen after classes end tomorrow in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
David Belsey, assistant secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) which represents more than 50,000 teaching staff across Scotland, including thousands in the north-east, backed the move.
He said: “The EIS has welcomed the decision to close schools from Friday. It is the right decision.
“Some teachers will be required to go back into their schools next week so they can contribute to the drawing up of pupil learning materials for home working.
“We are expecting the detail to be given by ministers today.”
Mr Belsey described the last few days as “exceptionally busy” as thousands of teachers contacted the union for help.
“There has been concern from a large number of teachers about whether the measures taken to keep people safe went far enough,” said Mr Belsey.
He added: “Many have been concerned about the ramifications of the virus – and the fact it poses a danger to life.
“Some teachers we represent are in their 60s and some have family members with underlying health conditions and they have been concerned about spreading the virus to them.”
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Mr Belsey said: “Working from home is going to be difficult for teachers with children, as they will have their own families to care for while working.
“We hope local authorities are mindful of the need to be flexible.
“I hope we can all pull together to get through this.”
He praised local authorities and Colsa for working closely with unions to address health and safety issues.
The school closure announcement came as new figures revealed one in five pupils was absent from school in Aberdeen on Tuesday.
Out of 23,380 children on the school roll between P1 and S6, 4,437 of them – 18.95% of pupils – stayed home.
An Aberdeen City Council spokesman said: “Schools are expected to be closed by the end of the week in response to the latest Scottish Government advice.
“Out-of-school care provision operating within primary school premises will also close.
“This includes breakfast provision, after-school care provision and holiday provision.”
A number of schools are closed today either partially or fully.
Aberdeenshire Council said Alford Primary School, Barthol Chapel School, Dunottar School and Elrick School are closed today “in response to the critical staffing situations”.
Fraserburgh, Kemnay, Mearns, Portlethen, Turriff, Westhill and Inverurie academies are closed to S1, S2 and S3 pupils.